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Righteous Practice - the True Sadhana

(Divine Discourse delivered by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on the occasion of the 7th World Conference  on 24th November 2000 at Prasanthi Nilayam.)

Goodness, humanness, morality and one's own culture should be made evident by practice. The one who practices them is the true Sadhaka. This is the truth, which Bhagavan is emphasizing.

 (Telugu Poem)

The world is replete with sacred qualities. Time is of prime importance. The heart is tender, the mind is sweet like nectar. Living in such a brilliant country with multifold virtues, you fail to recognize these. People living in families do not realize that such a soft heart and sweet mind are readily available to them. The family is like a pair of spectacles in front of your eyes. While it may appear to be an obstacle in front of the eyes, the glasses actually help to improve one's vision. You should not be deterred by every obstacle or hardship that confronts you. These are only aids to your Sadhana and not impediments. Sadhakas should hold this truth firmly in mind. As is the fire, so is the smoke (cloud). As is the cloud, so is the rain. As is the rain, so is the crop. As is the crop, so is the food. One can interpret that the tasty food actually emanates from the heat of the heart. The clouds form in conformity with your own feelings of the heart. Rains are dependent on the clouds. You perform actions in accordance with the thoughts in your minds. The fruits correspond to the actions performed. A small example: If you take a small stone and drop into a well, waves form and spread out to cover almost the entire surface of water. They expand so far as to become invisible to your sight. In the same way, a small thought in your mind like the stone dropped in the well produces disturbances pervading the whole mind and from there pervades the whole body. The entire body is affected by the nature of the thought. Your eyes seek such sights as prompted by the thought. Your hands perform acts of a similar nature under the influence of the thought waves. Similarly, your legs are affected and you go to such places as are prompted by the thought in your mind. Therefore, you should cultivate pure and sacred thoughts in your mind. When the pure thoughts enter the heart from the mind, they spread to all the limbs and make the entire body pure. On the other hand, if your thoughts are impure, your whole body is similarly adversely affected with impurity. If everyone in a country has pure thoughts, the entire nation becomes sacred. Therefore, it is important to cultivate sacred thoughts. Humanity is rendered humane if good thoughts are in all hearts.

Similarly, human life becomes sweet. In these days mankind both in mind and heart is filled with impure thoughts. What is the cause for this pervasive impurity? It is bad thought that is the source of evil. While exercising your mind, always enquire first whether the thought is right or wrong, it is pure or impure. It is said that the heart is tender, the mind is sweet and the time is sacred. Under these circumstances wherefrom does the defect arise? It is necessary to ensure that your mind is filled with sacred and pure, soft and sweet thought. Even the great Sadhakas should first of all cultivate a tender heart. This human life, which is God's gift, should not be wasted. God has His own plans for which He has given life to all of you. God intends that each individual should be an ideal for the rest of humanity. You should try to recognize this ideal. These ideals are pure and sacred. The importance of the human heart lies in the presence of such purity and sanctity. When impure thoughts enter our hearts becomes hard and minds become impure and our actions become perverted. Do not all your thoughts and desires pervade your entire body? Is it proper to say one thing and act differently? There are no separate sources for speech and the thought. There is only one single source for the flow of fluids to all parts of the body, which is the heart. When you fill your heart with love, your speech, your actions become pure and sacred. The five Indriyas are like so many taps fed from the central tank. If the central tank is filled with the water of pure thought, how can any impure thought or action arise? When the heart is filled with pure love, the tongue will not utter impure words, the eyes will not see any obscene sights and the ears will avoid hearing profane sounds. Everyone should enquire into how he is wasting his valuable life. You should cultivate good thoughts. If by chance an evil thought has entered your heart, empty it out, clean it with the water of sacred thoughts and fill it up with pure thoughts. In fact, it is not possible for evil thoughts to enter your heart because your heart is the very temple of Divinity. That is why we say, God is the resident of the heart (Hridayavaasi). In every man, the reflection of divinity is present in the heart. The Gita says, Mamaivaamsho Jeevaloke Jeevabhuta Sanathanaha (in the created world all are sparks of the Divine). Born as such divine entities, why should you allow evil thought to enter your mind? Your very speech should be soft. Not only soft and sweet but also truthful. What is the use of uttering blatant lies softly? Tongue is perhaps one of the most important limbs of the human body. Not only is it capable of tasting sweetness, it exudes sweetness in chanting the nectarine names, Govinda, Madhava, Damodhara. The Divine names of God have been gifted to you. The full potentialities of the tongue are achieved while chanting the sweet names of the Lord. It is also possible to visualize the Divine form. There is no part of the body, which is more important than the tongue. Since the entire creation emanates from and is sustained by Truth, the organ for speech has to constantly adhere to truth.

The water bubble, which arises in the water, exists in it for a short time and then dissolves in the same water; Nara is the bubble and Narayana, the water. Such an existence arising from divine purity, existing in it, persisting in it and finally dissolving in the same mass of water, how can anything evil enter it? All water bubbles arise from the water but it is a mistake to consider the bubbles are distinct from the water. Recognize the close relationship between the water bubble and the source of water. None is enquiring into this fact of nature. Just as the water bubble, which emanates from the water and eventually merges in it, man who emanated from Divinity (Narayana) should eventually merge in Divinity itself. Just as the water bubble shares many properties with its source, that is water, man emanating form divinity shares the qualities of Divinity in him. One may ask where from do these evil thoughts arise? They arise out of the physical, external and worldly life. Therefore, one should avoid at all cost the negative aspects of Prakriti.

Our Srinivasan (Member, Central Trust) has reported that delegates from 165 countries have come for this conference. Countries are many but earth is one. The quantity of the number of countries is of little importance. Jewels are many but gold is one. Stars are many but sky is one. Beings are many but breath is one. Only when you recognize this unity amongst diverse objects and phenomena, can you realize divinity. Be it Allah or Jesus or Zoroaster or any other name, it all points to only one Divinity. You should not criticize other people's religious beliefs. Each has its own method and the consequent realization of bliss is according to his/her understanding. First of all, you get rid of all evil qualities and desires. This is what the Vedas proclaimed in the following words: Na Prajaya Dhanena Thyagenaikena Amrutathwamanasuhu (immortality is attained not by wealth, progeny or position, it is attainable only be self-sacrifice). These days one finds only an increasing load of desires with people but no inclination towards self-sacrifice. People forget the interest of their country and increase their personal wants. They ignore the unity and enjoy the multiplicity. Consider your Motherland as your very body. One should rise to such a broadminded approach. Of course, there are people who involve themselves in sacrifice of part of their wealth, but in all such actions, there is an element of selfishness. True sacrifice is that which is made towards Divinity. This vast Hall bas been constructed and the people responsible have sacrificed substantially. It is because of their sacrifice that such a pure and sacred place is available for such a vast assembly of devotees. The assembly in this Hall represents people of diverse countries, diverse religious beliefs and diverse languages. One should sacrifice one's wealth towards such righteous activities. Your act of sacrifice should not result in evil consequences. Ensure that your sacrifice is always in the righteous path. You know a music college has been constructed. This is also useful for the entire world. God is a lover of music and He is charmed by it. It is for the encouragement of such divine music only have we established this musical institution. Just imagine some individual living in some foreign country has come forward to construct this institution in Prashanti Nilayam. How fortunate is he! Do not misunderstand that Swami is indulging in boasting or self-aggrandizement. Elsewhere, you find an element of self-interest in all acts of charity all over the world; but in the Sai institutions, there is no trace of self-interest. In such sacred activities, you may help to any extent. Bhagavan is not soliciting any such help from you. Bhagavan is capable of transforming the entire universe if He so desires. But why Bhagavan is doing all this is to give an opportunity to all of you for making your lives meaningful. There are many wealthy people in the world, not all of them get this thought or idea for sacrifice. Theirs is a misfortune accumulated over several births. What is the use of any amount of wealth, if one cannot carry with him even a fistful of earth! Accumulating wealth with diligence and depositing it all in banks and even accumulating black money, none feels impelled to sacrifice his wealth for sacred purposes. Hidden wealth is no better than dirt. There is no need for such wealth. The heart should be pure and sacred. For this, your sacrifice should be to God. If you go to a shop and buy handkerchief, you pay ten rupees. In the same manner, only when you surrender some of your belongs to God, it is possible for your to gain love or grace or peace. God does not demand anything from you, but you have to perform your own duties. From the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God, if you give a little, you will receive manifold benefits back. There is no need to give any material things; it is enough if you surrender your pure, unsullied love. Reduce your desire for wealth.

Even a millionaire cannot digest gold as food,
If you are beset with ill fortune, even a stick will turn into a snake,
If you are blessed with good fortune, even dirt turns into gold,
A scholar may degrade into an animal, and a dullard can become a great sage,
It is possible that the goddess of misfortune may develop an attraction towards a rich man.
If you are not ordained by destiny, you will not get even a naya paisa.
No, no my friend, keep your desires within bounds,
Join the company of Sai and cultivate a healthy mind 

                                                                                                                                                (Telugu Poem)

Discharge your duties with proper attention. To the extent possible, help others. Once there was an elderly lady, probably on a pilgrimage, traveling by train. As the train was passing over the river Krishna, she threw a few coins into the river. Another well-to-do person in the compartment commented, "What fools these Hindus are, they waste their money by throwing it into the river!" The lady addressed the person, "My son, I am not the fool, but you are. Just imagine how much money you are wasting on tobacco, stimulants and other drinks. I have merely sacrificed two paisa for pleasing God. Do you consider my small sacrifice for pleasing God as foolishness? Remember rivers are the very life-sustaining features. The pure water of these sacred rivers cleanses us, quenches our thirst and makes us pure. Imagine if mere water can confer so many benefits, what benefits God cannot confer. Since you do not have this faith, you do not make any offerings to God." The mindset of the Kali Yuga is to give little and expect in return big rewards like buying a tiny brinjal and asking for a pumpkin free of cost. If your desires are more, you should sacrifice more. We see several beggars outside. Do not give any money to beggars. They may misuse the money given by you for bad purposes. You should first ask, "Friend, what is it you need? If they need cloths, give them if you can. If they are hungry feed them. You should only give what is necessary. Excessive generosity leads to danger. Always avoid extravagance (Athi Sarvathra Varjayeth). You need air to breathe but excessive intake of air will lead to all kinds of complications. When you are thirsty, you must drink water, may be a glassful. Is it possible for you to drink up the waters of the entire Ganga? Therefore, do not indulge in excess nor should you waste. Consume the absolute minimum of whatever is required. Holding your breath without exhaling for too long will ruin your lungs. If the digested food is not excreted, the stomach is spoilt. While you earn, you must also sacrifice a part of it. There is a lot of joy in sacrifice. If anyone is accumulating wealth without any sacrifice, sooner or later, he will be involved in great danger. Thyaga is Yoga and Yoga is Bhoga. Such a Yoga is true enjoyment. All people connected with Sathya Sai Movement should sacrifice to the maximum extent possible. Do not misuse any money in your care. If you come across someone in trouble, find out the cause and then help him to the extent necessary. For the homeless, you can build small houses. For those without an earning even to feed themselves, try to provide them with some means of earning money. Once Jesus and Peter were going in a boat. When they reached the shore, a man approached them saying that he was hungry. Peter gave him a couple of fishes. Then Jesus said, "Peter, why are you giving fish to the needy? If you give him a net, he will be able to catch fish for himself. Truly, it is not practical for you to provide him with fish or for his daily sustenance." Instead of merely satisfying a man's hunger for one day, try to find him a job with which he can earn for his livelihood. Due to the influence of Kali Age people expect rewards without any effort. I am telling you what actually happened in Prasanthi Nilayam. Sometime back, Bhagavan provided a refuge for the physically disabled. Bhagavan was arranging for their food needs daily. A few ladies among them started asking for betel leaves and nuts. Bhagavan granted this requirement also. But these people were not satisfied with mere sustenance. They were more inclined to go to the market and beg and earn money. From the great to the indigent, all are after money. Money comes and goes, morality comes and grows. These are all well known facts to all our members. Knowing this, do not run after money. There are many who come and tell Bhagavan that they want peace of mind. Should God give you peace? The entire universe is pervaded by peace. You yourself are the embodiment of peace. Only, you are not aware of it. Indulging in evil ways, increasing your desires, the peace within is shattered to pieces. God has already provided for all human wants. Wherever you see, you find only good things. But man does not turn his attention to good things of life. Evil things attract him and he trusts only the evil. You are all witness. You have all assembled in hundred of thousands here and arrangements for feeding you all free have been made. How delicious was the food! Bhagavan also partakes of the same food that is given to all of you. The food is not only tasty, but is also pure. The cooks prepare the dishes with great enthusiasm. However, some do not relish this diet and go to five star hotels and pay shamelessly a hundred rupees for food, not worth even a rupee. You should uproot such egoism and ostentation from your being. Take only that much as is necessary to satisfy your hunger. One might say that the poor people are in reality the richest. As their needs are limited, the satisfaction and the peace they enjoy is not enjoyed even by the wealthiest. In fact, peace is satisfaction. Dissatisfaction results in mental distrust. So, reduce your requirements and utilize your surplus resources for righteous purposes. Do you save money solely for the purpose of sending your children and grandchildren to foreign countries? After they grow up, God only knows whether they will go to America or some other world. If foreign education is in their destiny, they are bound to get it. With this kind of excessive desires, man loses his humanity and becomes almost an animal. Humanity should strive towards Divinity not towards animal nature. Why I am saying all these things at such length is to emphasize that if you put into practice whatever has been told to you now, your life will become fruitful and meaningful. Here is another important thing to note. Suppose you have some urgent work, say for example in Delhi or Mumbai, you can travel by flight. Why should you spend so much money for traveling in airplane when you have no urgent work? Instead you can travel by train and save a lot of money, which can be used for some constructive purpose. You may say plane journey is safer than train journey. But don't you hear about plane crashes these days? If the end is destined, you are bound to meet it any way. If you reduce your expenditure, you will lead a peaceful life.

Don't waste money. Misuse of money is evil. Don't waste food, food is God. Many people get food served on the plate in excess and ultimately waste so much of it. It is said, Annam Brahma (Food is Brahma). What is the use of worshipping Brahma if you waste food, which is the very form of Brahma? Similarly, time is God. God is extolled as Kaalaaya Namaha, Kaala Kaalaya Namaha (God is time, God is the master of time). So, don't waste time. Time wasted is life wasted. Don't waste your energy by reading vulgar stories and seeing obscene pictures, by watching television and movies. You can certainly see all that is good. A lot of energy is wasted because of bad thoughts, bad vision, bad hearing and bad speech. Talk to the extent necessary. One who indulges in excessive talk is a fool. Many who participate in congregations keep chatting unnecessarily with people by their side. They do not realize that unnecessary talk leads to waste of energy and puts one to disrepute. God is known as Sabda Brahman, meaning God is in the form of sound. Do not misuse it. Today people are interested in seeing obscene pictures. What is the benefit they get out of it? Nothing at all. So do not see evil.

People go all the way to temples to see the deity, but when they stand in front of the deity, they close their eyes and pray. Such being the case, why should one go to temples at all? When you go to temples, you should keep your eyes open and enjoy the beautiful form of the deity. Even in our Bhajans, Bhagavan finds many of our boys closing their eyes and singing. They are not blind like Surdas! One should see the Divine form and install it in one's own heart. Only then can one grow in devotion. Bhagavan is explaining to you even these minor details so that you may understand them better and put them into practice. Some of these things you may not be aware of. Bhagavan considers is His duty to enlighten you. Rest assured that you will attain Divinity if you translate these teachings into practice. Bhagavan often tells you, My life is My Message. Follow Me Bhagavan loves all. Love is highly sacred. When you develop love, it will gradually get transformed into wisdom. It is because of love that Bhagavan has been bestowing sacredness and Divinity on the people, all these years. Today you have gathered here in large numbers. Have Bhagavan sent any invitation to you? No! It is Bhagavan's love that has attracted you here. Love is the greatest attraction. You have come here to experience the bliss that you are not able to get in your house, town village, state or country. Install the Divine principle in your heart that bestows this bliss on you.

Munde, Munde Mathir Bhinnah (heads vary, so do the feelings). Each one has his own likes and dislikes. What appears good to some people may appear bad to some other. Good and bad are the feelings of your mind. Sai has nothing to do with them. The nature of Sai is love and love alone. You belch what you eat. Likewise, you are responsible for all your bad thoughts. Swami has absolutely no bad thoughts. His word is pure, His actions are pure. His heart is pure. He is purity personified. During all these 75 years, never has He asked anybody for any favor. Yet so many social welfare schemes are being undertaken. How is all this being accomplished? Does Bhagavan earn anything? He does not own property worth even a Naya Paisa. But He has got plenty of property, which you are not aware of. All of you are Bhagavan's property. None else has got this property. All worldly property has a certain limit. But love has no limit. It is the unlimited property. Love alone is responsible for attracting all of you here. All those who have participated in this conference should recapitulate what has been said here and should try to practice at least a little of what has been said here. Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu (may all the denizens of the world be happy). Pray for the welfare of the entire world, not yourself and your family alone. Without the society, how can you and your family exist?

Before the close of this discourse, let Bhagavan tell you a small story. Once there lived a king and queen who looked after the people very well. One day as the queen was applying oil on the king's head, she shed drops of tears. Taking note of this in the mirror opposite to him, the king asked her as to why she was weeping? On his insistence, she replied, "O King! I found a few gray hairs on your head. This is the first message that God sends to man that his end is approaching. The second message is that the vision gets blurred. The third is that the teeth start falling and the last is that there would be wrinkles on the body. Today you have got the first message. That is why I am grief-stricken". The king was one of wisdom. Immediately he set out to the forest and did penance. Lord Narayana appeared before him. The king prayed, "O Lord, your Sannidhi (proximity) is my Pennidhi (wealth). Please shower your grace on me. I want everybody to live in equality in my country. There should not be any difference such as rich or poor. Let there be no dearth of food, clothing and shelter for my people." Lord Narayana replied, "O King, no doubt your desire is very noble. But it is not possible to make everybody equal. In this creation, multiplicity is very essential." The king insisted that his desire be fulfilled. Lord Narayana ultimately relented to the king's request. On his return, the king noticed that his kingdom had undergone a great change. Wherever he saw, he found palatial buildings. People were traveling only by cars and airplanes. He did not find anybody walking on the roads. When he reached his own palace, he found the road opposite to the palace was very dirty. He did not find any watchman or a sweeper. Then he immediately called the queen and told her to send word for a sweeper. She replied that the sweeper, the barber, the dhobi and the cook were not reporting to duty as they became wealthy overnight and did not feel the need to work any more. Then the king realized that it was a mistake on his part to have asked for such a boon from Narayana that all should be equal. The queen also felt that it was not possible to live in this world without the dualities of rich and poor, good and bad. She too went to the forest and did penance. When Lord Narayana appeared before her, she asked, "What is the boon that you gave to my husband?" Narayana replied that the king wanted all his people should live in affluence like him. Then the queen said, "O Lord, what is the use if people under such a noble king are bad? Kindly transform all the people into noble ones. Let the king as well as his people live for 100 years." Lord Narayana, pleased with her broadmindedness, said, "You too will live happily for 100 years." The queen returned to the kingdom and told the king about what had happened. But still the problem continued as the barbers, dhobis and cooks were not available. The king again went to the forest and prayed to Narayana. " O Lord, what I had desired from you was utterly wrong. I am paying the price for not paying heed to Your advice. Please restore the kingdom to its original position." Narayana said, "So shall it be." The king realized that happiness lay in union with God, not in material comforts. When the king entered his kingdom, everything appeared normal. The sweepers, barbers and all others belong to the different strata of society were discharging their duties as usual. Thus, you see that whatever God does is sacred and for your own good. It is not proper on your part to remember God only in times of misery. Sukha Dukhe Same Kruthwa Labha Labhau Jaya Jayau (treat pleasure and pain, success or failure alike). Under any circumstances, your love for God should not waver. Your faith should be steady.

Students and Delegates!

Experience bliss by practicing at least one or two of what you have heard here and share the bliss with others. Pray for the welfare of the entire world. Sathya Sai Organization is meant to emancipate the world. Being members of such an Organization, you should take part in activities that will uplift the society. Mere lip service will not serve the purpose. Put into practice all that you have learnt in this conference. World peace cannot be achieved through prayers and rituals. It can be attained only when your behavior is good. Practice before you preach. That is true devotion, that is true service. Revive the ancient culture of Bharat and transform it into the land of Divinity. Only then will your lives be sanctified.

[Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, "Hari Bhajana Bina Sukha Santhi Nahi."]

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