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[Journey with Sai]

Some Excerpts from the book written by Karunamba Ramamurthy – Part 3 of 3

[A Treasure]  


On January 15, 1960, at 7 p.m. Swami opened the door of the Interview Room and called us inside. All of us garlanded Swami and did pada Namaskara. After He sat down, we sat around Him; seeing the children, He asked, "How are Durvasa and others?" Murali said that he would no longer take that name. Swami asked, "He is better now, isn't he?" I replied in the affirmative. Swami said, "Now is the chance of your second son. Later the third. Look, fire is withdrawn from the fire chamber and simultaneously water is poured to douse the fire. Even then so much of heat (anger) is left! (Turning towards Raghu) Why do you get so angry? I will punish you properly. I will make you fail this time." I prayed, "Swami please do not do like that." Swami said, "Why should they not listen to Us? Should We listen to them?" Looking at the boys, "If you follow My words, I will protect you from all difficulties. Tell your friends that you have to do Bhajans in the evening and that you do not like to be disturbed. All right. Was the speech I gave yesterday good?" We replied, "Yes, Swami." He asked the same thing twice or thrice. I said that it would have been nice if He had spoken for some more time. Swami said, "It is enough if you digest that. If I tell more, it may cause indigestion."

KANNAMMA: At what time should we do Japa in the evening?

SWAMI: Evening is not that good.

KANNAMMA: What mantra should be chanted during Japa?

SWAMI: A mantra, which is dear to your mind. Any mantra will do. Ramayati iti raamah (a).

KANNAMMA: Please teach us, Swami.

SWAMI: 'Om Namo Shri Sai Raamaaya' or 'Om Shri Sai Raamaaya Namah (a)'. Both have Pancha bijaksharas.

KANNAMMA: Shouldn't the word 'Sathya' come? Swami: No. I do not have such a distinction.

KANNAMMA: Swami, can we not chant 'Om Shri Sathya Sai Parabrahmane Namah(a)' ?

SWAMI: Mantra becomes too long.

KANNAMMA: Yes, Swami. We feel that mantra should be short. If it is long it is difficult to chant.

SWAMI: It is better that the mantra is shorter. You can chant it faster. It is similar to a battery which charges up faster if the generator rotates at higher speed. If you chant the mantra at a higher speed, your battery will also be charged at a faster rate. The mind will start chanting on its own without your knowledge (ajapajapa). 'Shri Gopiijana Vallabhaaya Namah(a)' is also a long mantra. You can chant 'Om Shri Sai Raamaaya Namah(a)'. You should do Japa and Dhyana alternately. But you should see to it that your mind does not wander away from Japa or Dhyana.

KANNAMMA: Our minds do everything with interest for a few days. Certain days it cannot be forced even. In Such a case, what should we do?

SWAMI: If the mind does not obey you, you force it to obey. The farmer ties the bullocks to the plough and then ploughs the fields. Some times they stop. Will the farmer simply sit back, pity them and let them rest? Will he not make them work? If he keeps quiet, the work comes to a stop. So continue your practice. After some time, every thing will be all right. Do not give up sadhana at any cost, yielding to the frailty of the mind. How was My speech on Uttarayana?

KANNAMMA: It was excellent, Swami. Please take us on that path.

SWAMI: You are on that path only. That is why you were able to come to Parthi to listen to such discourses.

KANNAMMA: My husband expressed his inability to visit Puttaparthi this time. But I insisted that he should come.

SWAMI: Could he have come here by your mere urging? He was destined to get amrita. So he came.

KANNAMMA: What should we do to be near You like this forever?

SWAMI: You are already here.

SHANKARA: Why are there one hundred and eight beads in a Japa Mala?

SWAMI: To count the ashtottarashatanama.

SHANKARA: I have got a scholarship.

SWAMI: (mimicking Shankara) You have got it. Study well. (Continuing) How is the situation in the house?

KANNAMMA: You know it, Swami.

MURALI: Swami, You should give us some Upadesh.

SWAMI: Aha! I performed your Upanayana. Are you regularly doing Sandhyavandanam?

MURALI: I am doing Sandhyavandanam daily without fail. (Swami turned towards my husband. He concurred.) You should give us some advice, Swami. We will follow it.

SWAMI: All that I have told you so far is My Upadesh. Heed My words and those of your parents. I will look after your welfare. It is the parents' duty to bring up the children in the right way, give education, equip them for employment and marry them off. If these are done, their duties are over. (Swami materialized vibuthi and smeared it on our foreheads.)

KANNAMMA: Swami, are You sending us out so soon? You have materialized vibuthi already.

SWAMI: Ammayi, look outside, how many are waiting?

All of us prostrated to Him. I asked a few things about Radha. I mentioned about some people telling about a calamity that would befall my husband that year. I prayed Him to protect us from it. Swami said, "Who told you? Do not worry about such mad predictions. Nothing of that sort will happen." He placed His hand on my head and blessed. "You will be a dirgha sumangali. Do you know how many more years all of you have to serve Me?" All of us held His hands and prayed Him not to forget us and to kindly grant Atma Jnana. Swami held our hands and said, "I will never forget you and I will fulfill your prayers."

Swami asked my child, Suresh, "All of you together are nine persons, is it not?" He said, "Yes." Turning to me He said, "Look, he says you have nine children." I said, "No, Swami." He asked, "How many?" I replied, "Five, Swami."

SWAMI: You do not have any daughters, do you?

KANNAMMA: No, Swami. But, as You told it is enough if You give me a son called sujnana and a daughter called muktikanta.

SWAMI: There will be a big crowd for Vaikunta Ekadashi. This is because the Linga I materialise during Shivaratri goes only to a few people, while everybody gets amrita during Vaikunta Ekadashi.

KANNAMMA: Swami, we want to sing in Your presence during Shivaratri. But old devotees are not allowed into the Mandir. We lost even that opportunity.

SWAMI: (in a sad tone) What shall I do? No place.

With a heavy heart, we sought His permission to leave for Mysore.

Once my sister, Radha and myself were in Puttaparthi. We were standing near the Interview Room in the morning. Swami called us and talked to us.

KANNAMMA: Swami, after early morning meditation, I will not have time the whole day to contemplate on You.

SWAMI: No. You will be remembering Me again in the afternoon.

KANNAMMA: I am not able to contemplate on You while doing work.

SWAMI: You need not. You should concentrate on your work and do it properly. It is enough if you contemplate on Me even for just one second with devotion. I know it is not possible to contemplate on Me the whole day saddled as you are with family responsibilities.

RADHA: She does that much at least. I do not do anything at all.

SWAMI: You tell that she does it and she tells that you do it!

RADHA: People say that persons staying here get more of Your grace than those who stay far away. Is it true?

SWAMI: The process is similar to that of coal catching fire. People staying here will have chance of becoming fire first. But what is the use if they stay here but keep away from the fire? People staying far away will have to fan a bit to catch fire. That is all. (People staying near Swami have better chances for faster redemption. People staying far away have to do Naamasmarana.)

KANNAMMA: Swami, what is the meaning of the word dram that we find in Nanavalli?

SWAMI: That is a bijakshara. There are words such as 'vaasudevaaya Namah(a)', 'Devaki nandanaaya Namah(a)' and so on. The letter 'kliim' contains the meaning of all the above. Instead of saying, 'Krishnaaya namah(a)', you can as well say just 'kliim'.

KANNAMMA: Swami, are there any divisions among the mantras based on their greatness?

SWAMI: Yes. You get enduring results by chanting those mantras, which have bijakshara in them. Mantras, which do not have bijakshara, will not give the expected results.

KANNAMMA: Swami, we are afraid that You will grow beyond our reach.

SWAMI: (Rising from sofa and keeping His abhaya hasta on our heads) Never, never, never. I will never leave you, never leave you, and never leave you.

KANNAMMA: Swami, grace us to realise You internally.

SWAMI: Definitely. I have come for the sake of devotees like you only.

He materialised vibuthi, applied it to our foreheads and permitted us to do pada Namaskara.

Sometime in 1950's, before we left Puttaparthi, Swami called us to the Interview Room. He enquired about our welfare and the subject of Bhakti came up.

SWAMI: While chanting a mantra one should contemplate on the form also. You should meditate on Him selflessly with the feeling that He belongs, not only to you, but to everyone and as the Lord of the Universe. You can meditate on any mantra. Just as all the rivers reach the ocean, all the mantras lead to God. (Swami was implying any bijakshara mantra). After reaching the ocean, the river looses its own taste and will acquire the taste of the ocean. Even if a number of sins have been committed, they will be washed away in the continuous contemplation of God. As you people belong to Me, you are able to come here so often. I am yours. I have no right on Myself. Devotees have the right of making Me their own.

While chanting a mantra, if the letters of the mantra appear before you, meditate on the mantra for sometime and then on the form for some time. Keep on alternating between mantra and form, and finally make your mind stick to the form. You might say that you are the same as before and have not changed. Without your knowledge, your state of 'being' will have changed. If I tell you in which stage you are now, your ego grows and you destroy yourself. There are many such eligible persons. If they are told, their ego will grow. They will do what is prohibited. So I do not tell anyone. Only I know what stage everyone is in.

KANNAMMA: Swami, kindly let us know the stage we have reached.

SWAMI: No. I will not tell. You are one among a thousand eligible people. I will not forget you. I have kept your mother here only to grace her. (Looking at us) You are all tied to family life. Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Shakti and other similar mahamantras are available to you. The mantra, Sathya Sai has the combined power of all these mantras. Just this mantra is enough. You sing 'Kamakshi, Kamakshi.' Therefore, meditating on God with the feelings of mother suits best for you. Remember what I told you yesterday. (Swami had explained the devotion of Gopis as the supreme example).

Swami materialised vibuthi and applied it on our foreheads and allowed us to do pada Namaskara prior to leaving the Interview Room.

One afternoon we were sitting in the old Mandir after our meals. Swami sent words through a devotee asking us to go to the new Mandir. We immediately went there. Swami called us to the Interview Room. Swami had just finished His lunch.

KANNAMMA: Swami, You have not taken betel leaves.

SWAMI: Ammayi. It is all right. I very much like to talk to people who are interested in spiritual matters. You wanted to ask something. What is it?

KANNAMMA: Swami, let the ups and downs of worldly life be there. But, if we do not advance even a little bit in the spiritual path, is not our life a waste?

SWAMI: Ammayi, do not tell so. First, you should have the minimum of comforts in your worldly life. Unless you are comfortable in your worldly life, you cannot progress in spiritual life. If you have to struggle even for food and clothing, how will you think of God? In this Kaliyug, where life is sustained by food, you can advance in the spiritual path only if you have enough food and clothing. I therefore ensure that My devotees do not struggle for food and clothing. But, I will not let them amass wealth. After amassing wealth they will become insensitive to the sufferings around them.

KANNAMMA: How to stop the mind from straying?

SWAMI: Is it possible only by your efforts? Prakriti is wavering. Mind was born from it. How can it be steady? Is there a mind without desires? Is there a sky devoid of clouds? Is there a rose without thorn? If you pray Me everyday to stop your minds from straying, they will stop as soon as I make the sankalpa that your minds should be still.

KANNAMMA: Swami, having no interest in this world and not advancing in the spiritual matters is disgusting. How long should we stay in this situation? We are in the same state as we were. We have not advanced and attained anything even after coming to You for so many years.

SWAMI: You should not think like that. You should think that by His grace you are in this stage or else the position would have been worse. If your mind is not peaceful, think that Sainatha's grace has not yet been showered on you and wait patiently. Console yourself by remembering historical incidents wherein God has protected His devotees.

KANNAMMA: Swami, how should we conduct ourselves in family life?

SWAMI: (sang a Telugu song) Sathya Dharmamu Shanti Premalato... (By contemplating on God with devotion, by performing daily duties with Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema one should undertake the journey of life). Lead your lives in such a manner. There are two small eyes in the big human body, which are very important. They are Veda and Shastra. Man should follow the injunctions enshrined in them.

Swami got up, we prostrated to Him and returned.

During another visit to Parthi, we were with Swami in the Interview Room. Swami enquired about Radha's family matters. The topic of Bhakti came up again.

KANNAMMA: Swami, a devotee could not come to Puttaparthi because her mother has broken her waist and is bedridden.

SWAMI: (jokingly) Why should not an injection be given to end her life immediately? What else, Ammayi, there is no use in being alive like that.

KANNAMMA: Swami, You have kept her in that state. Keeping her alive or not is in Your hands.

SWAMI: If they retain some karma of this life, they will have to undergo it in their next life. People who have lots of karma will have to suffer for a longer time. How will you finish it without undergoing some difficulties? I let them to get over it in this life itself so that there will be nothing left. (He meant that the slate would be wiped clean.)

KANNAMMA: Swami, all that we are undergoing, is it due to our previous karma?

SWAMI: Yes. Let us assume that you break Radhamma's hand. As a reaction she will break yours. You will come to Me and say, "Swami, she broke my hand." You will not know that you had broken her hand in the previous birth. But I know that. Then what should be done? If you console yourself that this difficulty has befallen you because you might have hurt her previously, your mind will be at peace and you will get the strength to bear the difficulty.

KANNAMMA: Swami, if we undergo all our karma now, do we attain a state of 'no birth' ?

SWAMI: Aha! Do you think that the state of 'no birth' is so easily attainable?

KANNAMMA: What should we do to attain it?

SWAMI: You have to do sadhana with your mind. The body experiences karma. The mind tries for birthlessness. If all the karma has been gone through, you will be born in a noble family. Due to inherited good qualities you do not commit any more sins and will not go against dharma. If people fear sin and willingly do good deeds, they will not commit sin. No sin means no birth.

KANNAMMA: Swami, should we have to undergo all the karma?

SWAMI: Yes. (It is our karma, which either hurts or helps us. Actions of this birth are carried to the next birth. They are around our neck like invisible garlands. The pattern of our life is governed by what the garland is made of — fragrant flowers or foul smelling flowers. Swami has elaborated elsewhere that suffering and misery are inescapable acts of the cosmic drama. Man invites them by way of retribution for his evil deeds. This is corrective punishment, which aids their evolution. It induces them to give up the wrong path and return to the right path.)

KANNAMMA: Swami, we have also committed a number of mistakes that has hurt You.

SWAMI: No. You have not hurt Me. (At that instant, the clock struck.) The striking of the clock is a good omen testifying My statement. Compelled to act against the nature's rule or against one's will due to inadequate strength in the body or by getting into some difficulties, everyone commit a few mistakes. That is not a sin. But remember, every person has an equal right over his own life. When such is the case, one person taking the life of the other and treachery are great sins. Treachery is pushing a blind person into a pit after promising him to show the way. If you ask Me as to what to do for all the things you have already committed, I have only one answer — you have to suffer for everything. It is suffering which sublimates life. In a family, facing household problems is nothing but ordinary karma. (Small illnesses, little injuries, financial problems, etc. cannot be compared with someone committing a murder and going to jail or having an incurable disease, etc. In ordinary day-to-day problems, there is no working of karma. On the contrary, they point to the fact that no serious sins have been committed.)

KANNAMMA: You should be sympathetic towards us and grace us without getting angry, Swami.

SWAMI: Why should I be angry at you? This is real madness.

KANNAMMA: Swami, what sadhana should be done to attain birthlessness?

SWAMI: You should do Naamasmarana relentlessly.

KANNAMMA: Swami, in spiritual books it is said that whatever we may do, we do not get liberation without God's grace. We will not attain liberation without Your grace.

SWAMI: It is not so. You are telling that rivers are there due to rains. I say it rains because there are rivers. It is like this: only if the river named sadhana flows, the rain named grace pours over it. If there is no river, it does not rain. It is, therefore, important that you do sadhana. Luckily you are the rivers that will join the ocean. The river called Naamasmarana joins the ocean of God. When the flood of God's ananda occurs, the dirty water of the river gets washed away, leaving only pure water. The rain called God's anugraha always pours over the river called Naamasmarana. People who stay here permanently are like staying with the sun; those who come and stay for a short while are like staying with the moon.

KANNAMMA: Swami, what will happen to us?

SWAMI: I have given you the fire of Nama. If you relentlessly remember the name, all your karma will be burnt.

On another occasion, the same topic came up for discussion. Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sri Ramachandra Iyer also was present then.

IYER: Swami, do we have to experience our karma? Is there no other way to eliminate our karma? If You say, 'No', we will happily undergo karma. Then what is the use of performing rituals, Bhajans, contemplation, etc?

SWAMI: The Shastra has told so under the assumption that you are not strong enough to reduce your karma by other means. I have not said that. As you said, if one comes to know that performing all the rites, rituals, pilgrimage, Bhajans, Darshan of holy men and so on does not reduce karma, why should one perform them? They surely help in reducing the karma. If one can totally change one's destiny (God's sankalpa) by contemplating on God, is it difficult to wipe off karma? I ordain you to contemplate on God with confidence and devotion while undergoing your karma. I will see to it that you do not feel the pain and you would not even know that you are undergoing karma. Though the snow covered mountains look very huge, the snow in the presence of sun's rays melts away. Similarly, your karma will melt away. Do not have even an iota of doubt and fear. You can surely escape it. Your past deeds (sanchita karma) is like a rice bag. Karma you undergo now (prarabdha) due to the past deeds is like taking a small quantity of rice from the bag for cooking now and then and eating it. The waste created is the consequence for the future (agami). If you keep removing rice from the rice bag to cook food, the rice bag will be empty one day. But, the seeds of past deeds have sprouted in the form of present karma. Before it can grow into a tree, burn it with the fire of Naamasmarana. Then it will become charcoal. If this substance also is subjected to fire, it will get burnt into ash. You can thus block the future. Naamasmarana is supreme.

As your devotion becomes stronger, your behaviour becomes purer. Then you will not engage in bad activities. You will be endowed with good qualities.

Once we were in the Interview Room.

SWAMI: Living in this world is Maya. Life is like a tree. At the top of the tree is the whole fruit. Reflection of the tree is its shadow. Man climbs the reflection and worries that he did not obtain the fruit. He worries only when something is not obtained. If he looks around, he will see the real tree. After he climbs the real tree, he can see his reflection. Now he gets the fruits on the real tree as well as in the reflection. These fruits are known as ihaphala and paraphala. The fruit on the real tree is the divine fruit. The reflection is the worldly fruit. Both ihaphala and paraphala will be yours once you choose the spiritual path. If you climb the tree of God, you can see your shadow also climbing. By climbing the tree of God, you will get fruits of this world without your knowledge.

When I see you, I can see your hearts clearly like the things kept in a glass almirah. You cannot hide anything from Me. Some people's hearts are totally dark. I do not try to do anything to such people. Some people's hearts glow brightly. I do not touch such people's lives also. Some people's hearts have a small glimmer like that of candlelight. My work is to ensure that this small glow is transformed into a bright light.

I have kept the secret of the creation neither on earth nor in heaven, but at the junction of these two. You have to see it in Dhyana, i.e., in the transitory state between those of waking and sleeping. (It did not occur to us to ask how.) Ammayi, God has kept two of everything in the human body. Can you find anything, which is single?

DEVOTEE: Yes, Swami. (After coming out of the Interview Room, we realised that navel was not in pairs! We could not help, but smile at the way Swami cleverly fooled us.)

SWAMI: It is only human beings who pursue the four goals of life — dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Not only humans, even animals have pride. A newborn calf also says "Ham, Hai." Man does not allow the calf to drink its mother's milk by tethering it. But, how much protection for the child of a human! There is a relationship between mother and child in all aspects. Anything done for others is paropakara, but children can influence the destiny of parents and vice-versa

Another time in the Interview Room, we asked Swami about Bhakti.

SWAMI: To obtain God's grace you should first follow markata Bhakti (devotion to God like a monkey cub clinging to its mother). After that, you will be able to achieve marjala Bhakti (devotion to God like a kitten held by its mother in her mouth). Initially, you should have the stubbornness to reach God and you should cling to Him in all situations of your life. Later, you will develop the faith that everything happens according to His will. God is Madhura Swarupa (sweet natured). Madhura (sweetness; melodiousness) is God. When you are asked about the taste of sugar, you answer that it is sweet. If pressed further, you answer that it is very sweet. The taste can only be experienced, not described. Similarly, only those who have tasted it know the sweetness of God. Just as Madhura has no form, God too has no form. To concentrate the mind, you can meditate on any of. His form or name. God is shabdabrahma. Rama, Krishna and others came from the energy waves of the shabdabrahma. Pranava is God." He turned towards the children and said, "You should be obedient to your parents. If you go away from them, you will be going away from Me also. You should pray God daily to lead you on the right path. If some other God (form) rather than your ishtadaiva appears while you are meditating, consider that as your God.

Another time in the Interview Room.

DEVOTEE: Swami, can we nullify the karma of our bad deeds by the merit we gain out of good deeds?

SWAMI: No. However well you mix the seeds of a thorny plant and a fruit bearing plant and sow them, the seeds of the thorny plant will turn into a thorny plant only and the seed of the fruit bearing plant will turn into a fruit bearing plant only. This is nature's law.

DEVOTEE: What is the solution?

SWAMI: Yes, there is a solution. The Income Tax department levies tax based on your income. If you invest money in approved instruments, they reduce the tax. Similarly, if you do good deeds, some amount of tax is reduced. If you sincerely perform Bhajans, tax is reduced further. If you go for Nagarasamkirtan, some more tax is reduced. If you perform Nama Japa, tax is further reduced. If you do likhitajapa, tax reduces and Dhyana reduces tax further. Even after all the deductions, tax is not zero. Balance amount has to be paid, as there is no other way.

DEVOTEE: If that is the case, why should we have Your Darshan? What do we gain from it?

SWAMI: A few years back, a military officer shot his wife to death. A case was registered against him. All the courts, including the Supreme Court, passed a death sentence on him. The officer appealed to the President. The ruling of the President was, "He has fought courageously for India and has protected the country in the past. Such a person deserves some consideration. He is, therefore, exonerated from the death sentence, but given a life sentence." Swami's Darshan and grace works in that manner. (Avatar can always grant special grace, like clemency.)

[The following conversations took place during 1961-67.]

Once we were seated in Interview Room.

SWAMI: You can chant any name during contemplation. But while meditating, you should chant the same name of .the form you meditate on. Dhyana should be done in the same place. You should not change the place. Concentrating one's mind on the bridge of the nose (in between the eyes) is only for those who want to attain ashtasiddhis. Keep your sight on the tip of your nose, like Siva, Buddha and others. Picturise the form in your mind on which you want to meditate. By this you concentrate on the form for at least fifteen minutes. Or else meditate on OM with the feeling of God. While doing Japa, you should keep remembering the form now and then. Contemplation on God helps you at the time of death. Meditation helps in sakshatkara. Vaasanas are very strong. As the body has experienced all worldly desires, one should put sincere efforts to forget them. You might ask for a way to achieve it. When floodwater flows over potholes filled with dirty water, it washes away the dirty water and leaves fresh water in the pothole. If the flow of the water is slow, the replacement does not take place. Similarly, the deluge of 'constant contemplation' washes away the dirty water, Vaasanas, and purifies the mind. Among the ashramas in a human life span, why is Vanprasthashram introduced between Grihasthashram and Sanyasashram? It is essentially to wipe clean the Vaasanas of Grihasthashram. It is to overcome your senses even when you are in the world. If you keep milk in an earthen pot in which curds had been kept, in spite of thorough cleaning, the milk curdles. Suppose the pot is cleansed and kept empty for some time, then it can hold the milk without curdling it.

KANNAMMA: Swami, can a deserving one go to Sanyasashram directly from Grihasthashram?

SWAMI: How is it possible? In a train, people will be traveling by first, second and third classes. Can the people in first class jump stations because they don't want them? Similarly, everyone has to cross every station and cannot skip the intermediate stations. Everybody has to go through all the ashramas in the same order. Do not think of mental or body afflictions or the past, but think only of Atma. Those who go for any course of study would know their results only after a year of hard and sincere work and examinations. Is it possible to know the results in between?

KANNAMMA: Swami, one should study well, is it not?

SWAMI: Yes. Study well. It is important to pass the courses prescribed in this college (pointing Himself) rather than passing in any other college. Even if you do not pass, at least the attendance should be there (visiting Him often). If one's conduct is not good, he will be failed.

KANNAMMA: Swami, when we are here we feel that we can do everything. Once we go back to our places, after a few days we slip and get back to our normal ways.

SWAMI: Do you know why? Your spiritual batteries get drained. I get you over here and make the Adhyatmic current flow again and recharge them. Remember that sadhunam darshanam punyam.

KANNAMMA: Swami, can't You do it on an enduring basis, i.e., see to it that the battery never gets drained once it is charged? It just goes on and on without the necessity for any recharging.

SWAMI: This phenomenon has to happen on its own. If the speed of a generator is increased, consequently the production of current also increases. If Naamasmarana is done constantly, then there is no question of either filling or draining your spiritual batteries. I will be always guiding those who are on the spiritual path. There are two types of people: yastika (person with unshakable faith in God at all times) and astika (theist; person who accepts the existence of God). Whereas yastika involves in spiritual activities such as Bhajans, sadhana, etc. since birth, astika is involved in these activities now and then. I place nastika (atheist) between yastika and astika. You may ask Me why? The nastika is so placed hoping that he may improve being with them. If he does not and instead troubles you, he has to bear your sins. You should consider everything as Brahma.

KANNAMMA: Swami, I think it is not possible.

SWAMI: Practice it.

KANNAMMA: Swami, but it is possible to see You in everything and everything as being in You.

SWAMI: Well. View like that. Do you know that if you skid, there is injury? If your tongue slips, there is hell. Therefore, be very careful when you use your tongue.

Swami called us for an interview on February 12,1967 at Puttaparthi. There were five or six persons in the group. Generally Swami would talk to each person individually in the small room close to the stairs, which lead to His room above. That day He did not follow the usual way.

SWAMI: Why should I talk to each one of you separately? None of you have any material desire. All of you desire answers or clarifications only on spiritual matters. Everybody sit down. (Swami sat on the throne. We sat around Him. Subbamma, wife of the reputed lawyer Chidambarayya, was present with us.) Look, henceforth, do not sit for interviews. I am thinking of stopping these interviews. This is because, if I talk to you in the morning, you will be happy until the evening. If I talk to you in the evening, you will be happy until the next morning. That's all. You will not be eternally happy. Therefore, you should attempt to achieve eternal happiness. You should also attempt to get My Darshan wherever you are, near or far.

KANNAMMA: Swami, however much we contemplate on You, we do not get Your Darshan.

SWAMI: When you are completely occupied with your thoughts, you will not be aware of who passed by you or what was happening around you. You would have completely given up yourself to the thoughts. Similarly, if your thoughts are about Me, you will be able to see Me with you always. If you curtail unnecessary activities, you can fix your mind more on God. To appease your hunger, it is enough to have a little rice and sambar or rasam. But for tickling your palate, you prepare vegetables, salads, papads, etc. So also in profession — if you are attached to it more than essential, your mind will be disturbed. So, you cannot concentrate. God told you to eat twice a day to sustain your body and did not tell you to eat all day long. He also told you to eat moderately and spend time contemplating on Him. But, the present generation eats all day long. How can they concentrate their minds on God? Just show Me a man who is not foolish or a woman who is not stubborn.

KANNAMMA: Swami, why have You kept them like that? You could have made everyone good.

SWAMI: What work do the noble have in this world then? I have to either merge them in Me or wear them as ornaments.

KANNAMMA: Swami, You mean to say that all of us are beyond redemption?

SWAMI: Not at all. All beings come to this world with defects. If the ornaments are good, they are worn. If they are defective, they are sent to goldsmith for repair. I am the goldsmith. You have come for repairs. After repairs, you are fit to be worn by Me. You are all getting older. So hurry up, merge your mind with God. Keep everything aside and make serious efforts.

What is lagna? It signifies merger. Your mind should become one with God. Only then, it is a merger. Do you know why I ask you to do Japa, Dhyana, Satsang and all that? If a marriage is to take place, there should be invitations, pandal, decorations, and mangalavadya. The bride is given to the bridegroom in presence of kith and kin. Why can't the bridegroom simply tie the mangalsutra and be done with it. In case the bridegroom tries to disown her later, the people who were witnesses to the function can testify and enforce her rights to his property through the courts of law. Similarly, if you act as I tell you, you get the eligibility to merge in Me sooner or later. In the court of God, when Paramatma asks, "Do you have rights to My property?", then the Rishis and yogis, as witnesses, will support your rights. That is why I insist that you should do Japa, Tapa, Dhyana, Smarana and so on daily.

From the peak of this philosophical height, Swami came down to the mundane level in a split second, smiled at us and asked, "Subbamma, has your husband ever taught you these things before?" She said, "No." He said, "That is why I am telling you." He then materialised vibhuti, gave it to all of us and stood up signifying the end of the interview. All of us prostrated to Him and left with heavy hearts.

Swami called us for a few more interviews till 1970. But, the interviews were in big groups. Not much time was available for spiritual discussions.

Blind are they who lack faith in God, for man sees the divine with the eyes of faith. -Sri Sathya Sai Baba

One little story

When Swami intercepts the speeding current of His discourse with three Telugu words, Oka Chinna Katha, meaning one little story, all ears are alert, all hearts are on the tip-toe. For the story that follows is a flash, which illumines, a shower that cools, a joke that tickles, a 'tablet' that alleviates.... The Chinna Katha, if only we ponder over its relevance, is an effective instrument in Bhagawan’s educational process. He lets a few fly into our hearts and nestle there until we fondle and foster them and make them part of our thought and behaviour patterns.

A few such stories, which Swami told, are narrated below.


Once we went to Puttaparthi and stayed there for a few days. Everyday there was a divine discourse by Swami. One day people had come and occupied their seats in the Mandir by 3 p.m. itself. They were sitting in silence. There was still an hour left for the discourse to begin. Swami would often come and stand on the first floor right above the Puja altar of the Mandir. On that day too He came and stood there. He saw that even though the Mandir was full, there was complete silence. Swami said, "What a wonder! Is it possible for so many people to sit silently? Especially women! I am very happy." So saying, He went inside.

In the evening, during the divine discourse, Swami told about the importance of being present in a congregation of Sadhus. If the people in the olden days had the opportunity of listening to the divine discourses and Sambashan with God, they would not have gone to the forests to do penance at all.

In those days even eminent Rishis would invite other great Rishis to give divine discourses. Maharishi Vasishta once had an opportunity of such a Satsang for one and a half galige (galige: span of twenty four minutes) by being in Brahmaloka for a moment. You are getting the benefits of such Satsang here for four hours every day (Bhajan, Darshan, upanyasa, and so on). Your Punya is, therefore, immeasurable. But, do not feel proud about it.

Once brahmarishi Vasishta and Rajarishi Vishwamitra invited some eminent sages to give spiritual discourses. In that great gathering of Rishis, Vishwamitra gifted the punyaphala obtained by his dvadasha vrata to Vasishta. In return, Vasishta offered to gift away a quarter of the punyaphala obtained in Brahmaloka. Vishwamitra felt slighted thinking that for his gift of the merits of twelve months' penance, Vasishta had given him only a negligible measure of his punyaphala. With that idea, he rejected Vasishta’s offer. Vasishta tried hard to convince Vishwamitra of the greatness of the punyaphala. Finally, he turned to the Rishis and asked them to convince Vishwamitra. They replied, "You are greater than all of us. We cannot advice you. It is better if you can get a person greater than you to arbitrate." Sage Vasishta told Vishwamitra to bring Surya, Vayu, Agastya and Adisesha for arbitration. During Girijakalyana, when the entire entourage of Shiva congregated on the northern side of Himalaya, the southern part rose. The Devas then made Maharishi Agastya sit on the raised portion to counter the imbalance. Such was his Mahima. Sage Vishwamitra left to get them. When he requested Surya to come, Surya said, "I cannot leave my place and come with you. If I do, the entire world will be in darkness. If you can take my place for sometime, I can go and give my opinion." Vishwamitra could not comply with the condition and returned. Vayu, Agastya and Adisesha also put similar conditions and he returned alone.

Then, Vasishta proceeded to get them. He divided the one and a half galige punyaphala into four equal parts. With the strength of these, he substituted Surya by his sphatika Japa Mala; his yogadanda took the place of Adisesha; his Chamara took the place of Vayu and his kamandala replaced Agastya. All the four of them accompanied Vasistha. Seeing them coming, Vishwamitra was highly surprised. He said, "Brahmarishi, enough. Seeing them come with you has made me realize your greatness. There is no need for arbitration," and prostrated before Vasishta. He prayed Vasishta to bless him by giving the quarter of the punyaphala. Vasistha said, "Where is the punyaphala? It was only by using that punyaphala, I was able to bring the four of them here." Vishwamitra realized his mistake and regretted.

With the Punya of one and a half galige, Vasishta could do so much. Here, you have the opportunity to sit with Me in Bhajan and listen to discourses for hours. Is it possible to measure the punyaphala you are accumulating? Do you now realise how much importance the gathering of holy men has? You are enjoying this only due to punyaphala of many births.



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