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Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Answers For   

Spiritualising Our Day-To-Day Life 

SADHANA

THE INNER DOOR

Q143) Swami! Good company is very essential for everybody. Is it as significant as it is said to be?

Bhagawan: Undoubtedly, good company is very important for every one of you. In fact, you should also seek the company of good people. You should run away from bad company. It is the company you join that, decides your life. So, it is said, "Tell me your company! I shall tell you what you are!" Dust when it is in association with the wind goes up, but the same dust in association with water sinks down. Another example for you. In ten cups of milk if you mix one cup of water, the value of water also will go up. But, on the other hand, in ten cups of water, if you pour one cup of milk, the milk will lose its value. See, this explains clearly the importance of the association or the company you keep.

You also hear in the Mahabharata about Kama, who, in spite of all his excellence in archery, intelligence, and physical prowess, because of his bad company, has come to be known as one among the `dustacatustaya', the four wicked ones. Kama lost all his name and fame, because of bad company.

Q144) Swami! What is your advice to employees, who struggle to make both ends meet and wish to follow Swami?

Bhagawan: I have advised you a great many times to keep hands in society and head in the forest. You work well with both your hands. Be very sincere in your work and serve whole-heartedly. At the same time, keep God as your aim and objective. You should keep Him in your mind at all times.

Consider a mother. She may be very busy with her household work, but she never forgets her child. She knows when her child will feel hungry and needs to be fed.

You must have watched the dance programme in our auditorium. The dancer keeps two or three pots one above the other on the head, and moves her head and limbs precisely to the rhythm and the drumbeat. To the surprise of the audience all the while the pots remain exactly one above the other on her head as they were kept just before the dance performance began. How? The answer is simple. As she dances, she constantly concentrates on the pots over her head so that the balance is never lost. Similarly, in your life you may be doing several things. Yet, you should ever remember God and keep him as your sole aim. Always look up inwardly.

Q145) Swami! You are unique in explaining both the components of our life, the spiritual and the physical. You alone can do it in this world. It is most necessary that we mix with people, and sometimes even intimately. We have to interact with one another in our daily life. How are we to speak, and what is good for us to speak? Kindly tell us about this, Swami!

Bhagawan: You think that worldly life and spiritual life are separate entities. They are not. Spirituality is awareness. It is total knowledge and not pieces or bits of information. You should always talk sweetly and softly. You can please everyone with your fine talk. See, when a crow sits on the wall repeating kav, kav we chase it away, but when a cuckoo repeats kuhu, kuhu, you too start imitating its sweet sound. Both are birds, but where does the difference lie? It is only the sound, you see! Similarly your talk makes all the difference. The crow has not harmed you in the least, nor has the cuckoo rendered any help to you. It is only the sound that pleases or displeases you. You should speak the truth, you should talk pleasingly. You cannot always oblige, but you can speak obligingly. Is it not? Your words should never hurt or harm anyone.

One day, a hunter was chasing a deer in the forest. A sage who was sitting there saw the deer running fast to escape the hunter. The hunter in his search for the deer, saw the sage and asked him if he had seen a deer passing by. In reply, the sage said, "Oh hunter! The eye that saw the deer passing cannot speak and the tongue that speaks cannot see. What can I say?" So nothing false was spoken.

You must have heard of the great king Harischandra. By just telling one lie, he could have easily got back the kingdom that he had lost. By adhering to truth, his son was brought back to life, and his family reunited. He did not utter a single lie. He stuck to truth only. So, till this day his name is remembered and it has come to stay so long as the sun, the moon and this galaxy remain. He is the very embodiment of truth. So he is called "Satya Harischandra"

mat aku pran amu satyamu - Truth is the life of speech.

kot aku pran amu sainyamu - Army is the life of a fort.

not tuku pran amu cevralu - Signature is the life of an IOU.

You should not talk too much or excessively. If you do so, society will call you a chatterbox, a loose tongued man. Ati bhasa mati hani, too much talk turns you mad. Mitabhasa ati hayi, limited talk makes you very happy as you are not likely to tell a lie, criticise, gossip, or talk vainly.

You lose your respect if you talk endlessly. You tend to lose your memory as well. You lose your energy. If you switch on a radio and keep it on high volume for a long time, many units of electricity are consumed, aren't they? So also, your energy gets consumed if you keep talking for long.

Note that it is always in the depth of silence that the voice of God is heard. If anyone greets you with a `hello,' respond with a `hello'; if anyone says `goodbye', you also reply in the same way, `goodbye'. That's all. You talk only when it is necessary and to the extent it is needed.

Q146) Swami! Is it not a help to a person if I point out his mistakes?

Bhagawan: Thinking of the mistakes of someone else, you also become defective. To face and to resist a bad man you have to become even worse than him. So, it is a sin to point out the mistakes of others. If .you point out the mistakes of others, with one finger, three fingers point towards you. As the saying goes, a street dog is always in search of slippers. A pig spends its time in gutters. You would also look like a pig if you go on looking at the faults of others. In a way, a monkey is much better than a man who finds fault with others. When a monkey finds an orange fruit, what does it do? It will take away the outer rind and then does the fruit. Will it not? This sort of separating the good from the bad is called vibhagayoga. You should give up the bad, the undesirable.

In Japan , there is a city by name Kyoto . A woman was passing through a particular street carrying with her a big bundle of clothes wrapped up in a neat pure piece of white clothe. These clothes were all dirty and were not neat. Someone asked, "What are those clothes?" She said, "I want to show you the good. I want you to see the good. Therefore, I have wrapped these dirty clothes in a white cloth". Finding faults in others, making fun of others, criticising others, are mistakes that one should not commit.

Q147) Swami! Now we understand that we are mistaken with regard to our knowledge. You have explained clearly what awareness is by saying that it is complete knowledge but not the knowledge of a bit or a piece of anything. How are we to cultivate this awareness?

Bhagawan: Spirituality is very essential for awareness. It is impossible to develop awareness by any other means. With a spiritual background, things will be very clear to you. You will then have total understanding, which is awareness. Otherwise, what you acquire is bookish knowledge, superficial knowledge, general knowledge but not practical knowledge, which is awareness. This is possible only in the spiritual path.

A small example. You sow a seed in the ground. It germinates into a plant. But do you expect the seed to germinate if it is kept in a tin? Impossible. Similarly, the plant of awareness grows in the field of spirituality and not in a tin of worldly pleasures. The awareness then developed is, in fact, true awareness.

Q148) Swami! Now it is clear that this sort of "awareness" is not available in our educational institutions, that awareness is so very important for all of us. You are the incarnation of God in the present day world. Why don't you, by your grace, grant us this boon of awareness?

Bhagawan: If everything is done by God Himself, what will be there for you to do? How will you make use of the God-given mind and intellect? Don't you realise that these divine instruments like the mind and the intellect that you are equipped with will be a waste, if God does every thing for you? The mother cooks and serves food. She cannot eat it on behalf of the child! When the child sustains any injury the mother feels sad. But she cannot bandage herself on behalf of the child!

Though you sit in front of the plate filled with potato curry and chapatti, you must also pick them up with your own hands and eat. By simply repeating "potato,chapatti" will your hunger be appeased? The hand and the mouth should be put to work. Is it not? Similarly, you should make use of your mind and intellect.

Everything will be known to you. By your effort, you will win God's grace. With krsi, effort, one can even become a rishi, a sage. Do your duty thinking at the same time of the Lord. Krishna too said the same thing to Arjuna, mamanusmara yudhya ca, "O Arjuna! Remember me and fight!" Chanting Rama's name, Hanuman could cross the mighty ocean. So do your duty and you can achieve whatever you want to.

Swami! Spiritual aspirants observe austerities like upavasa, fasting, jagarana, vigil and consider them spiritual. We request you to let us know their importance and inner significance.

Bhagawan: The traditions, rituals, and the age-old practices of Bharat have a meaning and significance. Aspirants undoubtedly get divine experiences. But today people are after external and pompous rituals without any understanding of their inner significance. So they have forgotten the very goals and purposes for which they were originally intended. Almost all the rituals have become mechanical, monotonous and routine. There is none to explain to them lucidly. Most people are not aware of the subtleties. So, you don't find anybody practicing austerities or rituals sincerely. Man need not change. It is the mind that should change.

Suppose you are traveling to a distant place and you don't have food to eat on the way: Can you consider this upavasa, fasting? Will this be of any spiritual use? A patient doesn't take normal food. Is that fasting? What do you get out of it? To feel God in you is upavasa and not mere fasting as the literal meaning goes: Upa, near, vasa, living: In other words, upavasa means living close to or near God. It means one should turn inward, feel God and constantly think of Him. This is upavasa in its true sense. Today, we notice people who fast on the ekadas'i day. But, they eat double the normal quantity of food the next day. The madhvas (followers of Madhvacharya) observe Bhisma ekadas'i on which day they fast. They don't, swallow even their saliva.

 

In the state of Karnataka, they say in Kannada, "bida bedi bittu keda bedi" which means, do not give up and spoil yourself. When you give up anything, don't pick it up again. It is a bad habit. Instead, what is happening? They get the flour ready well grinded and preserve the dough for three days, With this they make nice tasteful dosas, south Indian tiffin. So in Kannada it is said, indu adide ekadas'i ondu tindu nalavattu dosa, it means, in the name of ekadas'i, on one fasting day in a month, preparations are made for as many as forty dosas. Is this upavasa? No, definitely not.

Why should you observe vigil, jagarana? Why is jagarana, keeping awake throughout the night, observed? It means that you should keep off from your worldly happiness, sensual pleasures and material comforts. You should be unmindful of all these mundane matters, but awake or vigilant to the inner core, the atma. You should be awake in respect of the inner divinity while neglecting worldly botherations. But what is done in the name of jagarana? They play cards throughout the night or watch three movies one after the other throughout the night in the name of jagaran a . Watchmen, nurses in the hospital on duty, Railway station masters on duty don't sleep in the night. Does it amount to jagarana? Certainly not! Merely skipping sleep is an external ritual. One should know the inner reality while observing these rituals. Since they are all done mechanically, they are made fun of and they look ridiculous in the eyes of others.

Q149) Swami! Some want us to do puja, some suggest dhyana, meditation, a few prescribe parayana, reading of the scripture and some others assure us of good results from japa, repetition of God's name. I am confused about what to do and which one to follow. Kindly tell me the best among these ways to be followed in my sadhana?

Bhagawan: You can follow any of them with total prema, love, nissvardha, selflessness, chittas'uddhi, purity of your heart, ekagrata, one pointedness, and saranagati, surrender to realise and experience God.

You follow the path that suits your convenience. Any procedure that appeals to you and gives you shanti, and ananda can be followed. But never imitate. Never go by other people's words and paths. You follow your chosen path. Otherwise, you lose your own way also. Imitation is human. But creation is divine.

A small example to illustrate that one becomes a loser by following others. There was a fruit market and it was the season when mangoes were available in plenty. A shopkeeper got a board specially painted with the words "Good mango fruits are sold here" and displayed it in front of his shop to promote sales. One stranger came and said, "Sir! What is it that is written there on the board? This is a fruit market. Why should you have the word on the board `here'? It looks silly and superfluous. I suggest you erase this word `here"'. Then the shopkeeper sent word to the painter and erased that word on the board `here'.

Now on the board, the words "Good mango fruits are sold" were left. Another man came to the shop and said "What, Sir? You don't look smart and intelligent. Have you yourself cared to read what is written on the board? This is the mango season. All the shops are selling mangoes only. Why should you write `mangoes' especially, as if they are here only? Better you remove the word `mango' from the board!”

The shopkeeper got it erased with the help of the painter. Now on the board the words "Good Fruits are sold" were left. Another customer came and said, "What nonsense is this? Do you find any one selling `bad fruits'? How funny it looks when you say `good fruits', very silly! Remove those words `good fruits' from the board.

The shopkeeper was convinced and got them erased with the result that only the word `Are sold' were left on the board. A well wisher of the owner who happened to pass by looked at the board and was shocked. He said. "What? Are you mad? Did you read the board? What do you mean by `Are sold'? Are you going to sell the board or what?" The shopkeeper called for the painter and got the words `Are sold' removed. Now he was left with a blank board. Finally, the painter gave the bill with two entries, one for initially painting the letters and the other for erasing each word at intervals. What happened to the owner of the shop who paid heed to the words of everyone? He lost both the board and that money. This will happen to you too, if you adopt other people's ways.

Your Guru also prescribes a method that suits you. He never wants all and sundry to follow the same pattern. The methods of sadhana are suggested depending on your capacity, skill, understanding and the level of your spiritual awareness.

I give you here a simple illustration from the life of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Once it so happened, that one disciple by name Brahmananda was crossing the river in a boat to buy and fetch the requirements for the residents of the asram. He overheard the conversation going on among others that boarded the same boat. One said that Ramakrishna was spoiling many youngsters who were wasting their time by being lazy in the name of devotion and that it was surprising to see them with shaven heads and wearing ochre robes. Brahmananda felt very sad and shed tears. He returned to the asram that evening. Ramakrishna asked him what had happened in the boat while crossing the river. Brahmananda recounted the whole episode feeling very bad about the remarks made against Ramakrishna and his disciples. Then Ramakrishna was furious and said, "What Brahmananda! How could you hear all these remarks! Can you bear when your Guru is criticised like that? How do you react when your parents are attacked? How could you hear all this?"

Next day, it was the turn of Vivekananda to go to the market. He boarded the boat and was on his way. Vivekananda had to hear once again the boatman speaking ill of Ramakrishna for making youngsters lazy and useless. He could not control his anger. He got up immediately, held the neck of the boatman and was even ready to push him into the Ganges . Somehow, others calmed him down.

:n the evening, as usual in the course of the conversation, Ramakrishna, surrounded by his young disciples, asked Vivekananda what had happened in the boat. He proudly reported his reaction to the words of the boatman. Then Ramakrishna said, "What Naren! Are you not ashamed of your behaviour? Couldn't you control your anger? What is the use of your sadhana? Is this the way a brahmacari should behave?"

Vivekananda then asked, "Swami! It is very strange to hear you speak like this. The other day you were angry with Brahmananda for keeping quiet when we were criticised. Today when I reacted to the same words, you are blaming me. Why this difference, Swami?" Ramakrishna smiling said, "A bicycle has two tyres. There is too much air in the front wheel. A little of it should be let out. The air is less than necessary in the back wheel. Some more air must be pumped into it. So also, Brahmananda should have more spirit, while your temper must be reduced." That's how the individual level is important in the spiritual path. You shouldn't imitate and follow others blindly.

Q150) Bhagawan! In our namavali, series of names of God, we address God by so many names. We have more than a hundred names `astottara' and a thousand names ‘sahasranama. ‘Of these various names, which is the best and the exact name of God?

Bhagawan: All names and forms are His only. There is nothing in the universe, which is not His. You should consider God as the indweller of your heart hrdayavasi.  Draupadi, when she was being disrobed and humiliated, prayed to Krishna for help, calling him ` brndavanasancari '   and `mathuranatha ' which caused some delay in Krishna's manifesting to save her. To prove the truth of her prayerful words, Krishna had to go to Brindavan and Mathura and then reach the open court to save her. Had she called Krishna `Hrdayavasi ', the indweller of her heart He would have appeared immediately before her and saved her straight away from disgrace.

You sing 'Brndavanasancari ' in your bhajans. Presently I am in Kodaikanal. Are you not wrong? You sing, prasantivasa, partivihara, `one who is in Prasanti Nilayam, moves about in Puttaparti', in your bhajans. Is it right? No. I am in Kodaikanal, not in Parti or Prasanthi. But, if you say ‘Hrdayavasi' the indweller of your heart, though I may be physically anywhere, you will get immediate response from me.

Q151) Swami! The Gayatri mantra is being chanted over many ages here in this holy land. But, we hear that women are prohibited from chanting Gayatri and so are non brahmins. Should we chant that mantra at specific times and not at any time of our choice and convenience? What is the importance and significance of Gayatri mantra? We shall indeed be very fortunate to hear from your divine lips about this subject.

Bhagawan: Everyone must chant the Gayatri. It transcends the barriers of caste, community, sex, nationality, time and space. It is the one mantra that all should repeatedly chant. There are three main things in the Gayatri mantra. First of all, you should know that Bhur Bhuvah Suvah in the Gayatri are not separate worlds. You think, "Bhur Bhuvah Suvah” is three different worlds. It is a mistake to think so. They are within you. `Gayamulu ' means senses. Since Gayatri deals with sense control, it is called so. The body has senses of perception and action. This first aspect of Gayatri is called materialisation or Gayatri.

The body can function if only there is life in it. The pulsatory activity is due to life. Therefore, the life principle vibrates in the body, which makes it functional or operational. This second aspect of Gayatri, which is the life force, is called vibration or Savitri.

The third aspect of Gayatri is the primal sound Omkar, which springs upwards from the navel. Om is a combination of three sounds, `A', `U' and `M'. `A' is uttered as it starts from the navel. `U' starts from the throat. `M' comes out of the lips. `Soham ' is chanted in our breathing process though we are unaware of it. This is called `Japa Gayatri'.

As we breathe in, we make the sound `so' and as we breathe out the sound `ham’ is made. The `soham' mantra is repeated everyday 21,600 times in our respiratory process. In the mantra, `soham', the second sound in `so', i.e., `o' and the second sound in `ham', `m' together constitute `om'. This `soham' is repeatedly chanted in all the three states; waking, dream and deep sleep. The entire alphabet is formed out of the mother of letters, the primal sound ` OM '.

To illustrate this, I give you a small example. In the English alphabet, we have 26 letters from A to Z. All words and sentences are spoken and written using these letters only, aren't they? You notice that the harmonium has reeds. As you press the bellows the air gets in and as you press the reeds, you get musical notes like sa re ga ma pa dha ni. By means of these seven sounds only, different tunes or ragas are composed. Are they not? You know the violin. It has strings on which you can play any tune. So also,`omkar' is the primal, primordial sound out of which the rest of the sounds originated.

When you close both your ears tight, you will listen to the Pranava, the `Omkar' within you. You go very close to an electric pole and listen with your ear touching it. You will hear that primal sound omkar. This is the sound (internal) in silence (external). This is the divine sound heard in the depth of silence, (nis's'abdamuloni s'abdabrahmam, in Telugu). You can hear the footsteps of God only in silence. This third aspect of Gayatri that pertains to this omkar, the primordial sound, the speech faculty and the chief source is known as radiation or Saraswati.

Therefore, at the body level it is Gayatri, materialisation. As the life principle, it is Savitri, vibration, and finally as the chief source of sound, it is Saraswati, radiation. These are the three aspects of Gayatri mantra .In other words the atmic power, divine source, is radiation (Saraswati) that enters the body as vibration or life principle (Savitri), so that this body made of material becomes functional which is called materialisation (Gayatri).

Q152) Swami! How should we adore you? How should we serve you? We are not able to decide. Kindly show us the way?

Bhagawan: God does not need your service. He does, not require your worship. God desires from you only one thing and that is love. This love is not your property either. It is not your ancestral property. This love is not gifted to you by anyone. It is not a commodity to be manufactured by any company. It is not to be acquired from a guru. You are born with love. It is the gift of God. Therefore, it must be given to Him. It is His and so you should return it to Him by loving Him incessantly.

Take a small example. On occasions like a wedding ceremony, many people are invited. So, in order to prepare food on a large scale you need very big utensils. You hire them for a day or two and return them after use. But they should be returned safe, cleaned and in perfect condition without any damage. Is it not so? Similarly, the human heart is a vessel filled with love, gifted by God, and has got to be returned intact to Him. This is the true form of worship.

How to love God? The best way to love God is to love all and serve all. When everything is His, and He being the giver of all that you need, what is it that He wants from you other than love? A pure heart is the temple of God . Then, where is it? I always tell the students that there should be perfect harmony between thought, word, and deed. Today, we find selfishness at all levels. In whatever is said and done, there is an underlying selfishness. But true worship is a selfless act of service with love. Do your duty sincerely. Service to man is service to God. You don't need to worship God with flowers that fade and decay. Pluck the flowers of virtue, character, and love from the garden of your heart and worship God with flowers of value.

Q153) Swami! Kindly let us know how we can achieve anandaprapti, gaining permanent happiness, and removal of suffering dukhanivrtti.

Bhagawan: These two levels of consciousness are not separate from each other, as you have stated. When suffering is removed, you derive happiness. Absence of happiness is the cause of misery. Both are interrelated. Absence of light is darkness: Where there is light there is no darkness. Absence of one of the two is the presence of the other. So, if you explore the methods of removing suffering, happiness naturally and automatically dawns.

If you investigate the reason for misery, you will know that ignorance is the cause of all misery. What is responsible for ignorance? It is the ego. What is ego? It is attachment. What is attachment? It is the body, consciousness. So, misery occurs due to attachment to the body. But, one can be happy physically as well as spiritually if one's senses are under one's control. In fact, sadness is not natural to man. Therefore, methods have to be found out to remove sadness, which is artificial. Misery can be removed only by prayer and by following the spiritual path. If idle horses are overfed, they will be still lazier. Similarly, if you act according to the whims and fancies of your senses, your senses will get strengthened day by day and ultimately you will cease to be a human being.

Man faces three types of miseries - adhyatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika. Adhyatmika miseries are physical and mental. Physical suffering makes you mentally sick. Your mental irregularities add to your physical sickness. Therefore, physical and mental sufferings are branded as adhyatmika. The second one is the suffering called adhibhautika, which is caused due to snakebite or a scorpion bite or injuries inflicted by animals and other creatures. The third type of misery called, adhidaivika befalls due to cyclones, floods, earthquakes, fire accidents and various other natural calamities.

Primarily you should know that the mind is the cause of both pleasure and pain. If your mind is positive, it doesn't matter if you are either at your home or in a forest. You should fill your mind with love. With constant thought of God, developing more and more of faith in Him, and following the spiritual path, you can undoubtedly remove your suffering. Of course, control of senses is absolutely necessary.

If you understand your true self, atma you will have ananda, bliss. Bliss is the state, which is above pain and pleasure bliss is non-dual. This is also called prajña. Since prajna is vast, the scripture says, Prajnanam Brahma. Prajna is divine. Prajna is uniformly present in the body, the mind and the intellect. Prajna is also known as antarvani, the inner voice. By exercising control over external and internal sense, you can listen to your antarvani. If you follow and act according to your inner voice, you will be blissful.

Janma or birth is responsible for all misery. Where there is no janma there is no chance for either pleasure or pain. However, janma is due to karma, the consequence of past actions. For karma, the causes are raga, attachment and dvesa, hatred. You take to an activity only if or when you like it, or prefer it to some other activity, otherwise not. Isn't it? So all actions are born of either of these two states of mind, raga and dvesa. They in turn arise out of ahamkara, ego and ajnana, ignorance. Ajnana is the main cause of misery. Ignorance goes away only if ego is given up. For ego to be dropped one must rise above attachment and hatred. For these two to vanish there should be akarma, inaction, because these actions and their consequences lead to punarjanma. As the Bhajagovindam of Adi Sankara states: Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam punarapi janani jathare s'ayanam, "one takes birth life after life, lying in the womb of the mother, again and again after death." Birth and death are responsible for all the misery. In fact, one should follow the spiritual path in life not to be born again. Instead of consuming sugar, you can become sugar itself! This is the sugar of ananda, bliss. This is the sugar of liberation. This is the sugar of sayujya, merger with God. Therefore, mukti, liberation, is the only solution for the alleviation of suffering.

The happiness that you get from listening to a person whom you like or on acquiring an article that you wished to acquire is described as priyam. When you actually get what you really want, that is called modam, joy The experience of joy after acquiring what you want is called pramodam, supreme joy. If anybody starts talking to you about all that you like, you will be happy. So it is called priyam. If you see or meet those who are dear to you, you will be extremely happy. This is called modam. On receiving and possessing what is dearest to you, your experience is described as pramodam.

When you hear of the divine power from great epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and of the lilas of God incarnate and devotion celebrated in Bhagavata, and other texts, you will be very happy. This is priyam. If you practice all that you have heard from these immortal books, you will derive a kind of joy described as modam. If you identify yourself with the divinity and merge in it, the supreme bliss you get out of it is called pramodam.

So one has to hear about God, priyam in the first stage, practice all that is heard, modam in the second stage and finally experience the bliss thereafter, pramodam in the third stage. This is anandaprapti, the way to be blissful.

Q154) Swami! What is to be renounced? What is to be sacrificed?

Bhagawan: You do not need to renounce the world. Many people commit a mistake here. You do not have to sacrifice the world. You have to give up worldly thoughts and feelings. You must have heard of Ramananda Tirtha, a renunciant. He was married, and also had a son. He renounced his family. One day when his wife visited him, he refused to see her and turned his head away. Watching this, the wife said to him. "Swami! Since you have the feeling that I am your wife, you did not look at me and turned away your face. I do not have that feeling, not in the least". It was then she gave him the ochre robes. So, you need not renounce the world. You need to shed worldly thoughts. You do not have to sacrifice your properties, but you must establish proper-ties with God.

Q155) Swami! What is true happiness? How are we to acquire it?

Bhagawan: You should, first of all, know what happiness truly is! I want you to be blissful and not simply happy. Happiness, as you understand it, is not truly happiness. In fact, true happiness lies in union with God. This you can develop by establishing contact with the Divinity within you. In other words, being aware of the Divinity within you, you can also make yourself happy in the world. Happiness lies in liking what you should do and not doing what you like.

Q156) Swami! We meet some people who are not happy, as if they are denied happiness once for all. Why should it happen like that?

Bhagawan: For all this, understand that the mind is the main cause. If you turn your mind God wards, you will be happy. If you turn it towards the world, you cannot be happy for long. See, here you turn the fan towards you. Then you get the breeze. If you turn it the opposite way, you won't get any breeze. Your getting or not getting the breeze depends upon the direction in which you turn the fan.

Q157) Swami! You want us to look for unity in diversity. You expect us to be aware of unity in diversity. How is it possible?

Bhagawan: It is certainly possible. Everything in this world has five aspects. Among them, three are changeless while the other two change. The three are asti , being, bhati, awareness, priyam, bliss and are immortal. They may also be termed as sat, cit and ananda. Then there are two more aspects that change. They are rupa, form and nama, name. Name and form depend on the three changeless and permanent aspects mentioned above, viz., truth, awareness and bliss, sat, cit, ananda. For example: you observe the sea, its waves and its foam. They are interdependent; one cannot exist without the other. Waves come out of the sea. Waves are not independent. We find foam collecting on the surface of the waves. When there are no waves, there can be no chance for the foam to collect on the surface. However, apparently, we have three forms in different names sea, wave, and foam. But essentially, all the three show the same water by different names. Don't they?

The sea represents paramarthika satya, Spiritual Truth; the waves stand for pratibhasika satya, superimposed or mistaken identity, while the foam is the vyavaharika satya, worldly or physical truth.

Q158) Swami! Is sadhana a must in every day life? Is it compulsory?

Bhagawan: Yes, it is very necessary that you should do it everyday. Don't you wash and scrub utensils everyday to keep them clean? Until you become steady, develop unwavering faith and total surrender. It is most necessary to do sadhana everyday.

You see that the paddy fields are watered everyday. Otherwise, the crops dry up and die. But tall trees like Eucalyptus, Banyan, Neem and so on, do not need to be watered everyday. Why? The reason is simple. Their roots go very deep, up to the ground water level; and draw nourishment for the entire tree. It appears surprising that small tender plants need water everyday while huge trees do not. Roots of small plants go a few inches deep and cannot draw water, from the depths. But trees have roots that spread and go deep to draw, ground water. Similarly, until the roots of your faith go deep into the ground of your heart, you have to do sadhana everyday. Your faith today is like the root of a small plant that has not yet gone deep into your heart and so you should do sadhana everyday.

Q159) Swami! Much emphasis is laid on sadhana, spiritual practice. But we find it tough to do any sadhana. What is the solution?

Bhagawan: For achieving or attaining anything in life one needs to do sadhana or practice. Walking, talking, reading, eating, writing, everything in life you learn by practice. How does a child walk? It is clearly by practice only. Singers practice a lot! Driving a motorcar for that matter has to be practised. You have the steering at one place, the brake at one point, the clutch elsewhere and so on. Yet, you will be able to drive a car by practice only. So also, sadhana in the spiritual field.

Swami! What is the role of a Guru on the spiritual path?

Bhagawan: One should have total faith in the Guru. Suppose you wish to go to a city on a picnic. You do not know anything about that city, as you have never been there before. What you do is to take the help of a guide to go round the city. You do not question the guide at any point since you are totally new to the place. So also, a Guru who has vast knowledge and experience has to be scrupulously followed. He should not be questioned, doubted, or disobeyed on any grounds.

You also find signboards at cross roads indicating directions to different places. This is your common experience. To reach the place of your choice, you must follow the directions in the signboard and reach the destination. You don't expect the signboard to carry you or lift you to that place. You have to go along the way as directed in the signboard. A Guru similarly shows the spiritual path, teaches you the techniques to be followed, and explains in detail all that you need on the spiritual path. You have to work for it and achieve it all by yourself. No one can do that on your behalf.

`Guru', is a two-letter word in Telugu - `Gu' and `ru'. The word has two meanings. `Gu' is darkness (ignorance), `ru' is the light (wisdom) that dispels this darkness. The second meaning is `gu' stands for gunatita, one beyond attributes and `ru' for rupavarjita formless. So, Guru is one who teaches you about divinity which is both attributeless and formless. A true Guru wishes the best for his disciples. He tells them what is hita, good and not ista, that which is liked. A true disciple follows the master implicitly.

Q160)  Swami! We feel that results are delayed in Sadhana: We do not get quick results, at least according to our expectations. What do you say, Swami?

Bhagawan: You do not have proper, understanding of Sadhana. See, in this world, you begin your studies from childhood. After the primary school, you go to the secondary school, college and then to the university. After fifteen years of intense study and hard work you get a degree. This is your experience. How much have you worked to get a degree? Have you not taken a long time to get a degree? For this education and a degree, and to earn your livelihood you strive so much. Then how long should you take, how much of effort should you put in to earn God's grace which is the eternal spiritual truth? Just think for yourself. It is a big mistake to expect quick results in Sadhana  

Source: SATYOPANISAD VOL - II [Part III, Chapter-VII] by Anil Kumar Kamaraja

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