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Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Answers For
Spiritualising Our Day-To-Day Life
Swami! We often hear the word srti. Does this word have any bearing upon the
life of the ordinary man? This srti, is it only for scholars? For us, the common
people, does it have any relevance?
Srti is divine. Mati, mind, is human, worldly, and conditions your
progress. Srti guides buddhi, intellect, and furnishes it with
fundamental discrimination. Mati functions at the level of the separate
individual. In man, three nitis or principles operate: manavaniti,
the human code, rajaniti, the political code, and daivaniti, the
divine code. Man's estate and fortune depend on the code he follows. For
instance, Bhishmacharya taught rajaniti, principles of kingship, to
Dharmaja. On another occasion, following daivaniti, he passed on to
Dharmaja the celebrated Visnusahasranama, the thousand names of Vishnu.
But, when he led the war as the Commander-in-chief on the side of
the Kauravas, he forgot the divine sr ti , and lost his fundamental
discrimination. He followed his mati, mind, which is his own
individually. Because of this, he had to lie down on the bed of arrows for so
contrast, note the role of young Abhimanyu. For that day's fighting in the Mahabharata
war, Drona had designed the military manouvre called Padmavyuha, the lotus maze.
The forces of the enemy were spurring Abhimanyu on to take up the challenge.
Noticing that the heroic Abhimanyu was getting ready to fight, his mother said,
"My son! Your father is not at home now. Your uncle
too is not here. You know your wife is pregnant. It is in these
circumstances that you are planning to enter the battlefield. Please desist from
this!" Abhimanyu's response reflects his adherence to rajaniti:
"How come, mother, that you din into my ears words of cowardice? When the
enemy challenges you to fight, is it consistent with rajaniti to say,
`no'? Does it accord with the dharma of a Kshatriya warrior? What an insult it
would be to my father, the greatest of heroes, Arjuna! Won't he hang his head
down in shame? O Mother! Bless me to return victorious, routing the enemies like
the young lion leaping on to the elephant in must!" This indeed, is rajaniti.
In this manner, manavaniti takes the cue from the mati, mind, of
an individual even as sr ti , being divine, stimulates the intellect into
fundamental discrimination. Thus, Abhimanyu, who behaved the way he did,
died heroically. Similarly, in life the good meets with only the good. Evil
necessarily encounters only evil. This law never failed.
Swami! We hear about pancak o s as the five sheaths, panca pran as, the five
vital airs, and pancendriyas, the five organs. Do they cover our spirit, Atma?
Are they obstacles to atmic bliss? What exactly is their position and role in
The whole world is made of five elements: Earth, fire, water, air and space are
the five elements. Man is the product of these five elements, besides his
temperament. Raga attachment, dvesa, hatred, and bhaya,
fear, originate in akas'a, space. Our breathing process, movements like
walking or other body movements are due to vayu, wind. Hunger, thirst,
sleep are the effects of agni, fire. Phlegm, blood, bile, urine, etc.,
are the outcome of jala, water. Skin, muscles, bones, nails, hairs,
nerves are of prthvi, matter. Therefore, all the five elements are
equally distributed in everyone. Then you don't find any differences among
people. No one can be considered superior to any other.
human body has five sheaths, `Pancakos'as'. The first one is annamaya
kos'a, the sheath of food, the second is pran amaya kos'a, the sheath
of life, and the third is manomaya kos'a, the sheath of mind. The fourth
is vijnanamaya kos'a, the sheath of knowledge and finally anandamaya
kos'a, the sheath of bliss. One sheath encloses the other. You know rice
grains. They are enclosed within husks. Therefore, a rice grain is within the
sheath of husk. For the tamarind seed tamarind pulp is the sheath. An embryo is
within the sheath of its mother's womb. Annamaya kos'a is a sheath which
covers pran amaya kos’a. This encloses manomaya kos’ a sheath
of the mind. This covers vijñanamaya kos’a, sheath of wisdom, which
encloses anandamaya kos’a, the sheath of bliss.
kos'a is the
product of food. The body is annamaya kos'a. You have all the behavioural
tendencies that result from the food you eat. Then, you have pran amaya kos'
a composed of the five organs of action, the karmendriyas and five
life breaths panca pran as (pran a, apana, vyana , udana, samana
comes mano maya kos’a, mental sheath consisting of five organs of
perception, jnanendriyas, and the mind full of thoughts and
counter-thoughts sankalpa-vikalpa. The fourth is vijnanamaya
kos'a, the sheath of knowledge, of sound, touch, form, taste and smell (s'abda,
rupa, spars'a , rasa and gandha) which constitutes the Buddhi,
innermost sheath is anandamaya kos'a. In order to enable yourself to
experience this state of bliss, you will have to practice all that you
theoretically know and do what you are supposed to. Likewise, you should
understand the principle of samatva, equality, and ekatva, unity, and daivatva,
experience divinity. This leads you to a state when you will not hate anyone ` advesta
sarva bh utanam'.
has an equal right to know and experience the atma, self. To attain such
an awareness, self-enquiry atmavicara is very necessary. However, an
intense and deep desire is essential to know and experience atma. Just
like a seed within a fruit, as a copper wire within a plastic covering, butter
in milk, sugar in the sugarcane and oil within til, sesame seeds and fire
in wood, atma is encased within pancakos'as , pancendriyas and panca
Swami! We come across words like manas, mind, buddhi, intellect, citta,
consciousness, and aham kara, egoism. How are we to understand and correlate
them? How do they differ from one another? It is our good fortune that Swami
explains in simple terms ever so complex.
Here is an illustration. Consider a Brahmin. When he conducts ceremonies like
weddings, you call him purohit, priest; when he reads out from the
almanac at your home the tithi, lunar phase, the varam day of the
week, naksatra, star, etc; you call him the pancanga Brahmin; when
he prepares food in your home, you call him the brahmin cook.
illustration. Your wife addresses you in Telugu as e mandi, "Oh,
you! Please, Sir!" because, addressing the husband by name is not
considered proper. Your child calls you `Father' and your student addresses you
as 'Sir': But, you are, after all, only one individual, aren't you! One and the
same faculty has different names: manas or mind when engaged in thinking,
citta or awareness in a state of equanimity devoid of plans or decisions;
buddhi or intellect while exercising discrimination; and aham kara
or egoism when introducing oneself or referring to oneself as `I' . All these
are one, but named differently according to their function.
is to be controlled is the mind. When you have that nigraham, control,
you obtain God's anugraham, grace. Once you consider something as evil,
do not allow it to enter the mind. The behaviour of trees and animals is
regulated by prakrti, Nature. Only man is disobeying the commands of God
and has become depraved. There is only one solution.
little illustration. Tie up kamadhenu, the wish fulfilling cow,
of your body with the pas'a, rope of prema, love, to the post
called amna, chanting the name of the Lord. That is enough. You gain
control over the mind. Then, on the citta, awareness, devoid of the
turmoil of thoughts, is imprinted the form of God. Buddhi undertakes
fundamental discrimination; the `I' which has been egoistic cognises its own
true nature as atma and realises the innermost Self in all beings. This is adhyatmika
Swami! You stress citta suddhi, purification of our heart, but how is one to
You are mistaken
here. Citta, heart is always pure. So, where is the need for its suddhi,
purification? You only pollute it.
for example this kerchief. This is white in colour. It becomes dirty as I use
it. I give it to a washerman to wash it and bring it back. When he brings it, it
looks white and bright as before. It was so before and it is so after a wash,
but it was dirty in between due to use. The washerman did not paint the kerchief
white. He only removed the dirt. So too like a kerchief, your mind is also pure
which becomes impure due to your desires and thoughts. Once you remove the
impurities from the mind, it will become pure. So citta suddhi means
exercising control over desires.
Swami! Now it is clear that citta suddhi is lacking in us due to our bad
thoughts and bad deeds. We have certain weaknesses, lapses, bad qualities and
thoughts. As you have said unless we get over them, citta suddhi cannot be
attained. The mind gets polluted very often. How is one to control bad
It all depends upon your determination and your understanding of the intensity
and the gravity of the problem. It needs an honest and sincere attempt on your
small example. You are moving freely without any hesitation and fear in this
room. There lies a rope in one corner. But, if you come to know that it is not a
rope as you have been thinking it to be, but a snake, would you move freely in
that room any longer? You know that it is dangerous to be anywhere near a
poisonous snake. You know that you will die if that snake bites you, and so you
keep off from that place. Similarly, when you are aware of the danger or harm
you will be put to, you will definitely stop your misdeeds.
keep on holding the rope until you come to know that it is not a rope but a
snake. You drop it down immediately because of the fear of death. So long as you
think that these bad thoughts and evil deeds make you happy, you continue to be
in the same frame of mind. But, when you know that they are dangerous, you will
not hanker after them. Therefore, first of all, you must identify your own bad
qualities and then give them up gradually one after another until you are
is also strange to notice that some seekers undergo rigorous discipline for a
set period of time during which they lead a perfect life without any trace of a
bad quality. But after that avowed period of discipline they resume their
previous bad habits with redoubled vigour. This is a big mistake. That which
holds you for some time is artificial. Here withdrawal from bad habits is not
due to the realisation of the evil effects.
is an example. You see the ceiling fan rotating there. Now, if you switch it off
it will not stop rotating immediately. It stops slowly. The three blades slowly
stop moving. The fan does not stop rotating immediately. Therefore, in full
knowledge of the possible harm and the evil effects, you should give up your bad
Swami! Pranayama, breath control, some say, is important on the spiritual path.
Would you please tell us about it?
Pranayama, breath control, has to be undertaken in an exact and perfect
way under the care and guidance of a Guru. It leads to danger if it is done
imperfectly and irregularly.
are chiefly three steps in Pranayama or breathing exercise. The first one
is purakam, inhalation. The second is holding the breath or the air
breathed in. This is called kumbhakam, retention. The third stage is
exhalation or recakam. The important, point here is that, the time taken
during all these three stages must be equal. It means that the time taken for purakam
must be the same as for kumbhakam. Similarly, the time taken for kumbhakam
must be the same as for recakam.
the human body there are shadcakras, six life sustaining points on the
vertebral column. The lowest is called muladhara cakra, fundamental,
primordial life sustaining point at the bottom. In pranayama, during the
second step, kumbhakam, holding the breath, kundalini starts
moving upward being restless due to the lack of supply of air across the sadcakras.
On the top lies sahasrara cakra, head region. There exists a jyoti,
divine light surrounded by dalas, petals. The sahasrara cakra is
like a thousand petalled lotus flower. The petals touch the central jyoti
when one has asura sampatti, demonic qualities. If one has daivi
sampatti, divine qualities the jyoti starts touching the petals.
Thus, kundalini affects the human body during this course of sadhana.
A living being taking many breaths per day is short lived. A dog takes many
breaths. So, its life span is short. Snakes and mongooses take a few breaths per
day. They live long. The breathing exercise has an influence on the life span.
Swami! It is said that we carry with us certain traits, vasanas of the past
life. Is that true and how does it happen?
Certainly so! Just as in accounts the balance is brought forward from the
previous page to the next page, the traits of the previous life are brought
forward to the present.
you light an incense stick or an agarbatti or camphor, don't you get the
fragrance all over this room? When you have a fragrant flower, does it not
spread its fragrance? Similarly, bad odour or foul smell also spreads. So also,
the characteristics of the past lives are brought forward to subsequent lives.
Bhagawan! How is it that we have vasanas, traits of the past life? We are born,
we grow and die. The body is bound to weaken, wither, die and decay. How then
are our features brought forward to the next life?
It is certain that
the features of the past life are carried to the next life. You can call them vasanas
or samskaras or the qualities of the past life. People with good samskaras
will spend their time in a sacred way by participating in satsang,
good company, bhajan, singing His glory, entertaining sadalocana,
good thoughts, and satkarma, good deeds, and good discussion. On the
other hand, people with bad samskaras make their lifetime unholy by
indulging in duskarma, misdeeds, entertaining durbhavana, bad
thoughts and asatya, speaking falsehood. As you have said, it is true
that the body weakens, withers, dies and decays, but the samskaras
don’t die. They follow you to the next life.
simple illustration will make this subject clearer to you. Suppose your hand was
injured. You got it treated, and for some time you put a bandage also over and
around the injured part. The hand was healed completely after some time. But in
that part of your hand where the injury took place, a scar or a mark is left,
and it remains till now as well. Similarly, the body may die. But the vasanas
remain as a spot in the next life.
Swami! Three Gunas or attributes such as rajas, Tamas and Sattva are said to
bind man. Does a sattvika quality also bind man? Is that also a bondage?
These three attributes only bind man. Your life is conditioned by them. All your
deeds and expressions are governed by them. They monitor your conduct and
behaviour. Even sattvika qualities also chain you.
example, you are confined with an iron chain. Is that not bondage? You may be
confined with a silver chain. It is also bondage. It may be now a gold chain
this time that binds you. Is it not bondage? After all, the three chains differ
only in the composition of the metal. After all, each is a chain and nothing
more though its value may differ from that of the other. Thus, the attributes
bind or limit you.
the iron chain is compared to that of 'Tamas’, dullness or inertia. The
silver chain is like the ` rajasika ' quality, active, energetic,
passionate, and the gold chain is like the ` sattvika ' nature, pure,
steady; good. But divinity is beyond these three `Gunas'. It is, in fact,
Swami! We have many qualities - tamasika, rajasika and sduvika Do they
change at any time? How are we to ennoble ourselves? Sometimes these attributes
may be responsible for conflicts with our colleagues in the office. What is to
be done under these circumstances? Kindly give us a solution to this problem
that we encounter everyday?
The whole world revolves round these three attributes - tamasika, rajasika
and sattvika. Every individual has these three attributes working like the three
blades of a fan. But in a person, the quality which dominates the other two
decides his nature, his total personality, nay, his very destiny as a whole.
is a pious man whose sattvika quality dominates his rajasika and tamasika
qualities. He is an emotional, passionate, active man if his rajasika
quality dominates his sattvika and tamasika qualities. He is a dull,
inactive and passive man if he is dominated by the tamasika nature. Thus,
everyone has these three attributes.
instance, in an eyeball don't you see all the three colours, white, red, and
black. They symbolise these trigunas or traits. Watch the sunrise. You
will notice three colours red, white and black indicating trigunas or the
three attributes. However, you should note one important point. Gunas have
no independent existence. Divinity makes them functional. But the gunas are
not to be found in the divine as God is gunatita, beyond attributes.
are transformable. For instance, you can get over tamasika quality by karma,
action. Karma transforms tamasika quality into rajasika activity. Rajasika
nature is dual. It may give you success or failure, profit or loss, praise or
blame, etc. Man has to perform karma. In fact there is no one who does not take
any action. You may lie on a bed sleeping, yet your heart beats, blood
circulates and the nervous system and pulmonary system work. Don't they? Does it
not amount to action?
doing selfless actions, offering all the fruits of action to God, serving God in
everyone and by realising indwelling divinity, one can develop anubhavajnana,
practical wisdom or experience based wisdom. At that stage, a rajasika
person becomes a sattvika person. Therefore, karma is important karmanubandhini
manus yaloke , human society is bound by action. Your very life is gifted to
do karma. Thus, janma, birth and karma, actions are inter-related.
In fact, one should salute respectfully the action he does. Tasmai namah
karman e, my salutations to the action given or assigned to me. Therefore, a
tamasika nature can be converted into rajasika by volitional
action, which can be further transformed into sattvika by bhakti,
and jnana, devotion and awareness. This is sadhana or spiritual
atmavicara, self-enquiry you can improve and change your nature.
When any lower or animal qualities like wavering of the mind, excessive sleep,
gluttony, crop up immediately say to yourself at least ten times. "I am a
man, I am not an animal." Then, you will be able to get over them. Do your
duty sincerely. Don't be pompous. Don't show off nor do any stunt. Always be
sure that God notices everything that you do, though others may not. Do your
duty with love.
with love is Desirable.
Duty without love is Deplorable,
Love without duty is Divine."
you offer all your work and the fruits thereof to God, your work will be
transformed into worship.
may not agree with your colleagues in your office. Your temperament may be
incompatible with theirs, sometimes leading to controversies and in-fights and
you may, as a result, lose your peace of mind. So, don't have too close a
relationship with too many people. Say "hello, hello" to everyone,
`how are you' to all those you meet and end with `goodbye'. That's all and
there is no real social service. Everything is either slow service or
show-service. You should have a feeling that what you do is not for
anybody but for your own satisfaction and happiness. Whatever you do, do it for
the satisfaction of your conscience. You shouldn't do anything for praise or
appreciation by others. Your conscience is God. Know that character is most
important and you should never compromise on this score. What is always
necessary for success in life is co-operation. But nowadays, we find only
joining good company satsang, listening to the teachings of great masters
and seers and above all with God's grace, you can change your attitudes and
mentality. By Buddha's teaching the cruel Angulimala and by Narada's
instructions Ratnakara (who became sage Valmiki later) were transformed.
Visvamitra who was a Rajarshi, a sage among kings became a Brahmarshi, a sage
ever immersed in Brahman by the direction of Vasishtha. Visvamitra thus became
the mitra, friend of the visva, universe.
on one occasion dropped his bow and arrows in the battlefield. He became tamasika
(dull. passive, weak) and even reluctant to engage in a war for which he
stood in the battle-field. He forgot all the vows he had taken and the
atrocities the Kauravas committed. It was at that time that
Janaka who became a rajarshi due to the teachings of Sage Yajnavalkya
renounced everything and became a perfect jnani, one known for spiritual
by intense sadhana, tamas can be converted into rajas, and rajas
into sattva. In so doing an aspirant, becomes a recipient of God's
grace and ultimately a seeker of nirvana (liberation).
Swami! We hear of purusarthas, the four goals of life. How are we to achieve
I tell my students quite often about the four `F's'. The first `F' is `Follow
the master'. Dharma, righteousness, is your master. Follow dharma at all times.
All your actions must be approved by dharma, the ideal norms of life. If you
hold on to dharma throughout, the very same dharma will protect you, dharmo
raks ati raks itah. Manava, being human, should follow the
dharma of a human being, manavadharma, and never that of a demon danavadharma.
second `F' is `Face the devil'. What is the devil here? While dharma is the
master, artha, wealth or money, is the devil. Most people struggle a lot
for money. They resort to all sorts of tactics, do unrighteous unjustified and
wrong deeds only for money. You think that the world goes by money,
dhanamulamidam jagat. No, the world relies on dharma, dharmamulamidam jagat.
One should earn money righteously and not unrighteously.
third `F' is `Fight to the end'. What is the enemy you should fight till the
end? It is
Sage Dakshinamurthy happened to walk along the shore of a sea. He noticed the
rising waves pushing a small blade of grass, towards the shore. He felt bad.
After all, it was a tiny grass blade and the mighty sea sent forth its mounting
waves to push it away on to the shore. "How arrogant is the sea not to
tolerate even a grass blade!" thought the sage within himself. Then the Sea
God, Samudra, appeared before the sage with folded hands and said very humbly,
"Oh! Great sage! I am not at fault: Do not blame me and call me arrogant. I
am not arrogant. I cannot afford to have a single, simple blemish. I do not want
a blemish, not even a blade of grass in me. So my waves pushed it away to the
shore and not out of any hatred or enmity". This is what `fight to the end'
the fourth `F' is `Finish the game'. What is the game? It is the game of life.
When does the game of life finish? It finishes with the attainment of moksha. So
moksha is the final goal of the four objectives of life.
you should remember one important point. Of the four purusarthas, dharma
is `Follow the master',
is ‘Face the
God is Love, hence,
Live in Love.
is nothing that you cannot achieve without love.
Swami! What is it that we should have in order to deserve your prapti?
Your interest is
the most important thing. With this you can achieve anything in life. When you
have trust in a particular matter or a subject or a person, you are said to have
interest in that matter or that subject or that person. Since you have immense
interest in Swami, you run fast and occupy the front rows close to my feet.
Isn't it so? During the morning time, in silence you wait anxiously for Swami,
and that is why even the slightest sounds such as the sound of closing the door
of Swami's car makes you think and alerts you that Swami is coming towards you.
Whosoever comes to the scene at that time is expected to convey some message of
Swami's arrival. What is the reason? This is all due to your interest in Swami.
If you have no interest in Swami, you don't notice His presence even if He
stands in front of you.
Swami! What is illusion, Maya? Kindly explain.
There is no
illusion whatsoever. What exists is only Brahman, the cosmic soul. The
so-called illusion or Maya is only your imagination. There is only
Brahman. Nothing more! The body attachment is illusion, Maya or Brahma.
simple example. Here is a huge tree under which you see its shadow, don't you?
The branches and the leaves are the cause of the shade. As the sunlight falls on
the tree you see the shade beneath the tree. Here you have to know one important
point. There is nothing like shade above the tree or on the top of the tree. It
means there is no shade in sunlight. Why is it so? The branches and the leaves
of the tree are responsible for the shade below. Sunlight is Brahman, tree is
life and the branches and leaves are attachments and desires. They are
responsible for the shade of Maya or illusion. Shade is out of question when
there are no leaves and branches. So, there is no illusion or Maya as such. It
is the fallacy of your imagination.
Swami! How are we to get over Maya or illusion?
There is no Maya. It is your own creation. How is it then you want to get over
that, which does not exist at all?
the night time, seeing a rope, you mistake it for a serpent and you are very
much fear-stricken. Later on, enquiry reveals that it is only a rope and
not a serpent. What you should know here are two points. Neither the snake
disappears nor does the rope come especially to give you relief. All along, it
has been a rope only. You are the only one who is mistaken by taking a rope for
a serpent. So also, the reality is Brahman or Atma and the rest is Brahma,
or illusion or imagination.
Swami! It is often said and felt that none escapes Maya or illusion. Everyone
falls a victim to the influence of Maya. So, man is prone to delusion. Then
Swami, a person who has known what Maya is and has been out of Maya, how is it
that he gets into the trap again?
Think of this situation. When it is dark what happens to light? Where does it
go? Similarly, when there is light, where does the darkness that was present
till the light came, go? Absence of light is darkness. Darkness does not flow or
run away. Because of the light, it is not noticed. Once the light is put off, it
will be dark as before. Here light is wisdom, darkness is ignorance or Maya or
delusion or avidya. To dispel the darkness the only thing to do is light
question is, how the darkness of ignorance comes back again having been
dispelled once already by the light of wisdom. A simple example. Many travel by
bus. As the bus speeds forward along the rugged roads, we find the dust rising
behind the bus so long as it is on a continuous run. But, the moment the bus
stops the whole lot of dust collects inside. All of it just blows into the bus.
Similarly, human life is a bus. So long as it is on the move of Sadhana,
the dust of illusion stays behind. But, if the bus of life stops or halts Sadhana,
the dust of delusion will get into life. So, it is Sadhana that keeps you
unaffected by delusion. If you stop Sadhana you will again become a
victim of Maya. Therefore, you can never take it for granted that you are rid of
Maya in your lifetime. It is your constant Sadhana that helps you.
Swami! Illusion is a non-atmic feeling or worldly approach. To identify
myself with that which I am not is illusion. Truly speaking, the "I"
we often speak of is in reality only Atma. Nothing else. How is one to know this
truth, to recognise and experience this truth? Kindly tell us about this Swami!
Actually, `I' is only Atma or Brahman. A sincere attempt to know
this truth is called `enquiry'. Self-enquiry is most essential in the
spiritual path. Puja, namasmarana , dhyana, tapas, yajna, yaga,
and such rituals are not truly spiritual. They are good activities to attain
purity of heart. True spirituality indeed, is self-enquiry. I do not mean
that you should give up all rituals and sacred actions. Self-enquiry is
the most important in my view. Since you do not have people properly experienced
in this field of knowledge to teach you, you find it tough and difficult to move
in the right direction.
this question, "Who are you?" is put to a group of people you get
different answers. One says in reply, "I am an Indian". This is not
correct, because you may shift to
may prefer to answer the question "Who are you?" in another way
saying, "I am a young man", "I am an aged person'.”I am a
boy" and so on. This is also wrong. Why? Boyhood, youth, and old age are
the different stages that you pass through in your life. But you remain one and
the same person all along. At one time, you were a boy. Then, a man. Later a
father and finally a grandfather. But you have been the same person throughout.
Then, how can you identify yourself with your age which does not remain the
same? Another person may feel like saying," I am a tall person",
"I am a handsome man", "I am a lean man". These are again
the replies related to the nature of the body. This is not correct, you are not
the body, which is merely an instrument, because while you are in deep sleep
your body is passive and static, and you are not aware of its existence. You are
not the mind also.
you think you are the mind you lead the life of ego and pride. Even the mind
does not exist in susupti, deep sleep. You are not the intellect either.
You may be intelligent but you are not the intellect. Intellect is God's gift
for you to discriminate, judge, decide and thus to be discreet. But, when it
turns selfish, it is called "individual discrimination". But, what is
expected is "fundamental discrimination", which is universal, and is
good to everybody. You will also know that Buddhi, intellect, does not
exist in deep sleep. So, definitely you are not the intellect which is only an
instrument like the body and the mind.
So, what is
the correct answer to this question, "Who are you"? It is "I am
Atma". This Atma is the eternal witness and is the experiencer of all. This
exists in all the three states of consciousness, jagrata - waking
state, svapna, dreaming state, and susupti, deep sleep. You may be
named in any way, you may belong to any country, you may be of any age group or
profession, etc., but as a matter of fact, you are the `Eternal Atma' only. This
is the correct answer you get in the path of self-enquiry. This is true
Swami! What is Vedanta?
The Veda is dualism. Vedanta is nondualism. There is nothing beyond Vedanta.
Milk on curdling becomes curds. You get butter when you churn curds. When you
heat butter, you get ghee. Ghee is the final stage of milk. Even if you heat
further it remains the same. So, milk after passing through changes becomes
ghee. Milk represents dualism and ghee represents non-dualism.
Swami, do you view that the three schools of Vedanta philosophy like dualism,
dvaita, qualified non-dualism visistadvaita and non-dualism advaita
as contradictory to one another? Does one school advocate just the opposite of
what the other says?
This is how it is usually understood and practiced by many. But, truly speaking
it is not so. In fact; these three are integrated. You find one as being the
continuation of the other. You will notice that one leads to the other.
for example, sugarcane. You find juice in the sugarcane. Here, there is pulp and
juice. This is the state of dualism. Now, you can extract juice separating the
pulp from the sugarcane. The juice, though very important and the very essence
drawn out of the sugarcane, does not stay long or cannot be preserved for long.
This state of obtaining the juice, separating the pulp from the sugarcane is the
state of qualified non-dualism. This juice is purified, refined and
processed into sugar and sugar remains the same forever. This is the state of
non‑dualism. You can make use of sugar in anyway you like.
Swami! One cannot escape from the effects of fate or destiny. Things are
pre-ordained, and accordingly events happen in our life. This being
inevitable, we suffer and face difficulties. Would you please tell us the way
out of this?
Everything in life is nothing but a reflection of your own thought and deed of
your earlier life or lives. You pretend happily to think that none can notice
you. But God within you knows full well all your thoughts, feelings and deeds.
God is everywhere. You cannot hide anything from Him. One day or other you must
face the consequences of your actions. This is the supreme truth.
think and blame someone else, holding him responsible for your troubles .You are
thoroughly mistaken here. Your actions are responsible for both the good and the
bad you experience in this life. God is an eternal witness of all human
activities. He created this world and gave it to man for his enjoyment, but on
one condition that he must face the consequences of his own actions. God is like
a postman. He is least bothered about the contents of the letters that he hands
over to people. It is all a matter of relationship that exists between you and
the one who writes you a letter. God is not concerned in any other way about the
matter. Well, you receive a wedding card, you don't pay complements to the
postman, do you? If you receive a threatening letter from someone, you don't
blame the postman either. The postman is merely an instrument in the process of
delivering letters. But prayer does help you to withstand tensions and problems
with courage. Intense prayer, deep devotion, strong faith, sincere repentance,
constant yearning and supreme love for God can alter the sequence of events in
life. They can make even God reverse His own will. Take for example, the life of
Markandeya. Fate granted him only sixteen years of life. But his devotion to
Lord Siva was so intense that He made him immortal. God had to review and revise
His own master plan in response to the prayers of Markandeya.
another example. There is a prisoner punished according to the laws of the penal
code. During the period of imprisonment, if the character and conduct of the
prisoner are found to be good and if he follows all the rules, regulations, and
code of discipline imposed by the jail authorities, there is scope for the
reduction of his jail term. There is another point you should note. Suppose the
appeal of a person in a criminal case is lost in all the courts from the
district level to the High Court even the Supreme Court, and when punishment
like death sentence or life imprisonment becomes imminent and inevitable, the
President of India can still order his release from jail on grounds of mercy and
for special reasons. Similarly, though you are bound to suffer and destined to
face difficulties as a result of your past actions, God in response to your
sincere prayer and repentance will change the course of your life and save you
from your suffering. God confers special grace on you being pleased with your
single-minded devotion to Him.
Swami! Bhagavad Gita wants us to give up the fruits of our actions,
karmaphalaparityaga, both good and bad. Since we do good rarely, there is very
little or none to offer you as the fruits of our good actions. We feel that it
is not proper to offer evil or bad to you. What is to be done?
You have to surrender both good and bad to God. Never get yourself attached to
the results of your actions, be they good or bad. God is beyond these two
opposites as He is non-dual. Any water, pure or impure when mixed with
small example. Suppose you have a five hundred rupee currency note in your
pocket, and you need to go out on some business and return later. You will be
very careful to see that you do not lose it. You keep your hand on the pocket if
you go to a cafeteria for a cup of coffee so that no one will pick your pocket.
Even in a theatre, you will be vigilant. But on the other hand, if you deposit
that money in the bank, it will be credited to your account and it will be safe.
Then, you don't need to bother about it further. So also, if you surrender all
the good you have done to God without attaching any value to the results, what
happens is that you will be humble and simple. Here you do not take the credit.
You thank God. You are full of thankfulness and gratitude to God. But if you own
and claim the results of all your good and meritorious deeds, you will feel that
you are the doer, so much so you will become proud and egoistic. Hence, you
should surrender the reward of your good actions to God.
how about the evil or bad to be offered to God? You may feel that it is not
proper to do so. Yet, you will notice that it will help you finally. A small
example for you in this matter. Suppose you have with you a spoiled, dirty and
half-torn five hundred rupee note. You don't throw it away as it is a
valuable currency note. But you have not been able to use it. No one will accept
that note. You are not in a position to buy anything. So, you can neither throw
it away nor use it. But, if you deposit the very same currency note in the
Reserve Bank, they accept it and give you a brand new note. One thing is very
necessary. The number on the currency note should be very clear for them to
accept and give you a good note. Similarly, the currency note of your deeds and
consequences of your bad action, if offered to God, He will see the `number' of
`devotion' on the note and give you in turn the good note or transform you. God
is the Reserve Bank. Only God can receive your evil tendencies and misdeeds and
transform them into good ones and give them back to you. Hence, both good and
bad must be offered to God for your own ultimate benefit.
Swami! All the experiences, which are dual, are obtained due to our mind. Swami
says `Mind is a mad monkey.' Pleasure and pain are both due to our mind. How are
we to kill the mind (manonasanam), annihilate it?
The mind never makes you suffer; it all depends upon the way you use it. It is
everywhere. It takes the form of that into which it gets. It is deathless. So,
it is said that the mind is the world, manomulamidam jagat. Therefore,
annihilation of the mind, manonas'anam is not correct. What you should
desire is the merger of the mind with the divine, manolaya .
as the river merges in the mighty ocean, the mind should also merge in the Self
. The mind surrendered to God becomes Ramadas, servant of Rama. But the mind
full of desires is a slave to the organs, kamadas.
mind should not be allowed to be lured by what we call in Telugu balimi,
strength, kalimi, wealth and celimi, friendship. It should be
filled with divine thoughts so that it may become one with God.
Swami! Are there any who attained tadatmya with God? We hear that total
identification with God is the highest step in spirituality.
Yes. There are many who experienced that state of total identification with God.
In fact, a devotee should aim at it. There was a Westerner by name, Hen, who was
very intelligent. The famous scientist, Darwin, was his guru. He started seeing
his guru by contemplating on him continuously.
also must have heard of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. At one time, while
worshipping Lord Sri Rama, he considered himself Hanuman. It is reported that he
developed a short tail during that time.
also find another illustration in the great epic Ramayana. Bharata wanted
Rama to come back to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom. He pleaded with him
repeatedly. But, Rama refused to return, since he had decided and vowed to
follow the command of his father and follow dharma in toto. Bharata left the
place, after Rama promised that he would return immediately after the period of
exile. The period was almost over and Bharata was expecting Rama to return at
the appointed hour. Unable to bear the anguish at seeing no sign of Rama's
arrival, Bharata got ready a funeral pyre and was prepared to jump into it ready
for self-immolation. In the meantime, Rama had sent Hanuman in advance
with a message to Bharata in order to avert this situation and to inform Bharata
of his arrival as he had promised before. Hanuman immediately dashed off to
Nandigrama where Bharata was staying. As Hanuman was just landing, he noticed
the scene there. Bharata was circumambulating the pyre into which he was about
to jump and burn himself. Hanuman thought, "How is it that Rama is here?
Why is Rama circumambulating the pyre?" Evidently, it means that Bharata
looked exactly like Rama due to his constant meditation on him. This left even
Hanuman confused. This is the meaning of what the Veda says, "Brahmavid
brahmaiva bhavati" Constant awareness of Brahman makes you Brahman.
the end of the Ramayana, after he had killed Ravana, Rama was returning
to Ayodhya along with his consort Sita and Lakshmana in a chariot. Bharata
himself was driving the chariot. As the chariot was approaching the
outskirts of Ayodhya, the inhabitants were eager to receive Rama, Sita and
Lakshmana with garlands. Here again, the people were confused since Bharata,
holding the reins of the chariot, looked exactly like Rama. When the people were
about to garland Bharata mistaking him for Lord Rama, Bharata had to silently
and softly point out to Rama with his folded hands as to who should be
garlanded. This is again an instance of total identification, tadatmya .
is another example. You must have heard of Swami Samartha Ramadas, the preceptor
of emperor Sivaji. Like Bharata, Swami Samartha Ramadas also looked for some
time exactly like Lord Rama in his form as well as in his manner of walking with
the bow and arrow on his shoulders. People, watching this, were amazed, and one
of them asked him, "Swami! If you are really Lord Rama, can you shoot the
bird sitting over there on a branch located on the top of that distant
tree?" Ramadas killed the bird with an arrow. It fell on the ground.
Someone said then, "Swami! You have killed the bird for no reason. It did
no harm to you. Rama, known for compassion, never kills anyone without a valid
reason. Can you revive it now?" Then, the Swami collected the dead bird
with both his hands and lifted it. He prayed for its life. Lo and behold! The
wings started to flutter. The bird moved slowly and finally flew away. All
present there joined in a chorus shouting in praise of the Swami, "Jai!
Samartha Ramadas Ki Jai," Our praises to Swami Samartha Ramadas! This is an
instance of total identification with God.
Swami! You are referring to anubhavajnanam, practical knowledge. We think we
know many things. Is this not wisdom?
Certainly not! The
pity is that you do not realise that you do not know. You know very little and
what you know is at best negligible. But you think you know everything. What you
study is very little and it is a big mistake if you think that you know
everything. It is foolish too. There is a lot to be known. What you know is but
a fragment, and it is not total knowledge.
look! What is this? This, as you see, is a handkerchief. (At this point, Swami,
kept the handkerchief in his grip and held it in such a way that only a bit
could be seen outside his fist.) Now, what is this? This is only a piece of
cloth. It is not the whole kerchief. (Then Swami spread the kerchief and held it
in His hands). Now, what is this? You will say, "It is a kerchief'. Seeing
only a bit, you cannot call it a handkerchief. So also, acquiring a little
knowledge, you can hardly claim to have attained total knowledge. This is a
mistake the educated commit in this modern age. They know a little and claim to
know everything. Complete or total knowledge is awareness, and not knowledge of
a bit or a fragment. This you should remember. Go in for the whole. Be aware!
Swami! When does a devotee get total experience?
Bhakti finds its fulfillment in. mukti Till then, we can't say
that a devotee has got total experience. Total experience is purnan ubhavam,
advaitanandam, a state of non-dual bliss, brahmanandam, Supreme
bliss, and nityanandam, eternal bliss. A simple example, A river flows
incessantly. There may be a number of obstacles in its way. Yet, the river flows
on taking different turns. It overcomes the obstacles and proceeds forward. How
long and how far? It must reach the ocean and merge in it. The ocean does not
permit the merger so easily. It drives away the river or pushes it out. Still
the river does not give up its attempt. Finally, as the ocean tides rise the
river merges. When layam, sayujyam, merger of the two takes place, there
the river finds vis'ranti and prashanti, rest and peace.
is the relationship between a devotee and God. The flow of devotion leading to
merging in God is Sadhana. The river merging in the ocean is the merger
of the individual Jiva with Brahman, which is known as jiva -brahmaikyata; a state of perfect merging or unison of jivatma
and paramatma or Jiva and Brahman.
Swami! What is wisdom?
Wisdom is not textual information. Wisdom is not scholarship. Wisdom is not
preaching. Wisdom is not verbal or vocal. Wisdom is not an academic Master's
degree or Doctorate. Wisdom is practical experience. Wisdom cannot be stuffed
into the head. Wisdom is what enables you to identify your own mistakes, faults,
and defects, corrects them and leads you towards not repeating any errors of the
Swami! In the big human body, where is the source of life located?
You think it is the heart. No. Don't you know that today surgeons can do heart
transplantations also? Even while it is done, the patient doesn't die. Then
where is the life principle that keeps you living? In the spinal column between
the 9th and 12th vertebrae, there is the life principle that acts as the main
the mantrapus pam it is clearly indicated: vidyullekheva bhasvara,
lightning or electric current acts as the life centre.
Swami! What are the main principles of life?
A newborn baby cries, but a grown-up man should part from this world
smiling. Do you know why the baby cries? It cries because of the misfortune that
lies ahead of it, a long, troublesome and problematic life. In the words of Adi
Shankara, punarapi jananam punarapi maranam, punarapi janani jathare
is born again and again, life after life. So, the infant cries. But at its
birth, its parents, its relatives and elders celebrate, smile and distribute
sweets don't they? Life begins with a question, koham, who am I? But, it
should find an answer soham, I am He, I am God, before it ends. We get
the answer, through Sadhana, spiritual practice or exercise. There is no
point in going through the question paper again and again. without finding the
can in one way divide life into three phases morning,
celibacy is the foundation over which a three-storied building, with the
first floor, the stage of a householder, the second floor that of a recluse and
the top floor that of a renunciant is built. Thus, for the mansion, celibacy is
the foundation. By the time a person becomes fifty years old, he should have
full control over his five organs of action, karmendriyas by the time he
is sixty he should have conquered all the six weaknesses, kama, desire, krodha,
anger, lobha, greed, moha, infatuation mada, pride, and matsarya,
the age of seventy, after overcoming the weaknesses, he is revered as one of the
seven sages, saptaris is, like the seven notes of music, saptasvaras,
and the seven seas, saptasamudra. At the age of eighty, having followed
the eight paths of yoga astanga yoga, he shines like the eight lords of
the directions as tadikpalakas. At the age of ninety, life shines like
nine precious gems, navaratnas having followed the nine paths of
devotion. At the age of hundred, he is master of the five organs of perception,
and the five organs of action, and is divine having experienced divinity in
depth, brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati.
should also know another point. Whatever you do, it is for your own satisfaction
and not for other people's. In other words, it is for your self-satisfaction.
You put on new clothes. For whom do you wear them? It is for your satisfaction
that you wear a new dress. You construct a new house. For whom? It is for you
only, isn't it? You eat an apple not for the benefit of the apple; it is for
your own satisfaction.
that Self is God. You have to play well your role in the drama of your life.
Swami is Sutradhari, the director while you are the actor, patradhari.
Consider this an opportunity. Lead your life in an ideal way and get a good
name in society. God should say that you are good. This is what is said in the
Gita, manman a bhava madbhakto madyaji mam namaskuru. Don't pray for the
fulfilment of desires. Pray to be with Him and Him alone. Then. everything else
will be added unto you. Be always humble and respectful.
are four main principles you should know and follow in life. The first principle
is tyaja durjana samsargam, run away from bad company. The second
principle is bhaja sadhu samagamam, be always in good company. If
necessary, you better lose or pay money if you must in order to avoid bad
company. You should never be separated from good, pious and noble people.
third principle is smara nityamanityatam, bear in mind always what is
impermanent or transitory. In other words, distinguish that which is divine from
the one that is temporal. You are gifted with intellect for discrimination and
judgment. Discriminate between what is transient, perishable and dual and what
is eternal; immortal and non-dual.
fourth principle is kuru pun yamahoratram , do meritorious deeds day and
night. The body is meant for serving others. Paropakararthamidam sariram.
SATYOPANISAD VOL - I [Part II, Chapter-V] by Anil Kumar Kamaraja