Prof. Anil Kumar’s Talk in Atlanta
April 25, 2009
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Our Most Beloved Bhagavan,
It is a matter of privilege and a blessing indeed to be amongst you this morning. I thank Swami for giving me this benediction of being in your midst. In fact, a visit to Atlanta has been long overdue. My friends, whoever comes to Prashanti Nilayam often asks me, “When are you going to visit Atlanta?”
So this name ‘Atlanta’ has been ringing in my ears right from February when I was planning to come here. Then it was included in the itinerary because of pressure, because of force, or rather loving enforcement . . . because of the spiritual military regimentation and religious dictatorship of Ravi Nakkina! (Laughter) That is what has made me come like this. He represents all your love, concern, and eagerness.
THE BODY IS A TEMPLE
My friends, Bhagavan once clearly said that we are not to neglect our body. Some people neglect their body in the name of religion. We are not supposed to neglect our body. Why? Because the body is not your property! If there is anything of your own, you have every liberty to spoil, ruin, or burn it; but this body—this is not your property.
The body is a gift of God. When the body is a gift of God, it is our duty to preserve it. It is our duty to maintain it. It is our duty to keep it as handsome, as beautiful, as trim and slim and attractive as possible. Because the body is the moving temple of God, the temple cannot be unclean. The temple should never be ugly or dirty. The temple has got to be so beautiful:
Deva Devuni Dasudayi Managavalayu
Vaidya Dasudu Kaaradu Vasudha Lona,
Vaidya Dasudu Karaadu Casudha Lona.
One should be the servant of God with this body,
Not be the slave of a doctor going round his hospital.
This body is not to serve doctors by paying their bills;
This body is meant for the service of humanity.
This body is gifted to serve Him in the human form,
In the vicinity and in the neighbourhood.
Dehamunu Icchinadi Yenduko Telusa?
Do you know why the body is given to you?
Is it to go around the world?
No, no! So many lifeless things go around the universe . . . what for? It is not to simply go around any number of people that the body can go around. A postcard can also go around the world. The body is not for that!
Paropakaram Anu Padam Aacharanlo Nilchutaku.
To know that this body is gifted to serve people, for service,
And to translate that into action is the purpose of this body.
Chetulu Anu Yenduku Icchinado Telusa?
Do you know why the hands are given?
All these poems are composed by Bhagavan. Don’t mistake me and think they are my compositions. I am not yet capable of that; they are all Bhagavan’s compositions. Do you know why we are gifted with hands?
Mutiki Mudda Andinchutaka?
Is it only to simply eat?
Chetulara Shivuni Poojinchetanduku Raa.
To offer worship to Lord Shiva!
Not simply to eat,
Not simply to put a morsel of food into our mouth,
Not to feed neck-deep.
Chevuluanu Icchinadi Yenduko Telusa?
Do you know why the ears are given?
Is it only to listen to gossip and rumours?
And if that is not possible, to generate rumours?
The ears are gifted to listen to the matchless Name of God, while the hands are there to serve Him.
Ponduka Padamulanu Icchinadi Yenduko Telusa?
Do you know why the feet are given?
Sandulu Gondulu Tirigetanduka?
Is it to go around lanes and by-lanes,
Just to move about like a bull or what?
Why are feet given?
Nandi Vahanuni Mandiramu Chuttutaku.
The feet are given to circumambulate, to go around the temple.
Nallukanu Icchinadi Yenduko Telusa?
Do you know why the tongue is gifted?
Is it merely to shout at everybody?
Some people love to shout at others; they love to do it! When some people start speaking, we feel like closing our ears because their words are so bitter and so harsh. In fact, my friends, spirituality begins with the art of talking—how pleasingly we can talk, how lovingly we can talk, how wishfully we talk. Talk softly, talk sweetly. When a cuckoo bird (nightingale) goes on singing . . . a cuckoo bird sitting on the wall in the backyard . . . when it starts singing, we also join in with their kuhu-kuhu. On the other hand, when a crow caws, we say, “Stop it! Go away!”
Kokila Lokamunaku Chesina Upakaram Yemi.
Kaaki Lokamunaku Chesina Apakarmu Yemi.
Noru Manchidaina Vooru Manchidavunu,
Noru Manchidaina Peru Manchidavunu.
One has not given us any donation.
Cuckoo bird has not given me any money nor crow has cursed me neither . . . no, no!
If your tongue or words are sweet,
Then you are good with every person in your place.
It is nothing whatsoever: no one gives you any money, and no one robs you either. We should be able to talk sweetly. We should be able to communicate happily. That is why the tongue is given.
EAT APPROPRIATE QUANTITIES FOR YOUR AGE
Here in this poem, Swami clearly explains why the body is given. The denial or negation of the body is irreligious, because life and religion are affirmative. Religion is never negative. To turn negative towards the body is ‘irreligion’; to turn positive towards the body is ‘religion’. To maintain the body—to be healthy, wealthy and wise—that is ‘religion’. That is why Swami looks at people and says, “What is wrong with you?” He looks at the boys and says, “Why are you not eating? Why are you so thin? This is the age when you should eat more.”
Right now, Bhagavan Baba is in Kodaikanal. What does He do? He goes along the lines of students seated at the dining table: “Eat more! Eat more!” He insists. He loves to hear the eating score of every student. “How many idlis did you eat? How many dosas you ate?” If they say “more and more,” He is all the more happy. Why? He often comments that students should eat more because it is the age when the body should grow; but later on, then comes the problem! Young adults can eat, youth can eat, but we ‘youthful’ should restrict. (Laughter) We are ‘youthful’ though not youth any more; so He says that we have to restrict.
What does He say to us (not to the youngsters)? It is not that I am observing this instruction (Laughter), don’t mistake me like that! I am simply quoting what Baba says. He said, “Part of the stomach should be empty, another part should be filled with water, and we have to fill with food the remaining portion only.” But we are not satisfied! So we eat so much that we can pick the food from the throat or the gullet!
Further Bhagavan said, “You should eat only so much so that you will be able to get up very easily.” When we once get used to Ravi Nakkina’s residence standard of feeding, it is difficult to get up—very difficult! We need two people to help us to get up! (Laughter) So, your eating should be such that you are able to get up easily. Keep your body trim and slim; that is how the body should be. It should not be simply a stiff and useless body. “Bend the body!” Bend the body does not mean bending like this. (Anil Kumar bends over in a hunch.)
RELIGION IS MIND MANAGEMENT
‘Bend the body’ means you should be ready to serve, you should be humble, and you should be very simple in your lives. Bend the body with folded hands; bend the body in service to fellow men. That is the message so far as the body is concerned. That is what we have to always remember.
Then, the second important aspect is the mind. It is the mind that often disturbs and agitates. It is the mind that is in constant turbulence, with constant disturbances—something like a stone which, when thrown into the river, sends ripples throughout the water. The mind gets disturbed in the same way.
In modern jargon, in the modern world, I can define ‘religion’ in this way: religion is the management of mind; the management of mind is religion. We know business management, but not mind management. We manage our business well, but we are not able to manage our own minds! Therefore, master the mind and be a mastermind.
How to master the mind? We should know what the mind is. When I say that we should master the mind, some people say, “Never mind!” If it is not that, then what is mind after all? The body is matter. If I say,” What is the matter?” they would say, “Doesn’t matter.” It is not that.
PRESERVATION OF NATURE IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY
Did you ever understand that the body is nothing but Nature? The earth element is present in our body, water is present in our blood; bones have the calcium; the air, the infinite space, all the five elements outside are just precipitated, focused or concentrated in the form of a living personality.
Abuse and misuse of Nature will affect your body because when the air is polluted today, you are going to be polluted tomorrow. When water is polluted, you are going to put your life in danger. Therefore, the preservation of Nature is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of your own body. That is why Bhagavan always says, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, and He does not like anything untidy and unclean. He will immediately catch each and every untidy thing.
HIS EYES ARE EVERYWHERE . . . YOU CANNOT COVER UP
I remember one time in Bangalore, when our peons forgot to wipe some water left there in a corner of the room. Swami came on an official visit, unannounced. All His visits are a surprise; He does not tell that He is coming. Suddenly He came and started going around seeing every room. It all looked perfect.
Then He came to this room and spotted the water in the corner. He called me and asked, “What is that?”
Well, I went up to Him slowly and softly whispered into His ear, “This morning it rained, Swami. Therefore, they did not clean that part yet.” To maintain my own dignity as Principal, Bhagavan did not say anything then and there, because there were a number of students and staff around. He simply walked out of the room and said, “What an act! I know! I know what you have done. They might have not cleaned it properly, but you want to cover it up! I know what you said.” Then He went into the classrooms.
When He comes into the classrooms or sees an office table, He will put his finger on it and say, “Emi? What’s this? Dust for the last ten years is accumulated here!” So, it should be spic and span, quite clean. That is what He insists upon. Examine His nails, look at His hair, and regard His body. Bhagavan is the best example of cleanliness.
Even the way He eats is an art! Whatever Swami does is an art. So, eating is an art with Him. I followed Swami to Kodaikanal six times (or even more) and every time I stayed with Him for one full month, sharing the same dining table for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. Observing Him, we see how delicate, how beautiful, how sensitive the art of eating is. He doesn’t stop there. He gets up and moves among the students and remarks, “Hey, so much food is wasted! Food is God. You should not waste like that.”
He comes to me and asks me, “Why do you eat only selected items? You should learn to eat all the tasty items. Why do you only eat Andhra hot pickles, why?” It is the taste, that’s all. Then Bhagavan tells me that the one who brings this particular item will feel offended if I don’t eat that. They will feel, ‘We have not prepared it well, so they just ignored it.’ So He says, “You should not offend the feelings of others. Come on, taste everything!” He is so particular that the plate should be perfectly clean.
HE WANTS US TO BE PERFECT
That is what life is with Bhagavan. Since we are a Sai family, there are no secrets here. Another example: when we dress ourselves, He wants us to be perfect. One day, in a bit of hurry, I just came down and took padanamaskar. He quietly said, “You didn’t put your belt on . . . what is wrong with you?” “Oh!” I said. At another time He said, “Where have you got this stitched? This coat is not stitched properly. Come on, walk! Let me see,” He said.
So our dress counts, our eating counts, our cleanliness counts. That makes our total personality. Personality does not mean merely body, no, no. Personality means our activity; personality includes our present-ability; personality also means acceptability. Personality includes our countenance, our attire, what we look like. That’s what Swami takes care of.
Let us take note of one particular point—His walking. How nicely He walks, holding the robe with one hand, waving the other hand into the empty air; smiling on both sides at times, collecting the letters in one hand and writing or scribbling something into empty air. He looks deeply, peeping right into your heart at one time, sometimes smiling mischievously, sometimes looking deeply into your eyes as if He knows—as if He is going deeper and deeper into your heart so that all inner secrets are automatically brought out. What a wonderful gesture, what a wonderful posture it is! My friends, I can tell you His presence, the presence of Bhagavan, has a message; the Divine physical presence of Bhagavan has a message. His gesture, His walking style and His looks convey His message!
Everyone has got their own message, provided we are receptive and sensitive. Some may say, “I have no message.” What to do! If you are a bad conductor, I can’t help it. The electricity passes easily through the copper wire. Electricity will not pass through stone; it will not pass through a wooden staff. So if I am a wooden staff or stone-hearted, I cannot expect any message from God. We have to be receptive; we have got to be sensitive, so that we receive a message from every action of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
HE KNOWS EVERYTHING
The mind is really mischievous. When we sit in front of Swami, He will be able to find out whether you are listening to Him, or pretending as if you are listening to Him, or pretending as if you have understood Him. He will easily make out which it is. When the boys are seated, He will ask, “How did you like the talk?” “Swami, very nice,” they will say. He will reply, “Aha . . . tell two points.” Finished! (Laughter) We cannot bluff! We cannot bluff because God is present everywhere. God knows. Sarvajne means ‘He knows everything’. Sarvajne: the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God.
Anil Kumar sings the bhajan, “Sarvantaryami Sathya Sai Rama.”
ICE CREAM STORY
I will tell you this: He knows everything! One example: It so happened in Kodaikanal on one of the trips, I was with the seva dals, who were engaged in doing some service activities. I was working (or pretending to be working—because that is the only way to get His attention) and Swami sent out ice creams.
One of the seva dal members, whom I know well, brought the ice cream . . . very nice. I had my fill. Later the boys slowly started going into Swami’s residence. I, too, went there. Swami started distributing ice cream cups. I stretched out my hand and He said, “You ate outside already. Why you want now?”
I told Him, “Bhagavan, did I say I did not eat there? I never said that.”
Then He said, “Why do you stretch your hand now?”
“Since You are giving ice cream, it will have an extra sweet taste; therefore I want it.”
Then He said, “You like it,” and then He gave me two cups. This I am telling you to let you know that He knows everything. He knows everything!
HE IS THE ALL-KNOWING GOD
When Swami is there in Kodaikanal, He asks a teacher to take students around the lake in the mornings. It is a six kilometre walk. One morning, at Swami’s bidding, I took the boys for a round. I also remember my return was delayed.
Well, I don’t necessarily say that I was in-charge, but that day I was delayed. The boys had already gone in. Swami started joking, “Where is your professor?”
They said, “Swami, we do not know.”
He asked again. “Hey, he followed you! What happened to him?”
They once again replied, “We do not know.” By the time I returned, I was hearing laughter and clapping and all that. Then I could understand that something was waiting for me. ‘That’s right,’ I thought, ‘Let us see.’ The moment I went in, all the boys started laughing. Swami asked, “Why are you late?”
I said, “Swami, I am late.”
“Hey, I know! I asked why you are late. Don’t you hear Me?”
“Swami, I have been to the post office.” The boys started to clap because Swami had already told them, like the cricket commentary, where I had been.
“Did I not tell you that he went to the post office?”
“Ah! Yes, Swami,” they chorused.
Then He asked, “What did you do there? What did you do in the post office?”
“Swami, I wrote a letter.” I replied.
Turning to the boys, He said, “Okay boys, did I not tell you this?”
Coming back to me, He asked, “To whom have you written the letter?”
“Swami, it is personal. Please leave me at this stage,” I pleaded.
“Nothing is personal. If you are not going to tell, I will tell the contents of the letter to everybody,” He told me. “Tell Me!” He insisted.
I said, “Swami, I wrote a letter to my wife.”
“Ahhh . . . see that! What did you write?” He asked again.
“Swami, what did I write? I wrote about all that has been happening here, Your grace, how You are showering love on everybody. That is what I wrote,” I replied.
“Ah, good,” He said.
Turning to the boys, He said, “Okay boys, did I not tell you all that?” They were clapping!
Finally He said, “You could have written the letter and asked one of the boys to post it. Why have you posted it personally? Oh, you suspected My boys, that they would open the cover and read the contents. My boys are not that type. The college where you worked previously, those boys would do it; but My boys will never do it!” He said.
In other words, my friends, what I want to impress upon you is this: It might be a joke, it might be an incident, or it may be a miracle. Whatever it is, all that He does has got a message behind it for us to learn—the lesson that He is the all-knowing God.
GOD IS EVERYWHERE AND ALL-KNOWING
May 6th, which happens to be Easwaramma Day, was celebrated many a time in Kodaikanal. This year I guess it will be celebrated in Kodaikanal as well. One year it so happened that on Easwaramma Day, there was to be Narayana seva or ‘feeding the poor’. Not ‘poor-feeding’— ‘poor-feeding’ is different from ‘feeding the poor’. Swami insists that you must feed the poor, but your food should not be of poor standard. As the poor people get seated, Swami distributes prasadam to everybody. By the time they come and take their seats, He will ask students to serve food.
Well, that year one boy (who is now a big officer and a gold medallist) was serving, as everybody has to do it. After all, they are not professional servers. After all, boys are boys. This fellow, while serving, half-a-spoonful of food fell on the ground. If Swami sees this, he’s finished! There is a lake in front of Sai Sruthi (the name of Swami’s residence there); he will have to jump into that, that’s all! (Laughter)
At that time, this fellow did not know the spiritual danger that lay waiting for him. He pushed the food under a leaf, keeping the palm leaf above that spilled food, so it was conveniently hidden. Then he served some more food on that leaf, so that it would not fly off like a flying saucer. That’s what he did. Then Swami walked around:
“Is the food served?” Swami asked.
“Ready, Swami,” was the reply.
“Everything is ready?” Swami asked.
“Perfect, Swami,” was the reply.
“Anil Kumar, come here,” Swami said.
“Yes, Swami,” I replied.
“Go to the 13th row--4th leaf,” Swami said.
I went straight to 13th row--4th leaf.
“Don’t stand like that! Turn the leaf!” He insisted.
I turned the leaf and noticed some food under it!
Then He asked, “Who is the boy who has done this? Come on, tell Me! If you don’t tell, I will tell that boy’s name!”
That boy came immediately, “Swami, I did it.”
Swami said, “You have done two mistakes: first, to put the food on the floor, and second, to cover it up, thinking that you are covering My eyes! Understand that I am in you. I am also in the food right where it is now. I know.” That is what Bhagavan said.
That experience was enough for these boys to know that God is everywhere. They have got to be very careful. He is an all-knowing God. In other words, He is the Master of our mind.
Manassu Kaaranambu Mariyandunnuanu.
Manasu Leni Vaadu Mandiramannannuna.
Kaananamunanunna Phalam Ademi?
The one with manas, the mind, is Man.
If you have manas, you are manishi, the human being.
If you do not have that manas or the mind, then why are you here?
WHAT DO YOU DO IN MEDITATION?
Bhagavan reads our mind; He knows our mind. In the ordinary sense, I can tell you that mind is time. Mind is a mad monkey and mind is ego. Mind clamours for attention and claims identity. Mind has got the feeling of superiority. Mind is always wavering, this side and that side.
If we master the mind, if we understand the mind, that is sadhana. We think sadhana means repeating God’s Name, though our mind is elsewhere, thinking something else. We think that chanting is sadhana, even when the mind is elsewhere. That is not so!
Bhagavan said at one time, “What do you do in meditation?” Many people sit there thinking, ‘What about the first cup of coffee?’ ‘Has the servant-maid turned up or not?’ ‘What is for breakfast?’ Is that meditation? It is breakfast meditation! It is servant-maid meditation! It is first cup of coffee meditation, but not Divine meditation.
So, what is meditation? Meditation is not repeating a Name; it is not chanting of a portion from the scriptures. It is when the mind disappears, slowly and gradually. The mind should disappear; the mind should be withdrawn slowly. When the mind is withdrawn, what happens? You enjoy a state of bliss; you enjoy that state of supreme peace; you enjoy that state of enlightenment that is called manonashana or manolaya, meaning ‘withdrawal of the mind’.
Therefore, we should be able to control our mind, or rather, understand the nature of the mind. The highest principle is this: witness your own mind, be a witness to your own mind. What do you mean by ‘witness’? I know my thought right now. I know my thought: ‘Will they will serve me coffee or not?’ So, I know the flow of my thoughts now.
Somebody else might claim, “I don’t know my thoughts.” If you don’t know your thoughts, you better consult a psychiatrist! Everyone knows their own thoughts! Therefore, what you should do is observe your own thought-flow. Be a witness to your own thoughts, so that thoughts get submerged. Thoughts should come to a standstill! Passive, thought-free, that is what is called ‘withdrawal of the mind’ or ‘meditation’ or ‘thoughtless state’. The thoughtless state is the height of meditation. That is the way to manage our mind.
KNOW HOW TO BALANCE YOUR MIND
That is the way to manage our mind. That is how to identify ourselves with Divinity. The funny thing with the mind is that it always wants to be praised: “Oh, you are so great!”
“Is that so? Have you recognised this only today? (Laughter) I have been great for a long time, don’t you know that?” (Laughter)
“Oh, I see.” Mind always requires a kind of elation, jubilation, or praise; conversely, it cannot bear any insult, blame, or humiliation. But if we maintain a poised or balanced state of mind, that is also a meditative mind. We should be able to maintain that balance.
Baba always says this: “You should know how to balance your mind. Nobody is going to balance your mind from the outside. You should be able to do it all by yourself.” Therefore, we should know how to concentrate.
This happened in the life of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to talk to everybody, especially to his disciples every evening. One day, suddenly Paramahamsa got up and slapped a lady named Rani Rasamani. Rani Rasamani was a very rich lady, who had built the temple where Paramahamsa was the pujari. Do you expect a pujari to slap the very philanthropist, the provider of that particular temple?
She was wonderstruck and taken aback! “Swami, what is it that you are doing?” Ramakrishna Paramahamsa asked her, “Where is your mind? Are you thinking of the subject I am talking about? You are thinking of the court, you are thinking about the cases, you are thinking of the litigations; but you are not concentrating on what I am saying. Why don’t you go home? Why are you like this?”
Therefore, my friends, as we listen to Bhagavan, we should listen to Him with great attention. Every word we should grasp, every word we should drink in. Sometimes when Swami speaks about scriptures, He gives a kind of interpretation that nobody else can give.
THE MIND HELPS AND HINDERS
A simple example: Most of you know the story of Abhimanyu and Arjuna. Arjuna is capable of getting into the Padmavyuha (a tricky formation of soldiers in a battle field) and he is also capable of getting out of Padmavyuha. Let us take Padmavyuha as the family—the cobweb of family, the prison of family, the bondage of family. Arjuna knows how to get into this bondage, but he also knows how to get out of this bondage. However, his son, Abhimanyu, knows only how to get in, but he does not know how to get out. Why?
Only Swami can give the correct interpretation. Abhimanyu means abhimana. Abhimana means ‘attachment’. This Abhimanyu had this abhimana or attachment, so he is caught in the Padmavyuha of family. Abhimanyu was thinking of his wife, Abhimanyu was thinking of his father. He was thinking of his uncle, and he was very worried because his wife was in the family-way. He was worried that he had to go all alone. All these worries and anxieties got Abhimanyu trapped in this Padmavyuha; whereas his father, Arjuna, could get in and also get out.
This is what the mind will do: it will help you for liberation, and at the same time, the mind will catch you in maya, so you are caught. That is Padmavyuha. So, mind is the substratum; mind is something like a white cloth. Whatever is imprinted on it, it will reflect. That’s all. The mind is a clean mirror. Nothing is wrong with it; but our thoughts will bring some spots, blots, and some marks. Those impressions are our thoughts. Our thoughts are responsible for the blots; otherwise, it is so clean.
A MASTER OF KILLING THE EGO
The great English poet John Milton said, “It is the mind that makes heaven out of hell, or hell out of heaven.” So, mind is the cause for bondage or liberation. That is what I would like to talk to you about on the mind aspect.
The first aspect is the body. The second aspect is the mind, where we have to always keep a check that we are in the position of a witness. Mind always has ego. Bhagavan is a Master in killing ego--to such an extent that, for a couple of lives to come, you will never be egoistic! Complete dissection, major and total surgery! He will not tolerate any kind of ego. He will watch you as you walk to see how egoistic you are. In your sitting posture, He will come to a conclusion that you are the personification of ego. This Avatar may tolerate anything, but not ego!
So let us say, “Oh ego, go out of my life because you are bothering me too much! You are making me jump and cry! What is this ego? What is it that ego is doing? Ego is not happy, and you are not making me happy either!”
So, we have to keep that ego under check. That ego, as it gets distilled, turns into pride and expresses its prejudices. Prejudice is the ultimate expression that will make you vindictive. Therefore, in the first instance, we have to be careful of this ego.
Karunashree, a great poet of Andhra Pradesh, stood in front of Swami. He wanted to read some poems. He was known all over Andhra Pradesh as a great poet. He was there, shawl and all, and about to talk. Swami was finished, but he could not speak. There was a brake on him. He understood. Then Swami got up and said, “Now you speak.” Only then he could speak.
Mookam Karothi Vachalam Pangum Langayate Girim.
If you are eloquent, He can make you silent.
So eloquence and silence are all managed by Him.
If you want to speak of something with Swami, you will find that you speak an altogether different thing, because that is how it is. Many people go to Puttaparthi with letters, letters of request. These letters they keep in their pocket. When Swami stands in front of them and asks, “How are you?” . . . “Swami, ahhhh . . .” Swami moves on. Then, only later they think about the letter and realise they forgot all about it!
THE MASTER MANAGER OF MINDS
A simple example: K. Munshi, the founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, a champion of Indian culture and philosophy, came to meet Swami. Munshi is a rishi—a great personality by himself. He wrote a long list of questions to ask Swami. Swami granted him an interview. Swami started speaking. This man went, “Ahhhhh!” He forgot everything!
Finally he said, “Swami, I have a list.”
“Come on, take it out,” Swami said. Then, when he sees the list, he realises that all ten of the questions he had are already answered. “Swami, all the questions are answered,” he said.
Swami said, “I don’t need your letter. Munshi, you have forgotten to write one more question there.”
“What is it I have forgotten, Swami?” Munshi asked.
“Your hands are shaking. I know what you have written and what you have not written,” Swami remarked. Then Swami held both of his palms, which started shaking.
Swami knows what is on paper and what is not on paper. Bhagavan says, “I receive your letters to give you satisfaction; but as you start writing, understand that the contents have reached here already.”
The content is already there! That is what Bhagavan says because He is a Master Manager. He is the Master of all minds. Ours is an individual mind, while that of Bhagavan is the cosmic mind or universal mind or super mind. We can understand the cosmic mind, universal mind or super mind only if we reach the no-mind state. First let us K-N-O-W . . . know the mind so that you will reach N-O . . . no-mind state. Then we can experience that super mind which is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Anil Kumar sings the bhajan, “Kshirabdhi Shayana Narayana.”
THE CONTROLLER – THE INTELLECT
Next comes the intellect. The first two are the body and the mind; the third is the intellect or buddhi. The intellect is different from the mind. Mind speaks of feelings and thinking. Mind is emotional; mind is planning, conniving, manipulating, and managing. It represents only outward thinking; it represents just the outward world.
But above that is buddhi or the intellect. The intellect is inward, decisive, and discriminative; intellect is judgemental, and has the power to make decisions. It is intellect that is steady, as opposed to the mind that is wavering. That is the reason why Bhagavad Gita clearly says:
Mahabhootani Ahankaro Buddhir Avyaktamevacha,
Indriyani Dashaikancha Panchashendriya Gochara.
Buddhi, the intellect, is the top.
It is the intellect that acts as an accountant,
That acts as an auditor and that acts as a censor:
What is to get in, what is not to?
What is to be allowed and what is not to be allowed?
A simple example: there is the sun. The sunlight is streaming through the window into the room. The sun represents the Atma, the soul, the consciousness. Light represents the intellect. Window is the mind. Room is the body, as Bhagavan explains. Sun and sunlight are so close which means consciousness and intellect are so close. That is the reason why Bhagavad Gita clearly explains:
Buddhi is super powerful,
It is transcendental.
It is beyond the mind, beyond the senses.
It is the controller because it is close to the consciousness, like the sun. The quality of the sun is reflected in the sunlight; the nature of the sun is demonstrated in the sunlight. The nature and the quality of consciousness are very much seen in the intellect. So, follow the intellect—never follow your mind!
Manassunu Yerigina Vaadu Manavundu.
Buddhinerigina Vaadu Budha Varundu.
Satyamaina Mata Ee Sai Maata.
If you follow the mind, you are human.
If you follow the intellect, you are Divine.
If you follow the senses, you are an animal.
So, we have the three degrees:
Follow the senses . . . First Class! Go to the zoo and be an animal!
Follow your mind . . . Good! You are a human being.
Follow the intellect . . . You are the Divine!
CONSCIOUS, CONSCIENCE AND CONSCIOUSNESS
All three degrees are within our body. There is the intellect. Once we go beyond the intellect, there we have the sun that is the consciousness, which is the Divine Atma, the spirit or soul. You may be wondering where the spirit or consciousness is. Where is the soul? Doctors dissect the body in the anatomy theatre, but they don’t find the intellect anywhere. So, where is the intellect? The intellect is present everywhere.
The mind is located in the individual, while intellect is universal. Therefore, that universal conscience is the intellect, while the universal consciousness is the sun himself. Sun is consciousness, sunlight or intellect is conscience, and the body is conscious. So, understand this when Bhagavan uses these three words: conscious, conscience, and consciousness.
Conscious refers to the physical, while conscience means the individual soul or spirit. Consciousness is the universal soul or pure consciousness, totally Divine. Therefore, my friends, it is the intellect that will take us very close to consciousness or the universal mind.
REMOVE THE MASKS OF MIND, DESIRE, AND ATTACHMENT
“Oh Bhagavan, how is that I don’t experience it? It is far bigger than me, Swami. No, no, it won’t get into my head! What am I to do?” We often lament thus.
Bhagavan gives this simple example: There is a fire covered by ash. When the fire is covered by ash, you don’t see the fire. To see the fire, what do you do? Blow away the ash so that you can see the fire. Likewise, when the water of a pond is covered by moss or algae, you don’t see any reflection, and you don’t see any water. Clear the moss away so you can see the still, clean water. Even on some nights, you don’t see the moon’s reflection because of this mask (shadow) over there.
The consciousness can be reflected only if we remove the mask of the mind, the mask of desire, and the masks of attachment and body attachment. Bodily attachment is the mask; the mask is desire, the tank is the human body, the reflection is the conscience, and the object is consciousness. How beautiful! It is only Bhagavan who can explain like this.
We go to so many gurus and we read so many scriptures. Ultimately, we return saying, “I am confused! I am confounded! I am more confused than ever before. I will not to attend any spiritual talk hereafter!” It is only Swami who can put it in a nutshell straightaway, and make it really simple.
Once we asked Swami, “Swami, You say detachment or vairagya is so simple. Swami, no, no! It is very tough.”
Swami said, “Oh, I see! You are holding this handkerchief really tightly. For how long can you hold it like that? You cannot hold onto it like that all the time. Come on, drop it! That’s all. When you drop it, it is so easy. When you hold onto it, it is difficult.”
“Is it that simple, Swami?” It is what it is; it is so simple.
MIND IS THE KEY TO BONDAGE AND LIBERATION
Then I said to Swami, “Swami, how do I turn my mind? You say that it is the mind that is the cause for liberation and it is the mind that is the cause for bondage. Well, that mind which is the cause for bondage, how does it serve as an instrument for liberation? How?”
Bhagavan said, “Aha, I see. This is a fan. When you wave it like this, you get a breeze towards you. Turn the fan towards the other side, and the opposite object receives the breeze, not you. So, mind is like the fan. If it is turned towards you, the result is bondage; if it is turned towards God, then liberation.” That is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. How beautiful and clear His explanations are!
Furthermore, He gave another beautiful example of a lock and key. If you turn the key to one side, it opens; but if you turn it to the other side, it locks. The locking and unlocking is all done by one key. In other words, it is same key that locks and unlocks. The key is the mind, while the body is the lock. Bondage and liberation is what Bhagavan Baba explained. Who can give this example in such simple words, other than Bhagavan Baba?
Anil Kumar sings the bhajan, “Guru Natha Guru Natha, Sadguru Natha, Sai Natha.”
I am not the body
Therefore, this kind of discovery of one’s own consciousness or Self, one’s Divinity, makes it clear that I am not the body. The body, which was so handsome 25 years ago, is looking so awful today. After another ten years, I would not like to look into the mirror! So, you are not the body because the body goes on changing. You are not the body. You can only take care of the body. You are only a caretaker or a watchdog, so that the body does not fall sick, that’s all.
Some flights land before their scheduled arrival time. Our body should not land before its arrival time! Let it not be delayed either, like Indian Railways. The body should not fall sick. We should only take care of the body, but remembering that we are not the body.
If you are the body, you should be the same all the time. No, just look at your photographs—wedding day, followed by all those wedding anniversaries. Now, you do begin to wonder how your wife married you, and you may also regret why you married her! (Laughter)
THE MILITANTS AND CONSCIOUSNESS
Just before I walked into this hall, I saw something called “Retirement Sale.” I told my wife, “Since both of us are retired, we can be on sale. I am ready, if anybody wants to buy me.” (Laughter)
You might have heard about one gentleman by the name of Veerappan, who was a well-known militant. One day, Swami, while walking among the students, said, “Anil Kumar! Veerappan wants to kidnap you!”
I said, “Swami, he cannot afford to kidnap me.”
“Why?” asked Swami. “He killed so many people, so why not you?”
I replied, “He cannot afford me because he has to supply me with South Indian pickle—very important—and then papad, sambar, rasam, etc. He will not be able to afford my dietary habits.”
Swami said, “He can afford them, and he will take you.”
Then I replied, “Okay, Swami, if he manages to kidnap me, still I will bring him here to Puttaparthi for singing of bhajans.” Veerappan also can sing bhajans, why not? It is the effect of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
There are so many people from West Bengal . . . the Naxalites (militants) who transformed totally, completely after seeing Swami. Therefore, that consciousness is ever-present and ever-vigilant, and serves as an eternal witness.
Kshetrajnam Chaapi Maam Viddihi Sarva Kshetreshu Bharata,
Kshetra Kshetrayor Jnanam Yagnanam Matam Mama.
Kshetra is the body,
Kshetrajna is the Knower, the Indweller.
Therefore I am Kshetrajna!
I am the consciousness present in you in the form of the conscience.
Kshetra Kshetrajnya Yor Jnanam.
That kind of Knowledge brings about the exact relationship between the consciousness and the body.
Yat Jnanam Mataam Mama.
That Knowledge is what I desire.
STORY OF KING JANAKA
Therefore, the consciousness is ever-vigilant, ever-active, and dynamic. A simple example: Bhagavan was talking to the students one day: “King Janaka was in his open court and fell asleep. Naturally, all the parliamentarians were going on and on. How long could he bear to hear to the parliamentarians? So he fell into a sleep.”
In his dream, he felt as though he had lost his kingdom. He dreamt that he was driven out of the kingdom, and was driven hither and thither in a forest. He was very hungry and he stood in front of a house, begging for a morsel of food. One old lady came out of the hut and served him some food; but when he was about to eat, a dog came and snatched the food away immediately. Janaka screamed, “Ayo!” Then he came to his senses, in his open court or parliament.
THE WAKING, DREAMING, DEEP SLEEP AND TURIYA STATES
He then called Vashishta, the preceptor or sage. “Oh Sage, what is true? Is the parliament and its members, I being the king—is this true? Or, that where I lost my kingdom, roaming around in the forest, being robbed of my morsel of food by a dog—is that true? Or is this true?”
The sage replied, “This is true and that is also true.”
“I see, but how can there be two truths? That is impossible. Either this or that has to be true. It is either one or the other. How can it be both?”
Then Vashishta started explaining: in the waking state, this is true; while in the dreaming state, that is true. You are true while experiencing both. You have experienced both states. You are all seated here—this is the waking state. This is the state where the body, senses, mind, conscience and consciousness are present.
In the dream, there is no body and there are no senses. Only the mind goes on dreaming about you being . . . even the President of America! Why not? You can be the president of anything or the richest man. It is, after all, just a dream. If I can’t fight with you here in the waking state, then in my dream, I can fight you out, why not? So, a dream is only in the mind.
In deep sleep, there is no body and there is no mind; there is only the conscience. The individual soul is beyond the deep-sleep state. It is present in the super state, turiya, the ultimate, where you are the eternal witness or consciousness. Consciousness is turiya, the ultimate; conscience is operating in deep sleep or sushupthi. Conscious is the waking state, where you experience all the body and senses. This is the art of discovery; so let us discover ourselves!
WHO AM I?
Once Bhagavan asked, “Who are you?”
I said, “I am a professor.”
Swami said, “Professor is your job. Tomorrow you may be a truck driver or you may change your job. You can be in any job.” Ok, I understood.
Swami again asked, “Who are you?”
I said, “Swami, I am Anil Kumar.”
Swami said, “No, no, that is only the name given by your parents. You can change your name as well. You were not born with this name; this name was given to you.” So I am not the name, nor am I am the job.
Then Swami asked, “Who are you?”
I replied, “Swami, I am an Indian.”
Swami said, “No, no, you may settle in America. Then you become an American . . . NRI.”
Then I replied, “At least I am a man. Is that okay?”
Swami said, “No, no.” This sounded dangerous! “No, you are not the man. Man or woman is just the gender. You are not that either.”
Then Swami asked, “If anybody knocks at your door, you ask, ‘Who is there?’ They don’t say, ‘I, the man, am here,’ or, ‘I, the woman, am here.’ ‘I’ is common to both man and woman. ‘I’ is beyond gender. ‘I’ is beyond time and space. It is beyond cause or karana. It is beyond space. It is beyond the body, kaya. Kaya, kala, karana and kartavya: it is beyond space, time, cause, and the body. That ‘I’ is the conscience. Therefore, you cannot say, ‘I am the man.’”
So, who am I now? I am not an Indian, I am not a professor, and I am not a man! Then, who am I?
HOW DO YOU SAY WHAT YOU ARE?
“You are God.” That is what Bhagavan says: “You are God.” This is what is called the theory of negation: I am not this, I am not this, so I am that. “Okay Swami, I can say what I am not, but how can I say what I am? How can I say what I really am? How can I say that?” I can say that I am not the body and I am not the mind; so then I am That. How can I speak about that ‘I am’?
Just think for yourself: how can you say what you really are? You are not the body, you are not the mind, you are not the name, you are not the position, and you are not the country. Okay, fine. Then, how do you say what you really are?
ONLY IN SILENCE IS THE VOICE OF GOD HEARD
Bhagavan gives two examples: Rama and Sita went to the forest. Sita sat among the ladies and Rama sat among the men. When Swami sits among the students, He tells some ethics as well so that boys do not get spoilt later. They are not simply stories; they have some morals also.
Rama sat on this side and Sita sat on the other side, the same as people are sitting here today. The ladies were curious to know who this new lady was. So they came close to her and asked, “What is your name?”
She said, “I am Sita.”
“Is your husband around?”
Sita said, “Yes.”
“Where is he?” They went on pointing, asking, “Is he your husband?”
She replied, “No” several times, for a few people they asked about.
When they pointed to Rama and asked, “Is he your husband?” she did not reply. She bent her head in silence. Baba says that Sita is not a modern girl; she wouldn’t say, “Hello honey, get up!” She would never say that. She bent her head down in silence, in acceptance. What does it mean?
A few people were pointed out to her, and she said they were not her husband. “Neti Siddhanta”, not this, not this: this is the theory of negation. But when it comes to her own husband, she observed silence. So when consciousness is experienced, silence is its expression. That is the reason why Baba says, “It is only in the depth of silence that the voice of God can be heard.”
The voice of God is heard only in depths of silence because the experience of consciousness cannot be put into words, cannot be put within the framework of words. When it is put in the frame of words, it becomes an expression only. But that consciousness, which is only experienced, is beyond expression. What is expressed is only a mind-game; what is expressed are simply intellectual gimmicks. What is experienced is something transcendental, something deeply spiritual.
Anil Kumar sings the bhajan, “Shiva Maheshwara, Shiva Maheshwara, Shiva Maheswara Sai Ram.”
HOW DEEP IS THIS CONSCIOUSNESS?
So, when we experience that state of consciousness, we are speechless, we are thoughtless. Thoughtlessness and speechlessness are the two features of the experience of consciousness.
So long as the mind is full of thoughts, turbulence and agitations, you will not get the experience of consciousness. So long as you have got desires, you won’t have this experience. Therefore, the thoughtless (thought-free) state or the transcendental state gives the real experience of consciousness.
Bhagavan shares another example: suppose you are close to the river and the water is knee-deep. You can speak. Later, the water is neck-deep, but you can still speak. But, when you are totally drowned under the water, can you speak? When you are totally drowned, under deep water; you cannot speak. That describes that experience of consciousness, as Baba puts it.
Our attempt is to understand that consciousness, which is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, which is eternal, immortal, nectarine, blemish-less, anindya; that which is hidden and unexpressed, avyakta; that which is beyond all measure, aprameya. So, arameya, avyakta, anindya . . . and that which is immortal, amrutha, plus sanathana or eternal—that is consciousness. Bodies come and go, but that Divine spirit is eternal. That awareness is what we call Self-discovery.
Baba gives us three important cautions:
1. Lokanni Nammavaddu.
Never repose faith in the world.
If you have total faith in the world and in other people, they might praise you today, but they may condemn you tomorrow. As long as I favour you, I am your friend. When I say, “No”, there ends the matter. This applies to domestic situations as well, and the speaker is no exception. Therefore my friends, you cannot have total faith in society because it keeps on changing. Blame on one side, praise on the other—it is something like the pendulum that oscillates between two extremes.
2. Mrityuvu Viruvavaddu.
Never fear death.
We don’t have to fear death. There is no death at all because the spirit is eternal. You are supreme. You are the One-in-all. You are One-without-a-second. Advaitiyam Brahma: You are One-without-a-second. Ekam Eva Advaitiya Brahma. Ekam Eva means ‘only One’. Advaitiya Brahma means ‘without any second’.
When you are the only one, the supreme consciousness, where is the question of the end of life? Where is the question of the death of life? So, the qualification of a seeker or an aspirant is not to fear death.
3. Daivanni Maruvavaddu.
Never forget God.
That is the third caution that Bhagavan tells us. In the art of Self-discovery, let us know that you are not the body, that you are not the mind, and that you are not the intellect. Let us know you are the supreme consciousness! That is who you really are. You are beyond time and beyond space.
My friends, may Bhagavan bless us with that awakening. May He bless us with that awareness. May He bless us with that benedictory experience—that blessing of the super state or transcendental state, so that our Father will be proud of us, so that we are worthy of the Creator, who has taken the trouble to come down in a human form and move amongst us; cajoling, consoling, encouraging, commanding and kindling the Divinity within every one of us.
Anil Kumar sings the bhajan, “Jaya Sai Shankara Jaya Abhayankara.”
Sai Ram. Thank you!
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