|Date: 23 November 2000||Occasion: 75th Birthday||Place: Prashanthi Nilayam|
75th Year of the Advent of the Avatar
Divine Discourse by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
23 November 2000
[The above divine discourse was delivered by Bhagavan at the Hillview Stadium on 23 November 2000. From booklet published by Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust.]
LOVE AND CHARACTER - THE WAY TO GOD
Embodiments of Love!
That man who fully realises that the Atmic principle in him is the same as that in all others is the one who understands Divinity, irrespective of his state in society (a student, a house-holder or a renunciant). In such a person, Divinity is firmly established. He becomes the very Divinity itself.
It is not humanly possible to comprehend the whole of Divinity. There are many who analyse and investigate into the nature of Divinity. Those who perceive it are truly the fortunate ones.
A millionaire can only eat food and not live on gold. This is a democratic principle for the entire humanity. God is in everybody. Divinity pervades everything, good or bad, the righteous or the unrighteous, the pious or the impious, all equally. To investigate this mystery in the ancient times, many holy sages had spent their entire energies. The Vedas says, for instance, the Vedic Mantra, "Vedaham Etam Purusham Mahantam Aditya Varnam Thamasah Parasthaat. Naanya Panthah Vidyate Ayanaya (I perceive this form of the Cosmic Being beyond darkness. There is no other path to immortality)". In modern times, scholars investigate into the nature of Divinity according to their own perceptions and propound manifold theories. Creation proceeds in three different ways: Firstly creation, then sustenance, and finally destruction or dissolution. All creation is subject to these processes.
None can deny the truth of this, not even established scientists can deny this. This is constantly perceived in our existence. That which is born is sustained and is eventually destroyed. This is evident to direct perception.
When you enquire into these three aspects of existence, the presence of Divinity becomes revealed. In daily life also, this Divinity is experienced. For example, you have seen the dancing lions from Malaysia. However, these are not real lions but from them you can surmise that there exist real creatures called lions. In a similar manner, almost every object of daily life points toward Divinity. The sweetness in the sugarcane or the hot taste of chilies, the sour taste in tamarind and the bitter taste of Neem, all these are indicators for understanding Divinity. The starts of the sky, the brightness of the sun, the coolness of the moon and the waves on the sea are also pointers to the Divine principle. Though all these do not directly show you God per se, they constitute positive evidence to the existence of the divine principle. In society, there are different functionaries, like a minister for education, a collector for revenue and the police for law and order, etc., and above all of them is the Prime Minister. In the same way, in creation, there is Brahma for creation, Vishnu for protection and Siva for dissolution. But, for all these functions, the supreme head is Divinity itself. The Muslims call this principle, ALLAH. Every religious denomination has its own name for its perception of Divinity. But Bharatiyas or Westerners, all of us have a common term in English, GOD:
Thus in this word God, all these three aspects, namely, creation, sustenance and dissolution are implied. Taking such evidence, people have been propagating the principle of divinity amongst themselves. Stated or unstated, Truth is truth (Sathya). God exists. Where is He? He is omnipresent. He is in all forms. The Divinity present in humanity is self evident to everybody.G stands for Generation i.e. creation,
O for Organisation i.e. sustenance, and
D for Dissolution.
Embodiments of Love!
Any task undertaken with self-confidence ensures success. Therefore, self-confidence is absolutely essential for every person. If you expect others to respect and love you, you should respect and love them equally. Without respecting or loving others, you cannot expect any reciprocal feeling from others. In the same way, if you love God, God loves you. Life consists of reaction, resound and reflection. You exactly get back what you do to others.
What can I tell you for the day? Whenever I see you, My heart overflows with love. When I visibly see so many of you exhibiting your love for Me, there is no limit to My joy. I have not sent out invitations to any of you. The love in Me has drawn you here. Your love to God and God's love to you is the true message. What one say as a message? I give and you receive and you give and I receive. This exchange is the true bondage between man and God. You should all be comfortable and happy. Increase your spiritual dimensions. Live with the firm conviction that there is a single divinity resident in all. Why does a government set up law enforcing agencies like police and the defense services. It is solely for the sake of protecting the country. The police punish the guilty. If there is no law-breaker, there is no need for police at all. In the same manner, God has sent into the world some entities who will punish the wicked and reward the righteous. We are prone to protest against such effects. This is very wrong. Distance your self from evil, accumulate all goodness around you. Ensure that there is no trace of evil within you. Then you need fear no punishment. The very persons intended for punishing come and protect.
Swami has said that man is the very embodiment of Atma. He has also told you that Atma is imperishable. From such an eternal entity, only permanent consequences arise. Creation, sustenance and dissolution are all ordained by God. He manifests from all the elements. With this firm conviction in you, wherever you go, to whatever country you travel, you will attain success. Spiritual percept insists, "Have faith in yourself." That is, first of all, know yourself. Everybody asks the question, "Who are you?" There is none to ask, "Who I am." When the question, "Who you are?" is asked, a reply that you are so and so or you are from such and such a place or you are doing such and such job is not the proper answer. " I am the Atma" is the only right answer. Body and the mind are impermanent. To imagine that you are these is a serious mistake. Abandon the feeling that you are the body and the mind and recognise the Atma, which alone gives the power for both body and mind to function. Everyone is a manifestation of Atma. This manifestation has expanded all over. This all-pervading Atmic principle is the Cosmic principle. You should attempt to recognise this Cosmic Power.
You may feel that this is very difficult, but it is extremely simple. Your body attachment is what makes it appear difficult. "Sarva Bhuta Namaskaram Kesavam Prathigachchathi (salutations to all elements ultimately reach God (Kesava)." In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, "Mamaivamsho Jeevaloke Jeevabhutah Sanathanah (in the entire world, all beings are eternal sparks of the Divine)".
In a hall of mirrors, a bird enters. Looking at the many reflections, it imagines that there are a multitude of birds and imagining that they are its competitors, it keeps dashing itself against the mirrors until the mirrors are broken into little bits. Now, there are as many birds as there are bits of mirrors. When the mirrors are all shattered to tiny bits, no image is visible and the bird flies away. This is a state of ignorance. On the contrary, when a man of wisdom enters the room, he recognises that these are all images of himself and feels happy. In the same manner, the one who sees himself in all other persons and looks on them as his own images is a true human being. The manifest principle that is visible in the external principle that is visible in the external world is the same inside the individual. Name and form and abilities can be cognised as separate but they are mere reflections. The truth is that you and I are one. Divinity is right inside you and is not separate and specially located in Temple or Mosque or any other place of worship. What is inside you is what you see inside a mosque or temple. All Sadhana (spiritual exercise) is undertaken only to recognise this truth. Every man is born and he dies. In between he lives. The individual grows and declines but humanness neither expands nor contracts. The body may expand but humanness neither expands or contracts. A child is born becomes a man and a grandfather. Descriptions are different, but the individual is the same. In the same manner, names and forms change but the individual is the same. Ekam Sath Viprah Bahudha Vadanti (there is but one truth but scholars say it as many). Realising this truth, you should respect and love all and spread joy to all. Then you become God yourself. Once you recognise the fact that the Divinity in all is the same, there will be no sense of duality. You may think that it is very difficult but it may think that it is very difficult but it is extremely simple. Inability to recognise is faulty vision and not fault of creation. Without correcting your faulty vision, you blame the creation. There are no flaws in creation. Everything is unity, the duality is in your perception.
With self-confidence, any task can be performed successfully. Swami will explain this to you. Abraham Lincoln was born in an extremely poor family in America. His father was a carpenter. His mother used to mend dresses and find the necessary wherewithal to educate Lincoln. He was subjected to much teasing by well-to-do children in the school for his dress and manners. Once, the boy Lincoln went and wept before his mother and said, "Mother, I am put to a lot of shame in front of my fellow students. Please get me a good dress." Taking him close, his mother said, "Son, you must see our condition first. We are not very well-to-do. Feeding all of us itself is a problem. In this condition, how can you expect fancy clothes? Act according to your condition. Sooner or later, you will reach the levels of your deservedness. Don't be deterred by other people's taunts. Live with self-confidence. Self-confidence is the source of all success." Thus, she encouraged him. From that moment, Lincoln became a person of great self-confidence and proceeded with studies and activities with honest effort. He was never upset over anything. Self-confidence was his armour. Devoid of material wealth and conveniences, he was endowed with plenty of self-confidence. His mother passed away after some time. In spite of her death, her words of wisdom were firmly entrenched in him. His father married again. It is quite common amongst Westerners. She was also quite affectionate toward Abraham and encouraged him to persevere in the path showed by his mother. Lincoln graduated afterwards. Life was difficult for him throughout. He was not suited for continuing his father's occupation. He looked for a job. However, soon he thought that self-reliance was better than serving in some firm or the other and started a business of his own. He conducted his business in the most upright manner possible. His associates cheated him. There are people who cannot bear to see the prosperity of others. This is a fact of life from ancient times. Lincoln carried on with the strength of his mother's advice regardless of all difficulties. He had a severe setback in his business. He sold out all his belongings and cleared all his debts.
Lincoln strictly lived in this fashion. Seeing his upright character, some of his friends felt that he could very easily become a member of Congress They advised him to stand for election and promised their help. Lincoln stood for election and won with a thumping majority. In a short while, he rose to become the President of the United States. At the moment of his success, he recollected his mother's words. He fully realised the importance of self-confidence. The blacks were treated in a very harsh manner by the whites in those days. The blacks approached Lincoln and told him that should ameliorate their condition and try to get equal rights with the whites for them. Lincoln was of the firm conviction that all humanity was equal, and any differentiation was the basis of colour or race was improper and he promised them that he would do his best for them and eventually he succeeded in the abolition of slavery in the United States. The blacks of America held Abraham Lincoln in very high esteem.
There is no disease like being a debtor,
There is no charity greater than feeding the hungry,
There is no greater gods than parents,
There is no greater dharma than compassion,
There is no greater gain than the company of the good,
There is no enemy greater than anger,
There is no wealth greater than good fame,
Ill-fame is very death itself,
There is no ornament better than the chanting of God's names.
In the world, there is a constant strife between good and evil. There were many who were jealous and subjected him to slander. You should attach no importance to such falsity. Praise and abuse are common to mankind. In Bharat (India) also, several famous people have suffered similar difficulties but have overcome these with success. If we live in truth and love, we will not be subjected to any harm. The body is bound to fall sometime or the other. Merely to save it one should not take to bad ways. The body is perishable while truth is eternal. Hence, strive for truth. There is nothing greater than truth.
There are some whose desires are not fulfilled, turn away and get into bad ways opposed to the principles of Swami. The defect is theirs, not Bhagavan's. There are four kinds of people who cavil at God. The first type is the atheist, one who professes that there is no God at all. The second, those who speak against God out of jealousy toward others who are better-off than themselves. The third type, those who are disillusioned when their desires are not fulfilled. The fourth, those who lament at the high reputation and fame of others which they are unable to achieve themselves.
Creation emerged from Truth and it merges into Truth,
Is there a place where Truth does not exist?
This alone is absolute Truth.
There are others who resort to improper and mean ways to attain their ends. They ask, "Swami, I am starting a school or a society and I need so much money." I tell them the truth, "Son, this is a different country and yours is a different territory. The currency of this country is of no value in your country. If you have receive this money, we will have to resort to illegal methods and cheat the Government. I shall never accept such a practice. Don't associate Bhagavan with it." Under such circumstances, they go back to their place and make all kinds of false assertions against Bhagavan.
Whatever others may proclaim, Bhagavan's Truth is sacred and unfaltering. Do not pay any attention to praise or slander. For your conscience is your own. Divinity is based on faith. Faith is not something that is bestowed. Everyone's faith is his own. All Bharatiyas (Indians) believe that there is Divinity.
Each individual's conscience is his own witness. Do not waste your energies on negative criticism. You should never abandon your faith, your self-confidence and your Atma. Some people become jealous at the steady growth of prosperity of others. Jealousy is a demon. In a tree flush with leaves, fruits and flowers, if a pest enters the root, the entire tree dies quickly. The pest is not visible to the eye and works insidiously. This is no fault of the tree. A jealous person conceals his jealousy within his heart and transmit it to others secretly. These are evil ways. However, in Bhagavan's view, there are no evil persons. All evil behaviour changes sooner or later. Bhagavan's truth is one. All belong to Bhagavan's fold and Bhagavan belongs to them. Bhagavan's only wealth is LOVE. "I embrace all with this equal love. Even people who come to Me with hatred in their hearts are dear to Me", says Bhagavan. Bhagavan does not discriminate between the wrong-doers and the blemishes. Bhagavan stands in His own Truth. All should take note of this equanimity of Bhagavan and appreciate His attitude of unity. From unity follows purity and from purity, Divinity is attained. If you have to attain Divinity, you have to cultivate purity and for purity all should be mixing with each other in harmony. Only then the goal is attained.
There are a few who say that God does not exist.
For those who refuse to believe, there is no God.
For those with faith, there is God.
As far as Bhagavan is concerned, it is all Yes, yes, yes.
Embodiments of Love!
Today marks the 75th year of the Advent of this body. Age does not concern Bhagavan. Welfare of humanity is the only concern. The welfare of the distressed and the poor is Bhagavan's only concern. Bhagavan's primary concern is the redressed of the difficulties of the helpless. Irrespective of nay comments, adverse or otherwise, Bhagavan's resolve is the same. You should also make a resolution on the same lines.
Having grasped what ought to be grasped,
Do not let go of the grip till you succeed.
Having desired what ought to be desired,
Hold on till your desire is fulfilled.
Having asked what ought to be asked,
Hold on till you obtain what you had asked for.
Hold on till you succeed.
Either Bhagavan should yield out of sheer exhaustion
Or you should ask whole-heartedly with intensity.
This is the path a true devotee should pursue.
If you adhere to these tenets, you will overcome with ease any obstacle that may come your way.
Hold on to your self-confidence and self-respect and be ready for any self-sacrifice. As Bhagavan has already reiterated, the Atma in everyone is the same. Therefore, do not be swayed by such considerations as somebody being small and somebody being great, etc. Self-confidence is the same in each individual and does not change with age. Quantity may vary between individuals, but quality is the same.
Embodiments of Love!
If the people of Bharat are to progress in the proper direction, there should be unity of thought amongst all. Our great leaders after many heavy sacrifices have obtained freedom for us. While we have attained independence, we have not achieved unity. What is the use of freedom without unity? We are reduced to the present sorry state of affairs. There is hatred everywhere. There are ten factions inside on party. People in one house go four different ways. If this kind of disunity persists, how can there be any genuine freedom? This is not the path we have to take. We have to recognise the unity in all. Every Bharatiya must be able to say proudly,
"This is my county, this is my beloved mother tongue and religion."
You must be able to uphold the respect and traditions of your family.
People have lost their eyes of faith and have become blind to values. Do not depend on others' help. You should depend on the faith in your self. Faith in yourself, faith in God, this is the secret of greatness. Having self-confidence is really having faith in God. Because you are yourself the abode of Divinity. God does not have separate form. 'I' is the Atma itself is God. You must have this kind of faith in unity. Unity amongst diverse people alone will protect the country.
The sanctity of the Bharatiya (Indian) soil is not to be found anywhere else on the globe. This is why there has been such a large number of Divine manifestations (Avatars) here. Bharat is like a mother of all other nations. Rama said, "Janani Janma Bhumishcha Swargadapi (motherland like a mother is greater than even paradise itself)." You must recognise this truth. There are may who chant the Rama Nama, but is there anyone who actually practices the virtues represented by Rama? Everyone is hero in chanting but zero in practice. The Vedas have given four Mahavakyas:
Tattwam Asi (That thou art),
Prajnanam Brahma (constant integrated awareness is Brahman),
Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman), and
Ayam Atma Brahma (this Atma is Brahman).
You might pun on these words, "Ayam Atma Brahma" as "I am Atma and Brahma". You are constantly chanting these words, but are not putting them into practice. Mere chanting without action is pure exhibitionism. While saying "all are Brahman", you hate somebody. This is a real hypocrisy. If you have aversion to any individual, quietly keep away from him but don't display hatred. This is the course to be adopted by you. Bhagavan loves everybody. He has no dislike towards anybody. All are His devotees, friends and children. In Bhagavan's eyes, they are all one. This universe is a big book. Antharatma is your Guru. God is your friend. Time is also the very form of God. Therefore, do not waste time. Time wasted is life wasted. To make your time pure is true sadhana (spiritual practice).
Embodiments of Love!
The love in you and the love in Bhagavan are one and the same.. But your love is contaminated by desires for material things. Bhagavan has no desire for any material wealth. Bhagavan's love is the purest. The love immanent in all turns negative because of the contamination of desires. There is no negative quality in Bhagavan, it is entirely positive. The positive without the negative or the negative without the positive are both of little value. So, combine the negative "I" in you with the positive of Bhagavan and attain unity. With this understanding, you will be able to experience indescribable bliss. What sort of bliss? That is Brahmananda. When you experience this Brahmananda, you become one with Brahman. In this state, there is no need for any sadhana (spiritual exercise) on your part. All the sadhanas that you do are a mere indulgence to your mind. Consider all as one and love all. That is the true sadhana. "Ek Prabhu Ke Anek Naam (God has many names but He is One)". While performing the Sahasranama Archana, you repeat the various names, Keshava, Madhava, Narayana, Govinda, but is it to the same form that you make your offerings. For instance, while making the Anga Puja, you place the flower on your eye and then offer the flower to the deity in front with the formula Nethra Pushpam Samarpayami. Symbolically, you are offering a flower in place of the eye itself. You say eye, but offer a flower. This looks like cheating God Himself. What is the point of offering to God what has been provided by God Himself? "O God, everything is yours, this whole body is yours, all the limbs and organs are yours. I am yours and you are Mine." When this kind of identity is established, there is no further need for any external form of worship. For those who have not yet reached this exalted position, these various physical forms of sadhana such as japa, thapa and dhyana are suitable. All these require constant practice. Particularly avoidance of bad habits and the cultivation of good habits is the way to ahbyasa (practice).
If any body abuses you, take no note, for the abuser is abusing only the body and not your Self. If somebody calls you a bad man, do you become a bad man by mere calling? If in fact, you have something bad in you, try to destroy it. There are a large number of people in this Kali Yuga who abuse God because their wishes are not fulfilled. This is a universal habit common to all countries. You should not succumb to such mean and unholy feelings. Thyagaraja, for example says, that God will manifest to you only to the extent and manner in which you approach God. Whichever way one conceives the Godhead, God appears to him in the same form. If your emotions are good, you get corresponding results.
Embodiments of Love!
Bhagavan has no desire to have such elaborate Birthday celebrations - not in the least. Bhagavan says, "I go through all these because it pleases My devotees. I am not particularly enamoured of anything. The happiness of the devotees is My happiness. Dedicate your life to Divine love."
Hatred, jealousy and ostentation have become widespread these days. Get rid of these and get into the principle of love. Whether your desires are fulfilled or not, think that all that happens is good for your good. When you encounter difficulties, always think that better days are ahead. Good and bad are always mixed. Therefore, take both of them with the same attitude. The Bhagavad Gita says, "Sukha Dukhau Same Kruthwa Labha Labhau Jaya Jayau .. (treat happiness and sorrow, loss and gain with complete equanimity)." Pleasure is an interval between two pains. Reduce your desire. Increase your divine love and thereby increase your pleasure. If desires increase, pain increases proportionately and pleasures too decrease proportionately.
Love is the very form of Brahman,
try to merge love in love;
If you have firm love,
you will achieve the ultimate merger of love,
which is true non-duality.
God is not to be obtained by gold or other forms of wealth. He is to be attained only through character. Sathyabhama in her pride hoped to retain Krishna all for herself by her wealth. But with a ruse, Narada made her realise her folly by showing that a single leaf of tulasi (basil) offered by Rukmini with real devotion exceeded all the wealth of Sathyabhama. Krishna says that He is pleased with the offering of a leaf, a flower, a fruit or plain water. Do not take this literally. The body is the leaf, the flower is the flower of your heart, your mind is the fruit and the tears of joy constitute the water which is the acceptable offering to God.
Embodiments of Love!
Be in love. All your desires will be fulfilled. Do not hate anybody. With love-filled heart, enjoy the bliss of love. This message is My gift to you for the day. This is the only wealth with Bhagavan. All these magnificent edifices are not Bhagavan's but they all belong to the devotees. The only property Bhagavan owns is unbounded love for all of you. Bhagavan will pour forth His boundless love to all of you for the mere asking. Why? Bhagavan is ready to sacrifice even His very body for the sake of His devotees. You live happily and spend your life in a state of bliss. Only then does Bhagavan get His share of bliss. Nothing else is required. Your good fortune is the gift of Bhagavan's love. Take good care of this precious gift and this is Bhagavan's blessings to you for the day. May all of you have a steady devotion, sacred, long and happy life. May you have all this, may you have all this, may you have all this! May all your difficulties be removed. Without exhausting your mental energies on difficulties, may you enjoy whatever happiness you may obtain unalloyed.
Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the bhajan, "Prema Mudita Manase Kaho.."