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Lead A Meaningful and Virtuous Life

[Divine Discourse by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Prashanthi Nilayam on the 3rd October 2000 on the occassion of Dasara]

There is no disease more fatal than greed.
There, is no foe more dangerous than anger.
There is no grief more miserable than poverty.
There is no joy greater than wisdom.

Embodiments of Love!

In this world, we find the quality of greed in everyone to some extent. Though man has got plenty, he is neither able to enjoy it himself nor share it with others. This quality of man is miserliness. If this is the case, what are these riches for? Today man does not have any good qualities or thoughts. But he has anger in plenty. For man, there is no greater enemy than his own anger. This anger is very powerful. It robs man of his human quality and distances him from Divinity.

For man there is no other misery worse than poverty. Miserliness is the cause for man's suffering. Though he is wealthy, for all practical purposes, he becomes a pauper or beggar because of his miserliness. But the man of wisdom has the quality of Bliss. Being a wise man, he does not know what greed is. But for an ignorant man, life on this Earth is filled with anger, misery, poverty and wisdom.

Though modern man knows everything, in daily life he does not practice it. He appears to be totally ignorant. For example, yesterday in My discourse, I said that students should not address the audience as 'Brothers and Sisters' artificially, without meaning it. Today speakers changed their way of addressing itself and avoided the usage of these words. Today they started addressing the audience as 'Devotees', 'august assembly' and so on. This is a mistake. 'Brothers and Sisters' is the correct phrase. Every student considers Swami as Mother, Father, and says so. When once Swami is Mother of you, aren't these people 'brothers and sisters' for you? It is not wrong to address the assembly as 'Brothers and Sisters'. Vivekananda too addressed the gathering in Chicago as 'Brothers and Sisters' in the true spirit of Indian Culture. In the Bhagavad Gita it is said that,

Tvameva maata cha pitaa tvameva
Tvameva bhanduscha sakhaa tvameva
Tvameva vidya dravinam tvameva
Tvameva sarvam mamadeva deva

So, when God is both Mother and Father, all are certainly brothers and sisters. Why don't you have a broad mind and noble feelings? Even though you have a broad mind, you are not able to understand these things properly. Had you understood this, you would not have changed your way of addressing today. Truly speaking all are brothers and sisters. This is the truth. Let anyone say anything, never swerve from the path of truth. Today students are not able to understand the meaning of certain words. They blindly follow whatever is told to them.

Dear students!

Consider all as your brothers and sisters. God only is your Father and Mother. Let anyone say anything; never change your conviction. You should have such firm faith and propagate this fundamental truth of brotherhood.

In this world there is no greater malady than miserliness. This can be understood from the history of Bharat. In Mahabharata, Duryodhana and Dussashana were very powerful and wealthy rulers. Yet they were lacking in good qualities. Their greed was responsible for their ruin and that of their entire clan. So wicked qualities not only ruin a person but also bring bad name to his kith and kin. We can derive happiness only when we share with others whatever we have. Vedas also proclaim this, "Na Karmana Na Prajaya Dhanena Tyagenaikena Amrutatva Maanushuhu." Authority and position cannot confer happiness upon man. Only sacrifice confers happiness. But today we don't find even an iota of sacrifice in man. What is the reason? He has become a miser within. The absence of the feeling of sacrifice is due to miserliness. Krishna pleaded with Kauravas to spare at least five villages to Pandavas. When he had this vast country of Bharat, could not Duryodhana have spared five villages? He even refused to give space enough to place a needlepoint. How greedy he was! Actually speaking, the kingdom belonged to Panduraja. Dhritarashtra considered the kingdom as his property, though it did not belong to him, and he refused to give Pandavas their share in the kingdom. His greed was responsible for the war of Mahabharata.

Ramayana also illustrates how the greed for pleasure led to the destruction of Ravana. Ravana was very affluent. He lived in a golden fort. Lanka appeared like heaven. Because of this affluence he developed excessive desires. In spite of being the king of a vast kingdom and having a virtuous wife, he aspired for Sita. Sita was not his property. In fact, she belonged to Rama. She was in the possession of God and Ravana abducted her. Sita was the daughter of Mother Earth and Rama the fundamental basis of Earth. Ravana disregarded this fundamental basis and aspired for Sita because of his lust and greed. This quality of Ravana led to loss of his life, kingdom and riches. Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksha also were victims of anger and greed. What happened to them at the end? They were responsible for the downfall of the entire Rakshasa clan. Today man has lost his character by becoming a slave to lust, anger, greed, arrogance and desires. When a child is born, the lap of the mother is its school and temple. It is safe and happy in the mother's custody. Because once it leaves the lap of the mother and submits itself to the world, suffering becomes its lot.

Embodiments of Love!

In our daily life we have to recognize the Truth relating to happiness. Everyone aspires for something or the other. He doesn't recognize that all that he aspires for is there within him. Man today focuses his vision outward. He probes into the external world. So he is not able to recognize the Truth. Man is deluded by the thought that sacred qualities are outside him. Peace, happiness, purity and bliss are there within him. His outward vision is the root cause of his worries. Once he turns his vision inward, he can find everything within. Today God is taken to be present in a temple or Kailasa or Vaikuntha. But where is Vaikuntha? In 'Sumathi Shataks' it is said, 'one's own happiness is one's heaven, one's sorrow is one's hell'. If such is the case, then why do you search outside? You say something but don't practice it because of which you suffer. Speak truth, it gives you happiness. God does not dwell outside. Your heart verily is His residence. But you neglect this aspect and go to temples. You search for God in stone and thus degenerate to the lowest levels of humanness. The day you end your narrow-mindedness, good qualities will blossom in you. These qualities prompt righteousness in your conduct. Righteousness confers unity and unity in turn grants peace. Peace makes you virtuous and this truly is the royal road to the Bliss. Though in possession of virtues, as you don't realize it, you lack peace. O man, Bliss is acquired only by virtues, virtues are conferred by unity and unity is acquired by discipline, which in turn is acquired by righteousness. Hence, we should endeavor to be righteous. Today man doesn't understand the true meaning of 'Dharma'. As you are all children, you should follow the Dharma related to your stage of life.

The best place for a child is its mother's lap. To listen to the mother is best for the child. This child gradually grows to the stage of youth. As youth you should follow the Dharma of the youth, transcending the Dharma of your childhood. For each stage of life there is a corresponding Dharma. Youth leads to adulthood, which in turn leads to old age. The old people should follow Dharma pertaining to their stage of life. It is incorrect to assume that Dharma is the same for everyone. What is the Dharma of youth? It is the character that is important for youth. The end of education is character. Cultivate a heart with good thoughts and a life with good conduct. Your heart and your actions are in your hands. Both joy and sorrow are in your grasp. People with character enrich the country in values. As is the feelings, so does it happen. In the midst of elders, youth should conduct themselves with humility. Humility should be reflected in your speech too. You should aspire to achieve that which befits youth.

Control your vision. This was what Buddha achieved first and foremost. He preached "Samyak Drusthi", Right vision. Right vision leads to Right thoughts, Right thoughts lead to Right Deeds and finally Right Deeds lead to Right Conviction. So, Right vision should be cultivated first. Present day youth say whatever they like, eat whatever they like and do whatever they like. Can they call themselves human with this type of conduct? Unity of thought, word and deed is the hallmark of a true man. Hence aspire for it. Though highly educated, the Kauravas, Ravana, Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu had deficiencies in their character. They could never live peacefully. In fact, Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu were eminent scientists. No scientist of the modern age can equal Hiranyakasipu. While the present day scientists could reach only the moon, Hiranyakasipu could reach even the Pole star. Though he was endowed with the power of the intellect and physical prowess, he lacked virtues. Prowess without virtue is useless. The virtues, which we have to inculcate, are: good thought, good conduct, devotion, discipline and a sense of duty. Start by disciplining your looks first.

Man today aspires for long life but not for a Divine life. It is common among elders to bless the people with long lives. Of what use is such a long life, if it is bereft of virtues? It is useless to aspire for a long life when we lack the basic necessities of life, food, shelter and clothing. It is virtues that give meaning to a long life. There is nothing wrong in aspiring for such a long life.

You tend to waste your time in ritualistic worship without trying to realize the underlying significance. The two boy speakers were praising Swami. I dislike this and get headache whenever I hear such praise. Develop good conduct and inculcate virtues that give Me happiness. Otherwise it becomes a mockery and it amounts to cheating the audience. You describe God as your Mother and Father. Then, why don't you address the audience as 'Brothers and Sisters?' You said, 'the Devotees who have gathered here'. How are you sure they are devotees? This is utter falsehood. When you have considered addressing 'Brothers and Sisters' to be wrong, then calling them 'Devotees' amounts to an even worse folly. I address the gathering as 'Embodiments of Love'. You too can do it. "God created everything on the basis of Truth. The entire creation ultimately merges in Truth. One can never find a place where the effulgence of Truth is not perceived. This is pure, unalloyed Truth." Only when you understand this principle of Truth, the sprouts of truthfulness spring forth in you; otherwise all sorts of artificialities get started. Matters which are relevant and which dispel the worries of people should be told in your talks. You may even narrate your own experiences with Swami. But mere praise is never to My liking. Your speech and your actions should project that you are a devotee of Swami. On the stage, you are a hero; but in practice, a zero. I will be happy if you were a hero in all aspects of your life. Only then I will be happy.

Embodiments of Love!

Unknowingly, you take some wrong steps. Every act of yours should be righteous. But it is not so today. All your thoughts should be truthful. You should broaden your vision and put an end to your selfish desires. God is happy when you lead your lives in this manner. At the same time, realize that God does not wait for you to give Him happiness, for Bliss is His very nature. As it is said, "He is the ever blissful, the highest happiness, the embodiment of ultimate wisdom; He transcends duality as vast as the sky, the goal of all philosophies, the One, the Eternal, the Pure, the Changeless and the Universal Witness."

Everything is present within you. Though your very nature is non-duality, that eternal Bliss is not seen in you. If you are happy for a moment, the rest of the day you are miserable. What is the reason for this? It is because you do all forbidden things. Thus sorrow haunts you. You should develop equanimity, which is the true sign of devotion. Also tenderness and co-operation should permeate your life. Students say co-operation but do only operation. You should live in unity with patience and co-operation. Though you have studied for so many years here, where is the broadness in your feeling? Students are growing physically but not in terms of virtues! Only when you practice virtues, your education finds fulfillment. Your education should mould you to be good; you need not become great.

Rama was a good person. He had acquired mastery over all the types of knowledge. Ravana too was a great scholar but he ultimately destroyed himself by treading the wrong path. You should understand clearly the difference between goodness and greatness. Goodness is seeing Divinity in all, even in a demon, whereas greatness is mistaking the Divine to be human. Ravana saw man in Rama, but Rama recognized the Divinity even in Ravana. He told Lakshmana, "Oh Lakshmana! Ravana is looking like Indra himself in his majesty." Rama felt sad that Ravana was ruining himself because of one bad quality. Even his wife Mandodari disliked his conduct. She advised him, "Oh Ravana! You are a great emperor. You have great strength but you are doing such a mean thing. Why did you bring Mother Sita here? It is the worst sin to abduct another's wife. Just imagine what will be your plight if somebody abducts me? Since you have abducted His wife, Rama has come to wage war against you. It is His duty to do so. Hence it is foolish on your part to be angry with Him."

Today's students are the future citizens. Hence you should develop broad-mindedness and good qualities. Good qualities should also grow along with the body. Witness this real life situation: A calf is born to a cow. As the calf grows, it develops horns. In modern time, acid is applied to these horns to stunt their growth. Similarly, virtues of a man should be cultivated from his childhood. But man today is restricting this growth of virtues by indulging in bad deeds. You are ruining yourselves. All sacred feelings are within us. There are no good qualities, which are not in man. We should try to suppress any ill feeling as soon as it arises. When a thought arises, question yourself whether it is good or bad, right or wrong. Do not be in a hurry to put it into practice. 'Haste makes waste, Waste makes worry, so do not be in a hurry.' You should discard any evil thought by thinking, "I am a man. Being a student, how can I get such a feeling?"

Depending on the situation, you should lift up your head or bow it. When Hanuman went to Ravana, he held his head high and acted as he pleased. He said, "Oh Ravana! I will teach you a lesson. You think yourself to be very great but what you have done is very mean. I submitted myself to lndrajit in order to see your court. Since I am in front of you, I am lifting up my head. But when I am in Rama's presence, I bow down my head since He is full of virtues. I do not care for strength. I respect the virtuous." You should also teach the Truth in the same way. You are not monkeys, though your mind is like a monkey. Transform this 'monkey mind' into 'mankind'. Only then will you become like Hanuman.

You should try to uphold the good and destroy the evil. You should become good students. In this way you should reveal the Truth to the world. We need not fear anything except the Truth. We should live in love. Only then will we become better. Do not be deterred by anything.

You should understand that God does not need your praise. There are so many good people who have praised Him. God does not see your praise. He sees your behavior. Hence your conduct should be good. Develop good qualities. Then you will be a good example for the whole nation. There is nothing wrong in desiring a long life, but you should cultivate good qualities suitably. It is better to have a short and good life than a long and bad one. You should inculcate broad-mindedness. Only then will your long life be meaningful. Today every man prays for a long life when he gets up in the morning. But no one prays for Divine life. Divine feelings should be inculcated for having a long life. These feelings should be practiced in a good way. You are young today. The future of the world rests on your shoulders. You have the strength to bear this weight. You should pray for the welfare of the whole world and not merely for the welfare of Bharat. The whole world is Divine. Hence the whole world should be happy. You should not have any prejudices. You should not hate anybody. Develop equal love for all. Since you are following Swami's words, He loves you. But sometimes He pretends to be angry with you. This is not because of any anger or hatred. This is because of your conduct. Sometimes your conduct displeases Me and hence I do not feel like looking at you. If your conduct is good, I will look at you and talk to you. Hence, mould your behavior. Do not indulge in excessive talk. Too much friendship is bad. Do not have too many contacts. It will destroy you. You have come here to acquire knowledge. Set your mind upon your goal. You do your duty sincerely and I will talk to you. I am doing all this to set your mind right. I do not have any hatred at any point of time. You should not be a hypocrite. You should live your life in humility.

How should a student be? He should be full of humility. Education bestows humility, humility leads to deservedness, deservedness grants wealth, wealth leads to charitable and righteous deeds, and happiness arises from it.

[Bhagavan concluded His discourse with the Bhajan "Govinda Krishna Jai..]

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