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Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Answers For   

Spiritualising Our Day-To-Day Life 

Trends in Society

Q27) Swami! Man is not behaving in the way expected of him. He is losing his very human nature. How should he transform himself at this juncture? How about society, if he remains like this, Swami?

Bhagawan: You do not know that you are using certain words without knowing their meaning. If you understand the words that you utter, you will notice that they are self-explanatory and convey their meaning in unambiguous terms. What is the meaning of this word manava, man? ‘Ma’ means maya or illusion, `na', `dati ' (Telugu), `va', vartincu (Telugu). In other words, ` manava ' means `the one who crosses maya and conducts himself accordingly' and definitely not one who is enslaved by maya. It can also be interpreted in another way. The word `manava’ means, `ma ', not, `nava', new. Thus `manava ' means `not new'. Man had many births earlier and the present one is not new.

Man is also called narah (Sanskrit). Na means `not', and rah means `perishable'. Thus, narah, means `not perishable'. Obviously, the one, which is imperishable, is eternal that is, immortal, or atma, Truth. There is another word vanara (Sanskrit) denoting a ‘monkey’. Va denotes vala or tail. So nara should be viewed as man without vala or tail. Man is saksara: sa, divine and aksara, undiminishable or permanent. Thus, saksara is one who is undiminishable, permanent or eternal, Atma. He who has the awareness of such Atma is saksara. But alas! Man today is behaving as raksasa, demon. Man is expected to have dama, control of senses, but he is full of mada, pride and conceit. So, when we understand the meaning of these words, we shall know that man or vyakti, the individual, should exhibit and express the quality of atma, which he truly is.

A community or a group of individuals makes a society. A single vr ks a, tree, cannot make a vana, forest. A single grha, house cannot make a grama, village. What is the meaning of samaja, society? Sama, equality or equanimity, ja, born out of. Thus samaja, is that which maintains equality and equanimity. What are needed for ideal society? They are samaikyata, unity; samagrata, co-ordination; samarasa, integration; saubhratrata, fraternity; and samanata, equality. These are the features of an ideal society.

We hear people saying that society should change. However, in my opinion, it is wrong. If the individual changes, society will automatically change. A small example. A father presented a map of India to his young son. The boy, by mistake, tore it to pieces and was reprimanded by his father. After some time, the son brought the map intact. When asked by the father how he could do it, the boy replied that on the reverse side of the map there was the picture of a man. He said the only thing he did was to correctly assemble the torn pieces of the man to make it into the original picture. Then the original map formed itself automatically.

Thus, when individuals reform, society will automatically get reformed. Every person should know that the happiness of the individual depends on that of society. Man's welfare, progress and prosperity depend on society. This truth must be fully understood by everyone. For example, when there is a fire in the neighborhood you make an attempt to extinguish it. Why? If you do not, your house will not be safe. When all the other houses in the neighborhood are burnt down by the fire, your house too will be burnt. When there are epidemics like cholera, you will be extra careful; otherwise, you will also become one of the victims. Similar is the relationship between an individual and the society he lives in.

Q28) Swami! May be due to the impact of the Age of Kali, we don't find in these days, any understanding among the members of a family. Instead, we find differences in many families, even conflicts, complexes, competitions; and sometimes matters become so bad as to drag a family to the courts. Please suggest a way out of this sad plight, Swami!

Bhagawan: In this world though diversity is apparent, there is an inherent unity. Multiplicity may be patent. But the underlying unity is latent. The whole of nature shows both these aspects.

Take the earth; it is not the same throughout. There are hills, mountains, and valleys. However, in our experience we clearly visualise unity. Are the five fingers of the same hand identical? No. Similarly, the members of one and the same family are not alike or uniform. They are not stereotypes. All the same, there cannot be any valid reason for the absence of fraternity, unity, and love among the members of the family.

A good example from our epics may be cited in this context. You analyse Siva samsaram - `the family of our Lord Siva'. Siva has Ganga , water, over his head, and fire on his forehead between the two eyes. He is, therefore, Trinetra or `the three-eyed `God'. `Water' and `Fire' are also opposed to each other in their nature and don't co-exist. Siva is pannagadhara, nagabhusana for He has round his neck venomous serpents. The vehicle of his elder son Lord Subrahmanya is a peacock. Snakes and peacocks are enemies. The vehicle of Goddess Parvati, consort of Siva is a lion. She is simhavahini. The very face of Siva's second son is that of an elephant. Ganesha is called Gajanana for this reason. An elephant can't even dream of the sight of a lion. Parvati has all the jewels, but her Lord, Siva is digambara, naked, bhasmabhusitanga with Vibhutti smeared all over the body, and surrounded by bhutas or devils. Though Siva's family is full of opposites and contradictions, there is integration, co-ordination, harmony and unity.

Similarly, in your families, the members may differ from each other, yet you should be able to live in perfect harmony like Siva's family. This is the lesson that over the ages Lord Siva has been teaching the world.

Q29) Swami! Today the whole world is strife-torn. We hear of racial discrimination, class conflict, bloodshed, war, and so on. Kindly give some message to the present day world.

Bhagawan: Today we have many intellectuals who find diversity in unity. There are only a few who notice unity in diversity. This is the reason for the present day troubles, turmoil, conflicts, wars, and so on in the world. Manava, man is behaving like a danava, demon. So we find violent, demonic, bestial, and inhuman tendencies among people. The moment man recognises and experiences unity in diversity, peace, comfort, safety, security, and happiness are ensured.

The composition of human blood is the same all over the world. All breathe oxygen only. All tread the same ground. Hunger is one, be that of a rich man who may dine in a five-star hotel or of a beggar who appeases his hunger with mere starch. Thirst is one and the same, be that of a rich man who will have a cool drink or of a poor man who drinks tap water in the street. Both feel happy in moments of joy and both grieve in times of difficulties.

The human body is composed of the five elements: earth, water, air, fire, and space. The body is inert. We breathe air into it. There is also fire within, keeping the body warm and helping us in digesting food. There is space within accommodating all parts of the human body. There is plenty of water in the body. So the five elements outside are also inside you. Everyone has them in the same proportion. All that you have is also present in everybody else. Then, why do you stretch your hand begging everyone? What for? What is it that you don't have which the other man has? Basically nothing! This is the philosophy of unity in diversity. This unity is divinity.

The experience of this sort of spiritual unity is liberation, whereas the feeling of multiplicity, plurality and diversity is bondage, dualism, and attachment.

Flowers are many, but worship is one,
Cows are many, but milk is one
 Jewels are many, but gold is one,
Paths are many, but the goal is one,
Stars are many, but the sky is one,
Beings are many, but breath is one,
Names and forms are many, but God is one.

This is oneness or unity. Yarn is multiple, but when interwoven, it becomes a piece of cloth. This is how you should find out and experience unity in order to realise divinity. People fight in the name of religion. What a shame it is! No religion tells you to speak lies, to harm or kill others or do any such things. All religions lay emphasis on love, brotherhood, sacrifice, peace, truth, and so on. So, it is ridiculous to fight in the name of religion. In fact, matulu mancivaina matamedi ceddadi, (Telugu) if your mind is good, which religion is bad?

There is only one religion, the religion of love. To have differences based on language or race is bad. It is a sign of narrow mindedness. There is only one language, the language of the heart. It is very mean to have differences on grounds of caste. You are not born with a signboard indicating your caste. What is the caste of the air? To which caste does water belong? What is the caste of fire and earth? Therefore, there is only one caste, the caste of humanity. Wars are fought in the name of God. Don't you know that many Gods are not there; God is one without a second. You may call Him by any name. There is one God who is omnipresent.

Ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti, Truth is one, but interpreted in many ways by scholars. There are no differences in divinity. With cittas'uddhi, purity of heart, you can experience the principle of unity or oneness, which is the path to divinity. First, develop purity. That helps you to achieve unity and attain Divinity.

Q30) Swami! In reality, the entire human race is one and the same, its basic core being divinity. Why then do we not react in the same way? Why do we think and act differently?

Bhagawan: Humanity may be one, but people act in different ways. No two are alike. This is the law of nature. Thought, words and actions depend on time and circumstances. Here is an example. A tender fruit is sour in its taste; an unripe fruit is astringent, while a ripe fruit is sweet. All the three are the stages of the same fruit, aren't they! It is sour, then astringent and finally sweet. How does it happen? Why? The change of taste is due to the passage of time. No one has filled the ripe fruit with sugar. So, I say "yetti matiyo, atti gati. yetti sthitio, atti sampatti" (Telugu verse). As is the mati, mind, so is the gati, destiny; as is the position, so is the sampatti, affluence.

In human life there are three important aspects, `doing', Body, 'thinking', Mind, `being', Atma. Body desires, mind thinks and Atma experiences. You should have broad-mindedness. You should never be narrow-minded. When examination results are published, why don't you feel happy that so many have passed the examinations? If in the spirit of a large heart, you look for your result, you will definitely find your number in the newspaper along with those of other candidates. It is but narrow-­mindedness if you look only for your own number unmindful of others.

Another example. Suppose you feel happy that in a group photo everyone has figured nicely. If you then look at your own figure, you will be known to be broadminded.

Human life is a combination of three attributes -trigunas . The three work in perfect union as the three wings of a fan. Just as a chutney is made of tamarind, salt and chillies well ground, so also human life has ` trigunas,’ well mixed. You also must have known pan, which Indians chew. It has three ingredients, betel leaf, betel nut and lime, of green, brown and white colours respectively. When the ingredients of three different colours are chewed you get the red colour.

Similarly, in human life all the three gun as are intermixed. But spiritually, basically and fundamentally, the core of the human being is sat, `being', cit, `awareness' and ananda, `bliss'. Sat and cit together confer ananda.

An example. Here are two separate things, water and sugar. When you mix the two it is neither sugar nor water, but syrup. So also water is sat, sugar is cit, forming the syrup Ananda. The triune -trigunas (three attributes) and the basic nature of sat, cit, and Ananda mixed with deha, `body,' manas `mind,' and buddhi `intellect,' interacting with pravrtti, ` the external world' lead to anekatva   ‘diversity or multiplicity or plurality'

Q31) Swami! We hear the words, “rajan iti” and "rajakiyam." Are these, in fact, one and the same? How should we name what we see around us?

Bhagawan: "Rajaniti" and "rajakiyam" can never be the same. Look at "Rajayoga". Among the yogas, the one most highly revered which stands king-like is given that name. Similarly the very greatest among moral codes, equal in status to a king among men, is called "rajaniti". The king of animals is the lion, you know. "Rajaniti" is conjoined with Sathya, bound by Dharma, and confers all welfare. What you have today are not "rajaniti" or rajakiyam political strategies, at all, but rajakayyams battles royal, born of malice, envy, and hatred. All these are kayyams, bitter fights. Therefore, they are “rajaki yams".

Q32) Swami! We have people of varied temperaments, views, ideas, outlooks, ambitions and interests. Conflict becomes inevitable. Each one wants things to happen in his own way. What should we do then?

Bhagawan: Munde  munde  matirbhinna , Heads vary. No two people look alike: no two think in the same way. It is quite natural that ideas differ. Each one feels that he is correct. But you should maintain the spirit of unity, equality and equanimity.

A small example. Once upon a time all the five fingers of the palm started claiming superiority over one another. First, the little finger said to the others, "Look! As you do Namaskar, I come first. Therefore, I am important ". The ring finger then said, "What! Don't you know my value? Costly diamond and gold rings are worn round me!" Then, the middle finger said, "Very funny! What are you talking about? I am ready to wear costly rings. Why not? Some do that way also. Further, don't you see me, who am taller than all of you? Isn't that enough to say that I am superior to all of you?" The forefinger started saying, "If you want to direct anybody, I come first. People show me to direct people. Further, even to warn or caution others, I come first. Don't you see this?" Then, last but not the least, the thumb smiling said, " I have been watching so long all that is happening! Unless I join, even if the four of you stand united, you cannot function. While eating anything, can you manage without me? Why go to that extent? When you shoot an arrow, I have to pull the string backwards with force. Else, the arrow will never go far. So mine is the highest position among us".

This is how we find people staking their claims for superiority over one other. You should always be ready to receive the good from anybody. You should work in cooperation and harmony with one another. No one should feel superior to anyone. Otherwise, because of the domination of one over another, groups, factions, rivalries, controversies and conflicts arise. As a result, the sprit of love totally vanishes from the scene. Unless all the five fingers join, you cannot do anything, you see! Society can never progress if there is no co‑operation, integration and unity among its members.

Q33) Swami! When we say, `men and women are equal', why then do we find differences and discrimination between the two sexes?

Bhagawan: Physically men and women are different. But spiritually, i.e., from the atmic point of view, both are equal. In fact, God is the only male while all others are females. The deham, body, is also called puram, dwelling place. It is the principle of atma that works from top to bottom. You know, Colleges for Women celebrate Anniversary Functions during which they present cultural items like a play. Here, girls play all the different roles like those of a soldier, a minister, a king, and so on. Similarly, all but God are women in this world. A similar thing happened in the life of Mira, the great devotee of Lord Krishna. She was stopped at the main entrance of a Krishna Mandir at Brindavan and was told that women were not permitted to enter a temple of God . Then Mira replied, "Oh! Is that so! Where are men here? I find only women. God is the only male person."

However, from the worldly point of view, for the division of work, men and women are different from each other. Everything and everyone are Divine. Even though it is your own body, you don't put slippers or footwear on the head or hands. Functionally, all the parts of the body are different from each other, though they may belong to the same person. So also physically and functionally, men and women are separate entities though spiritually they are one and the same.

Q34) Swami! We hear many funny statements in present day society. People speak about Women's Liberation Movement. Some say that women have not been given their due place since times immemorial. They complain that there has always been discrimination on grounds of gender and never was a fair deal given to a woman. Women now fight for equal rights with men. We pray to you to describe to us the role of women in our society?

Bhagawan: This is not true, spiritually speaking. There is a physical difference, but Atma or the spirit is one. However, each one has to discharge duties expected of him or her. In a social order, man and woman are like the two hands, the two eyes, and the two feet. One is the positive, while the other is the negative for the current to flow and operate. Lord Siva is called ardhanaris'vara, androgynous God (half of his body being that of a woman) to explain this unity. Man and woman are like matter and energy. A woman is described as adishakti, par a Shakti -Supreme Power, Infinite Power.

You also notice in the history of Bharat the place given to women. Many of them are known today for their sacrifice, wisdom, devotion, and many of them could give better and sane advice to their husbands. Characters like Savitri, Mandodari, Sita, Anasuya, Tara, Damayanti, Madalasa, and Draupadi are very well known. Draupadi served her five husbands most faithfully, never said `no' to whatever work was assigned to her, and led a life of contentment. When there was a debate between Adi Shankara and Mandanamisra, it was the wife of Mandanamisra, Ubhaya Bharati, who played the role of a judge and pronounced Adi Sankara winner at the end. In ancient times, Gargi and Maitreyi were known for their outstanding scholarship and spiritual excellence. In recent times, have you not heard of the role played by the mother of Emperor Sivaji and of Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, in moulding their character and personality? They learnt lessons of life in the lap of their mothers! It was due to the love and inspiration of Kausalya and Sita towards their respective sons, Lord Rama and the twins Lava and Kusa that the latter could earn undying reputation and stand till today as ideals to the entire world.

In our daily prayers we say matr devo bhava, Mother is God. Don't you see the names of women come first and those of men next in compounds like Sita-Rama, Gauri-Sankar, Lakshmi-Narayana and so on? In the past, there never was an instance of women being humiliated, neglected or treated with disrespect. Don't you hear words like `motherland', `mother tongue' that speak highly of women?

The Bhagavad Gita refers to seven types of power enjoyed by women as a matter of right. She has quite a few titles that underscore her contribution to the family and her special role. A housewife is called illalu, the one who takes care of the house or illu. She is described as sahadharma carini, the one who guides her husband along the path of Dharma. She is praised as gr halaks mi , the very embodiment of the wealth, peace and prosperity of the family. She is called ardhangi, representing a half of man, the better half.

Woman stands for patience, sacrifice, forbearance, respect, humility and obedience, the qualities, which are usually missing among men. A woman is prepared to die for her child or husband. She slogs and struggles for the progress and the well being of the family. She is the backbone of the country. She is the light and the delight of the family.

Q35) Swami! A change is very much needed in every field of our activity. Almost all walks of public life are nowadays polluted, disgusting and disappointing. How is change to be brought about?

Bhagawan: Truly speaking, villagers who are unlettered, innocent and rustic are living in greater peace and co-operation, more intimate relationships, and mutual love than the so-called urban, sophisticated, educated, and seemingly cultured people. The latter are full of ego and jealousy. To bring about a change, they need to work for it. They must put in enough sincere effort to overcome qualities like egoism pride, jealousy, and hatred. Butter is no doubt very soft. But in order to make ghee out of it, you must heat it. Similarly for any change, you have to work for it. You should first of all listen to all good things from good people. This listening, s'ravan a is the first step. It is not enough if you simply listen. You should remember, recall, recollect, and recapitulate the good things you have listened to. This is called manana. The third thing is to practice what you have listened and learnt. This is called nidhidhyasa . Take a small example. First of all, your food must be cooked in the kitchen. Then it has to be brought and kept on the dining table and served. It is then that you eat it. Further, the food that you eat must be digested, assimilated, and the nourishment is to be supplied to different parts of your body. Is it not so? Similarly, shrvan a , listening is like cooking,  manana, remembering is the same as food kept on the table, whereas nidhidhyasa , practicing what is heard is like eating and digesting.

Q36) Swami! We are always in a hurry. We have to rush to so many places to catch up and to keep pace with time and work. In this type of fast life, is it possible to be spiritual? Can we hurry here in the spiritual field too?

Bhagawan: Today, many of the diseases are due to the three factors very common among you: hurry, worry, and curry. Haste makes waste, waste makes worry. So, don't be in a hurry. Patience is very important and essential. In my previous form at Shirdi, I laid emphasis on shraddha and saburi, sincerity and patience.

It is very common to find people running to catch a train or a bus to go to office, and so on. You wait for any length of time standing in long queues in front of cinema theatres. But here, you begin to look at your wrist watches wondering why Swami has not yet come out for Darshan! So, you must be patient enough to enjoy real bliss. For anything to happen, there is a proper time, pre‑ordained, pre‑determined, and designed by God. You know Arjuna had to wait till his 74th  year in order to listen to the Bhagavad Gita, the Song Celestial, from Krishna although both of them were moving together for years very intimately. Similarly, you too should wait. You should not feel, "What is this! Why is Swami not talking to me?" At the right time, I will do the appropriate thing for you. See, how a fruit falls down on the ground soon after it is ripe detaching itself from the tree! You will have to wait till the time is ripe for you. You can't and shouldn't be in a hurry in the spiritual field.

Q37) Swami! The growing trend today is to earn more and more money. Ego and pride are growing beyond control. Would you kindly give us the solution for this trend?

Bhagawan: The earth revolves round the sun. So also, man today is revolving round money. In fact, money provides only comfort and conveniences. There are many things that money cannot do.

`With money you can have delicious food in a five star hotel,
But how about your appetite?
 You can buy a beautiful bed,
But can you buy sleep?
You can have the latest, costliest medicines,
But can you with your money extend the life of a dying man?'

You think money makes many things, but it is not so. It leads you on to vices. People have two important resources ‑ `Head' and ‘Heart’. Head carries with it responsibility. It has all the knowledge of pravrtti, the external world, but heart stands for nivrtti, right internal awakening. Values like sacrifice, truth, charity, love, compassion, come out of the heart. All that you find outside is only `art', but `heart' is inside. Don't be carried away by the outer `art'.

The breeze you get from a number of electric fans is nothing compared to natural breeze. Tank water, river water, and lake water can never equal rain water. God is infinite. Where does man stand in front of Him?  Why are you egoistic and proud? What for? Mountains may be of high altitude. But, water from the mountain top flows only downward. Similarly, you may be a great scholar or occupy a good position. If you are proud and egoistic, your fall is near. Light travels upward. So also, the fire of knowledge takes you to the heights. In fact modern man is much worse than cats and dogs. When they are sick they do not eat anything, they fast or starve. However, man is for a feast even in times of sickness. He never ‘fasts’. He likes ‘feasts’ only. Therefore he falls sick frequently.,

The cycle of creation goes by the three attributes or Gunas: Tamas, inertia, rajas, passion, and sattva, piety represented by the triune, Brahma, creator, Vishnu, sustainer, and Siva, annihilator. Among the eighty-four lakhs of species, the human being is very special. He is blessed by God, his creator with mind and intellect. But man has become so egoistic and proud that he even doubts, questions, and denies God, his creator. This is the significance of the episode of Mohini Bhasmasura in our epics.

There was one demon king by name Bhasmasura. He did penance and pleased Lord Siva. He prayed to Siva to grant him a boon that would give him the power to turn anybody into ashes the moment he lays his hands on his head. Siva granted the boon. Thus, intoxicated with this new found power, Bhasmasura began laying his hand indiscriminately on the heads of all those persons he found near him. Naturally, according to the boon he got from God, they died and were burnt to ashes. He became so bad, so horrible, and so highly egoistic that he decided to place his hand even on the head of Siva, the very giver of the boon. Then Lord Vishnu took the form of a beautiful dancer Mohini, and started dancing in front of Bhasmasura who, excited by her enchanting beauty, also started dancing along with her. In the course of gestures and postures, Mohini had suddenly put her hand on her head and Bhasmasura did the same thing. The moment he placed his hand on his head he died. So by denying God, man is ruining himself.

Modern man is like Bhasmasura. He harms the person who helps him. Whatever is said, thought, and done by him is full of selfishness. He has lost the value of fundamental discrimination, which is applicable to all and beneficial to everyone. He lacks divine qualities like truth, peace and love. This is the flaw. He lacks divine qualities and possesses demonic qualities like jealousy, pride, and hatred. He "kills" knowledge. He has to `skill' his knowledge to maintain balance. This is the reason for all his troubles .He removes the letter `S' that stands for 'Sai' from the word `skill' and loses balance. Ego, avarice, jealousy, and such bad qualities are due to our ahara, vihara, and samparka: food, company, and interaction. When you control and discipline yourself, you will find the solution.

beneficial to everyone. He lacks divine qualities like truth, peace and love. This is the flaw. He lacks divine qualities and possesses demonic qualities like jealousy, pride, and hatred. He "kills" knowledge. He has to `skill' his knowledge to maintain balance. This is the reason for all his troubles .He removes the letter `S' that stands for 'Sai' from the word `skill' and loses balance. Ego, avarice, jealousy, and such bad qualities are due to our ahara, vihara, and samparka: food, company, and interaction. When you control and discipline yourself, you will find the solution.

Q38) Swami! In an Organisation where we have to interact with people, most often we come across people criticizing each other and blaming each other. This is very frustrating, and divides people into groups. Sincere persons become frustrated because of uncharitable criticism. It looks like character assassination and mud slinging. How are we to take this evil prevalent everywhere?

Bhagawan: It is a sin to criticise others. It is a sign of weakness and inferiority complex. You shouldn't criticise or hate anyone. In fact, no one has any authority to criticise others. To tackle this, first of all, one should put a question to oneself: "Who is being criticised?" Then, you don't feel upset any longer. Why? If the criticism applies to your body, you don't need to feel bad because the body is temporary and ephemeral. You should be indifferent to your own body, which lands you in many difficulties and problems. The other man is doing service to you by criticising your body. You should be thankful to him for doing so on your behalf. Is it then, the spirit or atma that is criticised? This is not possible because the same soul or Atma is present in the critic also. Atma is Self, the same in all. Then, who is the critic and who is criticised? It all amounts to the criticism of one's own self. Ego and jealousy are the root causes that provoke a person to criticise others.

You have put another question. You want to know how you should react to criticism against you. A small example. Suppose you receive a registered letter. If you don't want to accept it, you can refuse to take delivery. The registered letter will then go back to the sender. Will it not? Similarly, criticism against you is a registered letter. Don't acknowledge and receive it. Refuse it so that the same registered letter of criticism will go back to the sender, the critic himself. If anyone speaks loudly and belligerently against you in public, it is all lost in the air or in your vicinity. If anybody accuses you secretly, it goes to the accuser himself.

What I feel is that one has to be judged by one's merits and not by one's faults. I ask you repeatedly to seek out your own faults and others' merits. If you enquire deeply, you will notice that personal criticism is nothing but the "reflection of the inner being". You spot the bad in the outside world, because of the bad in you. There is nothing that you can find outside yourself. Duryodhana was asked to go in search of a good man. He returned saying that he had found none. If you want to know any good person existing in this world, it is yourself only. Dharmaja was asked to go round and bring a bad person. He returned saying that there was none who was bad other than himself. This is the difference in the attitude of two persons with different views of life. As is your vision so appears the creation. As is the colour of the glasses you wear, so is the colour of the world you see. If you are aware of this truth, you will never criticise anybody.

Sarva ova namaskarah kes'avam prati gacchati, whomsoever you respect and revere, it amounts to reverence unto God. Since God is in everyone, if you respect anyone, it means, you respect God. Similarly, sarva jiva tiraskarah kes'avam prati gacchati, whomsoever you hate, it amounts to hatred of the Divine Himself. If you deeply look into the eyes of the man standing in front of you, you see your own reflection. Therefore, he is not a separate person but your own reflection.

There is only one without the second, i.e., God who is present in all. When you point out your forefinger at the mistakes of another man, three fingers of yours are turned towards you, reminding you of your own mistakes. If you understand this, you won't criticise anybody or blame anybody. God gives and forgives. I often tell you, past is past and it is beyond recovery. Hence, be careful hereafter.

Q39) Swami! As we think of the way in which our life is going, we find it confusing and disheartening. We also doubt if it is going in the right direction or not. You are our only refuge. Kindly guide us.

Bhagawan: You know mrdangam, the South Indian musical instrument, which like a drum, has to be beaten on both the sides as you play. Your life is like a rat caught in that mrdangam. If the mrdangam is beaten on one side, the rat runs to the other side and, vice versa, as there is no way out for it. Similarly having been fed up with this world, you think of God. When God tests you, you again drift towards the world. Your movement between the world and God is like that of the rat. This is not the proper way.

A small example. Two students competed with each other in a tournament of eating bananas. One student wanted to eat the outer skin of every fruit first so that he could finish eating the soft pulp part next. The other student planned to eat the soft part first and the skin next. Accordingly, they started eating. The first student having eaten the outer skin of every fruit first had his belly full of that stuff and he could not eat any sweet pulp. So he was defeated, and suffered from stomach-ache and indigestion. The second student ate a belly-full of the pulp of every fruit and hence couldn't eat the skin of the fruits. So, he too lost in the competition. All the same, he remained healthy.

Similar is the case with those people who are after worldly desires and sensual pleasures. They will have to end their lives in misery finding no cure for bhavaroga, the ailment of worldly attachment. This is equal to the condition of the first student who ate only the outer skin of the banana first in the tournament. But those who think of God are like the second student who ate the soft pulp. They grow stronger in divine life.

Life should start from the point of dasoham, I am your servant. Fill its middle with the relentless enquiry, koham, "Who am I?" End it with full awareness of the identity of the individual self with God soham, I am God. This is the correct way of life.

Man should realise that the happiness and peace he essentially needs are not present in this mundane world. A simple example. A person went to a hotel. The bearer asked him, "What shall I serve for you"? The person said, "I want idli and sambar ". Then the bearer taken by great surprise, said "What Sir! Have you not seen the board hanging over there! This is a military non-vegetarian hotel. Sir!" Likewise, how can you expect items like Palav, Biriyani and Chicken in an Udipi Brahmin vegetarian hotel?

In the same manner there is a board attached to this world, anityam asukham lokam, "This world is temporary and full of misery." How do you expect peace and happiness in this world? That is why in the Bhagavad gita Krishna says, `mam bhajasva' meaning, `Think of me or worship me or be immersed in me or surrender to me'. You should lead your life in full knowledge of these facts.

Q40) Swami! How should we conduct ourselves socially? What are social norms?

Bhagawan: You should forget two things: the help you have given to others and the harm others have done to you. Moreover, you should remember two things: the help that others have given to you and the harm you have done to others. Then there will be no ego, pride, jealousy, envy, hatred, and other evil tendencies in you.

You should also note another important thing. However small a fault or mistake there is in you, take it as a very big one. At the same time when you notice a big mistake in others, you should consider it a very small one. Take your own goodness as tiny and that of others as mighty. This attitude helps you to correct yourself, improve yourself, and enable you to forgive and forget the lapses of others.

But, today quite the opposite is happening. Everyone magnifies his own goodness and minimises that of others, considers his own Himalayan blunders small as an anthill, while he gives Himalayan magnitude even to the smallest mistakes of others. This is the cause of all conflicts and infighting.

There are still two more extreme categories of people. Some of them portray their lapses as merits, project their mistakes as right things, and try to focus on their virtues, which are actually missing in them. Then, there is the last category of people who are even worse than demons. These are the people who attribute faults, mistakes, and defects to others, which are all false, and totally ignore their merits. Correct your own mistakes first. Judge others by their merits and not by their faults. Seek out your own faults and others' merits.

Q41) Swami! Many people feel that they are too busy to have rest. How, then, is one to take rest?

Bhagawan: Change of work is rest. You should never be idle. You should not be lazy. Laziness is rust and dust that ultimately bursts. But work is rest and best. If you are tired of a particular piece of work, change to another. Change of work is rest.

Q42) Swami! We worry a lot. Sometimes we fall sick also due to worry. What is worry? Please tell us how not to worry?

Bhagawan: In my opinion, there is nothing like worry. If you enquire in depth, you will know that there is no worry at all in this world. It is merely psychological. Worry is fear mentally created. That is all! Nothing more! It is all your imagination.

At times you feel guilty. So, you worry remembering your past, which is beyond recovery. By no effort can you recover it. Past is past. Then, why worry about the past? Is there any sense in it? You may worry about the future. This is also useless in my opinion. Why? Because the future is uncertain, anything may happen. Who knows? The future is unknown. Why, then, should you worry about the future? What do you gain by that?

Understand clearly that everything is in the present. It is not simple present, it is omnipresent. How? In the present lie the results of the past. The present is the foundation of the future. The seed of today is out of the tree you grew yesterday, and it will germinate and grow into a tree tomorrow. So, worry is useless. Hence, never worry about anything.

Q43) Swami! Nowadays many educated people waste their time, money and energy in towns and cities. Bhagawan, we are eager to know your views on this subject.

Bhagawan: "Time is God". In your prayers you say, kalaya namah, kalakalaya namah, kalatitaya namah, and so on. Time is divine. You should not waste time. It is a sin to waste or misuse time. Everybody must follow time. God is the master of time. Time waste is life waste. Haste makes waste, waste makes worry, so do not be in a hurry. We should perform good actions and thus spend our time

in a sacred way. Youth and a river will never flow backwards. When you pass the stage of youth, it will not come back. The river water flowing forward will never retreat. Therefore, you should consider time a very precious commodity.

You have also pointed out that money is wasted by many educated people. This is very bad. Waste of money is evil. You should not misuse money. Remember always, much money makes many more wrong things. Much money leads you into bad habits. You should spend money on welfare programmes. You should express gratitude to society, which has been responsible for your present status, by spending money on service activities. You should sacrifice for the poor and needy. Na karmana na prajaya dhanena, tyagenaike amrtatva manasuh. You attain moksha or liberation only by sacrifice. No action, no offspring, no possession or property ever equals sacrifice.

In the human body, blood should always circulate. Similarly, money should circulate in society. It should not stagnate in the hands of a few persons. If blood does not circulate, there develops on the body a boil or a tumor. If you run short of money, it is difficult to manage things. At the same time, too much money spoils you. It should be like your shoes that fit your feet exactly. If the shoes are loose, you cannot walk; if they are tight, then also you find it tough to walk freely. Your shoes always should be of the exact size of your feet. So also, money should neither be too little nor too much for you. Bear in mind what I tell repeatedly and caution you. Money comes and goes, but morality comes and grows.

Morality consists of proper utilisation of energy and other resources. You should not waste energy in any form. You should not waste water. Do not waste food; annam brahma, Food is God. You can eat till your hunger is appeased. There is nothing wrong in it. There are many who are starving. There are many who do not have enough food to eat. What is the prayer you say before you take your food?

brahmarpanam brahma havih
brahmagnau brahman a hutam,
brahmaiva tena gantavyam,
brahmakarma samadhind.
aham vaisvanaro bhutva
praninam dehamas'ritah,
pran apana samayuktah
pacamyannam caturvidham.

"Oh God! You are in the form of Vaisvanara. You verily digest and assimilate the food that I eat. I offer the food that I eat. I offer the food to you. You alone supply its essence to all parts of my body". This is the meaning of the prayer that you say before you take your food. Therefore, you should not waste food. It is a sin to waste it.

I want you to place a ceiling on your desires. This is possible only if you decide and pledge not to waste time, money, food and energy. All the five elements of nature - earth, water, air, fire, and space are divine. You should be highly reverential and grateful to these five elements. Always consider them divine.

Q44) Swami! When we are not happy with the type of education and the money we receive, is it right to feel that they are useless? Should we give up these two? What is the way out?

Bhagawan: It is not correct. In this world, nothing is useless. Everything depends on your mind. Your thoughts and counter-thoughts are responsible for all that you feel, say, and do. God created this world for the benefit and the betterment of humankind. Use, abuse, and misuse depend on your mind. Therefore, you go through certain experiences and the corresponding results. In fact, in education there is nothing wrong, for prajnanam brahma , Knowledge is God. So education can't be defective. When your mind is pure, your education confers wisdom and spiritual awakening on you. But a polluted mind makes use of education for its selfish gains. Hence, education being the constant, its utility depends on the nature of the mind. This is true of money as well.

A sacred mind prompts you to sacrifice: But a polluted mind makes you waste money by taking to vices. It makes you a slave to all sorts of bad habits. Ultimately you lose your good name. Here also money being constant, its utility depends on the mind. Therefore, it is necessary to keep your mind pure, sacred, Godward, and full of selfless divine love. This process is Sadhana, spiritual endeavor. Body attachment, doubts, jealousy, hatred, ego, and selfishness pollute the mind, and lead to the total ruin of life. Therefore, these evil tendencies must be got rid of forthwith and your mind filled with love instead. Thus, your education and money are well utilised. They would prompt you to undertake service activities enabling you ultimately to experience Divinity within yourself.

Q45) Swami! Our country, Bharat, is famous politically for its secular constitution. But, political parties interpret "secularism" in a variety of ways. Some offer distorted comments. I pray for your clarification.

Bhagawan: "Secularism" does not mean atheism. A secular nation is not the land of Hiranayakasipu , but one where each citizen follows his dharma, propagates and professes it freely without criticising other people's faiths and Dharmas under any circumstances. Sanathana dharma does refer to the "secular". Sri Krishna remarks:

Svadharme nidhanam s'reyah
paradharmo bhayavahah

In other words, you should follow `svadharma' and not `paradharma'. But, there is a subtle point here. `Svadharma' does not mean the Dharmas relating to one's caste, stage in life, or profession, as you imagine. `Svadharma' is Atmadharma, the dharma based on Atma‑consciousness, and `paradharma' is Anatmadharma based on non-Atma or bodily consciousness, devoid of the spirit.

Q46) Swami! Today a number of international Organisations are striving for peace. It looks as though the guiding principles of these Organisations are not focused properly. How then is peace to be achieved?

Bhagawan: Their approach, is defective. Where is peace? Peace is within you. You are the embodiment of peace. Peace is not to be found in the world outside. What lies outside is not peace, but pieces. First, achieve peace as an individual, then spread it in your family. Gradually you will enjoy peace in the community and then in the nation. Many countries stockpile atom bombs and other weapons of mass destruction, and ceaselessly go on chanting peace aphorisms. Is this peace?

Q47) Swami! In this modern age, many of us consider our age-old religious rituals like yajnas and yagas meaningless, ridiculous and outdated. Why has this happened?

Bhagawan: Ignorance is the main cause, the utter ignorance of thoughtless speeches. A simple example. A District Collector went to a village on official work. There in a field he saw a farmer who was just throwing paddy grains on his plot of land. The official felt that this was the reason why India was so poor. `What a funny man is this rustic fellow throwing away paddy grains at a time when people are starving," he thought. He finally decided to ask the farmer why he was doing like that. The farmer responded, "Sir, I am not wasting these paddy grains. Today it looks as though one bag of paddy is just thrown to the winds, but later you will get fifty bags of paddy out of this one bag". Then the Collector understood that he was mistaken.

Likewise, watching sacred rituals like yajnas and yagas, one might feel that ghee and lots of other materials are wasted by being put into the sacrificial fire. It is not so. The smoke that comes out of this fire as these materials are poured into the fire, and the Vedic mantras chanted simultaneously cleanse the polluted air. The whole atmosphere is purified. So it is foolish to consider these rituals as outdated, ridiculous, and meaningless. They ensure timely rains and harvests. In fact all these rituals prescribed by our Vedic texts are meant for the welfare of mankind and confer peace and bliss.

Q48) Swami! Kindly instruct us in the main principles making for progress in spheres such as Science, Politics, Ethics, Religion, and Spirituality.

Bhagawan: If you follow three main principles, all round progress is ensured. You will undoubtedly progress in all fields of activity, individual and collective.

The first principle is daivapri ti, Love of God. The second is papabha ti, Fear of Sin. The third is sanghan i ti, Morality in Society. Unless you love God immensely, you cannot fear sin. With fear of sin, morality gets automatically established in society. Thus, the three principles are interdependent and interrelated.

I often tell my students, "Before you do anything, just put this question to yourself: Will Swami approve this action? Is this going to please Swami? "Your intense love for Swami will not allow you to do anything wrong. Evidently, love of God leads to fear of sin. We find turbulent and raging waves in the sea dashing against boulders that stand steady and unshaken. In the same way your faith should be steady, strong, unshakeable, and unwavering, irrespective of losses, failures, defeats, troubles, difficulties, and problems. For instance, if anyone says to you, "There is no God," what reply should you give? You should reply in this way, "All right, you don't have your God, but what right do you have to deny my God?"

Never forget God, remember pancaksari, the five lettered mantra - ` devudunnadu ' - (1) de, (2) vu, (3 ) d u , (4) nna, (5) du , (Telugu sentence with five letters meaning God exists). In order to see that you don't doubt this, repeat astaksari , the eight lettered Sanskrit mantra, sams'ayatma vinas yati, (1) sam, (2) s'a, 3) ya, (4) tma , (5) vi, 6) na, 7) s'ya, 8) ti which means `doubt is death'. Never doubt God. In a sentence like this, "God is nowhere" reflects your pitiable plight of being denied His presence. Now, take out `w' from the beginning of the fourth word `where', and join it at the end of the third word `no'. Then the sentence reads, `God is now here'.

Man most unfortunately commits sins but is not prepared to face their consequences. He expects pun yam, merit, the result of good actions, but does not refrain from doing papam, sin. Nor would he do any meritorious deeds to get good results. Is there any logic or rationale for him to get good results? How foolish are such expectations? How do you expect one kind of result from an altogether different and opposite kind of action? Always bear in mind the whole thing comes back to you in the form of reaction, reflection, and resound. You cannot escape them. When you fully realise this, you will not commit sins or involve yourself in harmful deeds. So you should `Love God' and `Fear Sin'. With these two, there will be `Morality in Society'.

Q49) Swami! Many speak of culture? What is the value of culture?

Bhagawan: Culture is very important because your life and its value depend on it. Culture is a way of life. Culture enables you to experience divinity in your life. Culture helps one to know unity in diversity. Without culture, man becomes a demon. He falls down in stature and ultimately ruins himself.

You know that sea water is saline or salty. Human life is like a vast sea. God's grace is like sunlight that falls on the sea. The seawater because of the heat of the sun becomes vaporised. This is the vapour of bliss that settles as clouds in the sky to fall down to the earth as rain. It is the rain of love. The seawater is salty but the rainwater is sweet. Why? Where does the difference lie? Seawater is refined by sunlight. So also, our life must be cultured and refined. The value of life will then go up. A piece of iron worth less than a rupee can be made into a beautiful costly watch after it is processed and refined. This is due to the culture it has undergone. So long as a boulder remains itself, it is bound to be neglected. But, once it is in the hands of a sculptor, chiselled and hammered, and shaped into a beautiful Krishna idol; it starts receiving respect and worship. Why? It is only culture that makes all the difference. A boulder, once trodden by everyone underfoot and now in the form of an idol, occupies a place at the altar in a temple and is worshipped everyday. This is the value that culture confers.

Without culture, one develops a foolish view of life finding diversity in unity. For example, take a needle. It stitches pieces of cloth into a garment. The needle stands for culture. But scissors cut the cloth into pieces. This is the condition in the absence of culture.

Q50) Swami! Have people come closer to God in this modern world?

Bhagawan: The modern world is completely superficial and artificial. Outwardly, all say `hello', `hello' to each other. Everyone says `thanks' for every small thing. This is all mechanical, routine courtesy, and those words don't mean anything. You find utter selfishness everywhere.

Modern science has enabled man to land on the moon. But, man has forgotten to step into his neighbour's house. Yes, he can reach chandra, the moon, but can't see Ramachandra in his heart. Modern man can swim in water like a fish, and fly like a bird, but can't walk a mile with his two legs on the ground. With his physical eye, which is not even two inches in size, he is able to see a galaxy several thousand miles away from him, but he is not able to see himself. The eye and the ear are so near but they don't see each other!

Do they? God reclines on the ksirasagara , `ocean of milk' located in your Heart, but today we find that the `Heart' has become ksarasagara, `ocean of poison'. How do you expect him to realise Divinity?

Even after having become a very rich country, France , lost the great war. Why? It was because of her reckless youngsters and the vices of the day. This trend is increasing today among people. Man is living and working for the fulfilment of his as'alu, lowly desires, but he should live for as'ayalu, ideals. People with high ideals alone can come closer to one another spiritually.

Q51) Swami! How can we come up in life?

Bhagawan: You have to work for it. It may be difficult, but it is desirable to achieve it. In fact, everyone should strive to come up in life, so, it is said, `Aim high. Low aim is a crime'. One has to travel in the right direction and reach the goal. Birth as a human being is meant for this purpose. Man has to realise that he is essentially divine. One has to attain Divinity. But this is not as easy and as simple as it seems. After all, a fall is easy and quick too.

Take this example. As you come to Kodaikanal by bus climbing the hills, the bus makes a lot of noise. Lorries also struggle and make loud sounds climbing these hills and reaching Kodaikanal. But, the very same bus or lorry finds it easy to go downhill. So is the case with human life too! You have to struggle and work hard to come up in life. But to fall from a height and ruin yourself is easy, simple, and quick.

Take another example. When you shoot an arrow, the more you pull it backwards closer to the string, the arrow goes farther. Similarly, if you work more, your success will be equally greater. A rocket, the moment it is launched with force, jerks backwards and thereafter it gets released into space where it rises with burning flames. So, in life the amount of effort you put in decides your rate of success.

Q52) Swami! Kindly tell us how to achieve greatness in life?

Bhagawan: Never allow this sort of idea to get into your head. You are mistaken if you think that you have achieved something very special and unique by becoming great. No, not at all. Becoming great in life should not be your aim. There are several great people in society. I don't think this is important or that this matters most. Goodness is superior to greatness. Instead of aiming to be great, try to be good. It is far more important to be a good man than a great man.

What is the difference between the two? A great man sees man in God, while a good man sees God in man. Ravana, as portrayed in the Ramayana, was undoubtedly a great man. He considered Rama, the Lord, a mere man. But, Rama was an ideal good man. Rama saw divinity in a bird like Jatayu, in squirrels, and even in rakshasas like Vibhishana. Women like Sabari, illiterate people like Guha as well as saints appear to Rama like his own reflections. So, Rama was good. So, you should try to get the reputation that you are a good man and not a great man.

Q53) Swami! What is an ideal government?

Bhagawan: In an ideal government everyone willingly observes the rules and regulations of the State. Everybody discharges his or her responsibilities. `Godment' is superior to Government. But, today we see people fighting for their rights, forgetting their duties.

You should not give any scope for laziness. All employees should work most sincerely doing justice to the salaries they receive every month. Otherwise, they will be cheating or betraying their fellow-beings or the government. People should cultivate sdmarasyam, integration, samagrata, co-ordination, samaikyata, unity, and saubhrdtrata, fraternity.

Look at this piece of cloth. This is very strong because the threads are closely interwoven. But if you separate the threads, you can cut it with your finger. Everybody should know that strength lies in unity. India could achieve independence but not unity. You are free to walk waving your walking stick, so long as it does not hit the nose of another pedestrian and your freedom does not rob the independence of others.

Fundamentals applicable to all must be followed. The individual is less important than the community or society. It is always better that you manage to employ yourselves in learning those things that are needed for society. Your education should help you to better the community.

Q54) Swami! This gentleman is a famous journalist. Many say that he reports well for the newspapers.

Bhagawan: Is that so! Good! Who is a journalist? He who writes a general list of matters in papers is a journalist. What is news? All the information from North, East, West and South forms news. It is good to know the news that comes from the outside world. What about nuisance that comes from within you? Know that and correct yourself.

Q55) Swami! What is essential for us now?

Bhagawan: If you have love, it is enough. Everything will be added unto you. Service, sacrifice, humility, devotion, discipline, etc are contained within love. It is only love that prompts and promotes all virtues. Where there is love, there will be no ego, hatred, jealousy and such other low mean, animal qualities.

There was a lady in Paris . She led her life with the little money she had. She saw one day some helpless footpath dwellers shivering in the cold. She was deeply moved by this sight. Everyday she used to take a few blankets along with her and offer them to those poor, needy and forlorn. This had gone to the notice of the elders and finally the government. They decided to honour her. A few youngsters came to her to congratulate her. She said that she was not happy since she could not help everyone, when the compassionate Almighty God was helping everyone always. She further added that she felt ashamed and frustrated, as her help could not be extended to everyone.

I will tell you another story. There was in an army a soldier who lost both his legs in a war and had to move with the help of crutches. Since his service was relatively short, he was not eligible for all the retirement benefits. The Major of his unit gave him some money and asked him to return. The soldier, on his way back home, had to stop in a village and take shelter in a choultry as it was raining heavily. The money on hand also was exhausted. Next morning, a schoolgirl happened to pass the same street, saw this soldier, and made enquiries. The girl was deeply moved by his plight. Since then, she used to go to school an hour early everyday, collect some fruits on the way, sell them, and purchase a few chapatis for the soldier.

After a couple of weeks, the Major happened to pass the same way and noticed the soldier. The major was surprised to see him, for even after a long time he had not yet reached home due to paucity of funds. The Major found out how the soldier was managing himself all these days. In the meantime, the girl came and served chapattis to the soldier. The Major followed her and went to her house. On seeing him her parents thought that their daughter must have done something wrong and so he had come to make an enquiry. When they were about to punish her, the Major intervened and said to her parents, "You are indeed very lucky! How many of us have such children with magnanimity, love, concern for the needy, and the spirit of service?" He was about to give some gold coins to her parents who said "Sir! We don't want all this. We can live with our hard earned money. Who can guard these gold coins at home? Please leave us alone, Sir!" The Major felt happy and left for his native place where he found an eligible bridegroom for this girl and performed her marriage. This is the true wealth of love. `Expansion of love is life. Contraction of love is death. 

Source: SATYOPANISAD VOL - I [Chapter-II] by Anil Kumar Kamaraja

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