Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 10
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! In this Age of Kali, devotion, faith and steadfastness are on the decline. Not only this, we often find people making fun of devotees and leading a life opposed to religious norms. This is a very sad state of affairs. What do you want us to do in these circumstances?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: First of all, correct yourself. Rectify your own defects and mistakes. When you are not flawless and idealistic you have no right to blame anybody and point out the mistakes of others. So, see that your own faith is strong, deep and unflinching.
In Andhradesa there lived three Rajus, kings in their own field of activity: the king of poetry, Goparaju, the king of devotion, Tyagaraju, the king of sublime lyrical music, Potaraju. Potaraju refused to dedicate his rendering of the great work, the Bhagavatam to the king who promised him immense wealth as a token of his appreciation of the work. But Potaraju or Potana dedicated his work only to Lord Ramachandra.
Goparaju or Ramadasu (also called Gopanna) spent all the money he had in the treasury for the renovation of the temple of Rama, for which he was severely punished. Tyagaraju considered ramuni sannidhi, proximity to God, more precious than nidhi, money. All these three Rajus followed their chosen paths out of their deep conviction about the supremacy of God. They worked and suffered for their own selfsatisfaction and for the satisfaction of their own conscience. They did not bother about the views and opinions of others. They did not yield to temptations of any sort.
Dogs may bark watching an elephant passing by, but the elephant loses nothing. You know the vastness of a sea. Have you not heard the puranas proclaiming that amrta, nectar, and halahala, poison, are produced by the same ocean? Amrta makes you happy while poison is dangerous. Isn’t it so?
Similarly, society is like a vast ocean where you have nectar-like good people and poison-like bad people. Bad people make fun of good people. It doesn’t mean that you should give up your nobility and goodness.
A crane may make fun of a swan. The singing of a cuckoo bird is horrible to the ears of a crow. A koel eats the tender leaves of a mango tree while a crow eats the bitter leaves of a neem tree. Similarly, some in society struggle for worldly, fleeting and sensual pleasures while others make all sincere efforts for God’s grace to enjoy divine bliss. A donkey that carries a bundle of sandalwood on its back doesn’t know the fragrance of the sandalwood. A buffalo doesn’t know the taste of beaten rice. Similarly, divinity is not relished by all and sundry.
If you deny God, it means you are denying yourself. You are not different from God. You are God. Your praise and blame don’t affect God. The good and bad of your own actions come back to you as reaction. The axe cuts the sandalwood tree that has not done any harm to the axe. Because of this evil deed, the axe loses its sharpness for which it is kept in fire and hammered. The sandalwood tree does not subject the axe to any punishment. So it is the action of the axe that comes back as reaction.
Consider another example in this context. When gold is burnt in fire it shines brilliantly. But, as a reaction the goldsmith has to suffer because ash falls into his eyes in the process of burning the gold and his own clothes become dirty due to smoke. Here, the gold burnt and hammered does not punish the goldsmith. His own action punishes him. Similarly, if you accuse or blame or deny God, it will not do anything to Him. But, your action will come back to you as reaction. You punish yourself.
Suppose you throw some dust at the Sun, what happens? It falls in your eyes only. If you switch on an electric fan, you will enjoy the cool breeze. If you don’t switch on the fan, it will not lose anything. It suffers no loss. If you switch on the bulb you’ll get light. But, if you don’t switch on the bulb, the bulb suffers no loss. Therefore, good and bad depend only on you. Just as you can buy any material object in this world with money, similarly with the money of God’s name, you can be blissful. Under a streetlight, you will be able to see all around including the bulb that illumines. Similarly, divinity makes you happy and everybody around you too. So, deepen your faith in God. Experience divine bliss. That’s what you should do.
Fruits can’t protect themselves. It is the tree that protects the fruits it bears. The tree is protected and kept green by its roots. If you supply water and manure to the roots, they protect the tree, which in its turn protects the fruits. Isn’t it so? God is the root of this world. If you surrender to God, everything will be taken care of.
People with worldly thoughts can’t relish divine feelings. A person from the fish market can’t imagine who a jeweller is. A sea has most precious gems at its bottom but the seawater is full of salt. Isn’t it? Similarly, we have people of different temperaments in this world. God is never against anyone. There are none close to or distant from Him. All are alike to Him. You may hold a jasmine flower by either your right hand or left hand. But it smells equally well in either hand. God is that one who is in all.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! In spite of a long period of desiring to be devoted to God, devotion somehow does not grow as intense as it should. What is essential to develop devotion of the magnitude and intensity expected of a true devotee?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Here it is not time that matters. An iron ball in a pond, however long it might stay there, will never change. It will remain as it is without any change in it. You should know that it is transformation that is important. It is the goal you set for yourself that matters most. Until then, you should pursue your goal not mindful of the time involved.
You know a lamp has a container, a wick, and oil. With a wick kept for long in water, you can never light a lamp even if you use any number of matchsticks. Impossible! What you should do is, take the wick out of water, keep it in sunshine for some time and dry it. Then you will be able to light the wick easily. Here the process of drying the wick in sunlight is renunciation. The procedure of lighting it with a matchstick is sadhana and the light you get thereby is devotion or intense Love for God. The lamp is the human body. The same process is applicable to those who are not devoted, as you have said. The more they are drenched and drowned in worldly life, the farther they are from God, the source of all light; they can never light the lamp of their life. Dry it in the sunshine of detachment so as to be benefited by the light of devotion. Some people in spite of a prolonged period of stay and association are not devoted as much as they should be, for the simple reason: They lack detachment from worldly things. Therefore, intense devotion is not given to everybody.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We beg you to suggest to us a spiritual path that can be followed in the present circumstances. The situation around us seems to be dispiriting. Kindly give us the direction?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is said that man is the most precious among all the living creatures. Therefore, it is imperative on your part to lead your lives in full realisation of the value of life. For example, in the kitchen you make dal to eat for lunch. If salt is added in excess by mistake, the dal loses its taste. It is unfit for consumption any more. After all, the foodstuff, which is digested in three hours or so, is kept aside if it is not tasty. Then how about a long life? Should it not be tasty?
Suppose you are waiting at the bus stand to board the bus that takes you to your office and the bus is delayed. You lose your patience. Then, imagine how you start feeling about this delay. “What! Drivers don’t have a sense of responsibility in this country. Conductors too don’t discharge their duties properly. The Road Transport Corporation is not efficient; the Government seems to be lenient towards them”. A bus is lifeless; it is a vehicle and a means of transport. Man, on the other hand, is the embodiment of awareness: He is active and intelligent. If such a man forgets his human value, and leads life unbecoming of a human being, don’t you know that society will blame him?
Man has 85% of divinity while an animal has only 15% latent in it. It is only a human being who has a chance to realise and experience his divinity. Just as a stone dropped from above falls to the ground due to the unseen gravitational force, the unseen values and virtues should guide man. For this, however, determination is required.
Another example. Here you find a machine. If it is not put to use, it gets rusted. Don’t you think that similar is the case with the human body if it is not used properly? It is because of dust that the machine gets rusted. Is it not? Due to this it loses its power and rusts. Then you keep the machine in a workshop and give it rest. There you repair, test and make it fit for use. Isn’t it so? Now, what should you do? See that the dust of bad thoughts does not get into you. Why? Your faith otherwise begins to shake and becomes unsteady. Take your mind to the workshop of surrender to God for rest. Then, you are the best.
Hence, you should always preserve and maintain human values. In fact, no spiritual path can be practiced with a sense of ego. Since all the methods adopted by you are done with your mind, ego, or ‘Iness’, you couldn’t progress spiritually till now.
Some begin sadhana, identifying themselves with the body, aham dehosmi. This will never take you to the true spiritual goal. Ravana, Kamsa, Bhasmasura, and others belong to this category. Some expect progress by changing even their faith and religion. It is not matamu, religion, which is to be changed. It is mati, the mind that has got to be changed. You are the embodiment of love. Don’t merely be a lover and narrow down the vistas of love. To feel and experience the same divinity in all living beings is true love.
One day Krishna decided to lead his cows to a nearby forest for grazing. He asked Yasoda to permit him to do so. Then, she said, “My dear son! All along the way to the forest, you find rocks, thorny bushes and stones. Better, you go tomorrow. I will get your footwear ready for you”. Smiling, Krishna said, “Mother! Do I need footwear? Why and what for? Cows don’t have any footwear. Then why footwear for me alone?” Yasoda said, “Look! They are animals. We are human beings. We need chappals.” Krishna responded with a fitting reply, “Mother! You mean to say cows are ordinary simple animals. Do we have as much gratitude as they have? They eat grass and yield milk. The moment they hear any voice they stop grazing and run towards me. Calves even stop sucking milk and come to me. Their skin is useful after their death to make chappals”. Cows are symbols of sacrifice and forbearance. Such noble qualities are very essential for spiritual seekers.
In agriculture, the land is ploughed well, watered and manured, weeds removed, and seeds sown. The human heart is a field. This has to be tilled and watered with love. You have to take the plough of self-enquiry to plough the field of the human heart. You have to raise the fence of discipline. Bad qualities are the weeds that have to be removed totally. Then you can cultivate the crop of bliss. It is enough if you have a small area of fertile land. Why have many acres of barren land?
A small example, you see an orange fruit. It is covered with a green bitter rind or skin. This is ego or pomp. You find hard seeds inside. They are the wicked thoughts and bad actions. Then you find the fibrous soft pulp.This is attachment. In order to have the sweet juice you need to remove the outer bitter skin, the hard seeds and squeeze the soft fibrous pulp. The sweet juice is love that you need. This is the essence, raso vai sah.
You need both the positive and the negative wires for the electric current to flow. The negative may be very powerful. It is powerless without joining the positive. The fan and bulb may be very good and of high voltage. But without power supply they are useless. This current is positive. Divinity is positive. The bulb and the fan are merely negative. All that pertains to the name and form is negative. Your journey on the spiritual path will be successful if only there is love. You have to reform yourself first. This transformation is not taking place today.
You can carve a statue out of a boulder. By removing the husk, you can have the grain. With the vegetables you bring from the market, you can cook well and make good delicious items of food. Difficulties, pain, blame, loss, etc., will help to refine you, improve you, nurture faith and take you to spiritual heights.
You have to face and resolve all problems of life and proceed in your sadhana. Follow your own experience and develop visvasa, faith thereby. Can you breathe svasa, on behalf of anybody? You see with your own eyes, don’t you? The eyes of the other man may be bright and beautiful. You cannot see through his eyes. Can you close your eyes and see through the eyes of somebody else? You have to stand on your own legs and not on anybody else’s.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! At times it appears that others may influence and lead us to a total change in our life style, making us ask ourselves the question, ‘Why should not we be like others? For what should we adopt this special type of living?’ I am afraid we may change! What is to be done now?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: This is not proper and can’t be justified either. In fact, it is your innate weakness that brings about change. If your faith is strong and your value deep-rooted, none can do anything to you. You will not change at any time. But your faith is not strong, and the values you speak about are only superficial.
At any point of time, under any circumstances you should not change your moral and spiritual way of life. If anyone comes to you and says, “There is no God,” what should you say then? Then you reply, “You may deny your God, but what right do you have to deny my God? How can you negate my faith and devotion?” You should never change your convictions.
A boy saw a scorpion that fell into a tank struggling to come out. He went and picked it up. The scorpion stung him. Immediately he dropped it back into the tank. On seeing it struggle there, he picked it up to save it. But it stung him again. The process went on and on. An elderly person watching the whole scene asked him, “Oh boy! Why do you want to save the scorpion when it is stinging you?” He replied, “Sir! The scorpion is teaching me a good lesson. When it is not giving up its own nature of stinging, why should I give up my nature of protecting one struggling for life?” So you should not change your nature.
Maitreyi who felt very sad on hearing the difficulties that the Pandavas were passing through in the forest Kamyavana, started thinking like this: “It is true that noble people suffer! What a lesson does a parrot in a cage teach us! A crow flies freely, but it doesn’t mean that we are prepared to lead the life of a crow rather than that of a parrot in a cage. Will a parrot ever become a crow?” Similarly, we should not change our path
In the army, we have thousands of soldiers. But, the Army Chief is the only one who commands. Captains are always a few while their followers are many. It is they, the few, who train the many. This is possible if you don’t leave your path.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! You have complete faith in us. But, our faith in you is wavering: It is not consistently steady and deep. Why is this so?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: “Eko vasi sarvabh utantar atma” God is in everyone moving about with different names and forms. “Deho devalayah prokto ji vo devas sanatanah” the body is the temple. The individual jiva is none other than Deva, the ancient and eternal, sanatana. It is only one God who has manifested Himself as many. I am present in all of you. Since I know this truth, I have faith in you. But you consider yourself separate from me and so your faith is not strong, deep, and unwavering. In fact, I can change you all by Myself. But I don’t. I want to bring about your transformation through and by you.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We are dissatisfied and unhappy when our desires are not fulfilled. Why should it happen to devotees?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: First, put a question to yourself. Can you call yourself a devotee if your sense of happiness and gratification depends on your fleeting desires? In fact, ask yourself, if you have followed the command of God, if you have made Him happy with your faith and devotion. When Swami is happy with you, the whole world will be happy with you. When you displease Swami by your conduct, everyone else will be displeased with you. Act according to Swami’s teachings. Everything will then happen in your favour conferring peace and joy on you.
Question) Anil Kumar: 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?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: 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 srti, 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 many days.
In 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 Krishna 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 srti , 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.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We hear about pancakosas as the five sheaths, pancapran 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 our body?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: 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.
The human body has five sheaths, ‘Pancakosas’. The first one is annamaya kosa, the sheath of food, the second is pranamaya kosa, the sheath of life, and the third is manomaya kosa, the sheath of mind. The fourth is vijnanamaya kosa, the sheath of knowledge and finally anandamaya kosa, 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 kosa is a sheath which covers pran amaya kosa . This encloses manomaya kosa sheath of the mind. This covers vijnanamaya kosa , sheath of wisdom, which encloses anandamaya kosa, the sheath of bliss.
Annamaya kosa is the product of food. The body is annamaya kosa. You have all the behavioural tendencies that result from the food you eat. Then, you have pran amaya kosa composed of the five organs of action, the karmendriyas and five life breaths panca pranas (prana, apana, vyana, udana, samana).
Then comes mano maya kosa , mental sheath consisting of five organs of perception, jnanendriyas, and the mind full of thoughts and counterthoughts sankalpa vikalpa. The fourth is vijnanamaya kos’a, the sheath of knowledge, of sound, touch, form, taste and smell (sabda, rupa, sparsa, rasa and gandha) which constitutes the buddhi, intellect.
The innermost sheath is anandamaya kosa. 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’.
Everyone 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 pancakosas, pancendriyas and pancapranas.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We come across words like manas, mind, buddhi, intellect, citta, consciousness, and ahamkara, 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.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: 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.
Another illustration. Your wife addresses you in Telugu as emandi, “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 ahamkara or egoism when introducing oneself or referring to oneself as ‘I’. All these are one, but named differently according to their function.
What 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.
Another little illustration. Tie up kamadhenu, the wish fulfilling cow, of your body with the pasa, 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 , spirituality.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! You stress cittasuddhi, purification of our heart, but how is one to accomplish it?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You are mistaken here. Citta, heart is always pure. So, where is the need for its suddhi, purification? You only pollute it.
Take 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 cittasuddhi means exercising control over desires.
Upanishad means the “inner” or “mystic teaching”. The term Upanishad is derived from “upa” (near), “ni” (down) and “shad” (to sit), i.e., sitting down near. Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to learn from him/her the secret doctrine. In the quietude of the forest hermitages the Upanishadic thinkers pondered on the problems of deepest concerns and communicated their knowledge to fit pupils near them. The most well known Upanishads are: Aitareya, Brihadaranyaka, Taittiriya, Chandogya, Kena, Isa, Svetasvatara, Katha, Mundaka, Mandukya, Prasna, Kausitaki, Maitrayani, Kausitaki, Muktika and Shakta. The Satyopanishad is the Upanishad of Truth (Sathya) but more specifically the Truth as revealed by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Anil Kumar questions the illustrious Guru and provides us with Sathya Sai Baba’s answers to ponder, ruminate and derive ananda.
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