Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 16
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! The Gayatri mantra is being chanted over many ages here in this holy land. But, we hear that women are prohibited from chanting Gayatri and so are non-brahmins. Should we chant that mantra at specific times and not at any time of our choice and convenience? What is the importance and significance of Gayatri mantra? We shall indeed be very fortunate to hear from your divine lips about this subject.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Everyone must chant the Gayatri. It transcends the barriers of caste, community, sex, nationality, time and space. It is the one mantra that all should repeatedly chant. There are three main things in the Gayatri mantra. First of all, you should know that Bhur Bhuvah Suvah in the Gayatri are not separate worlds. You think, “Bhur Bhuvah Suvah” are three different worlds. It is a mistake to think so. They are within you. ‘Gayamulu’ means senses. Since Gayatri deals with sense control, it is called so. The body has senses of perception and action. This first aspect of Gayatri is called materialisation or Gayatri.
The body can function if only there is life in it. The pulsatory activity is due to life. Therefore, the life principle vibrates in the body, which makes it functional or operational. This second aspect of Gayatri, which is the life force, is called vibration or Savitri.
The third aspect of Gayatri is the primal sound Omkar, which springs upwards from the navel. Om is acombination of three sounds, ‘A’, ‘U’ and ‘M’. ‘A’ is uttered as it starts from the navel. ‘U’ starts from the throat. ‘M’ comes out of the lips. ‘Soham ‘ is chanted in our breathing process though we are unaware of it. This is called ‘Japa Gayatri’.
As we breathe in, we make thesound ‘so’ and as we breathe out the sound ‘ham’ is made. The soham mantra is repeated everyday 21,600 times in our respiratory process. In the mantra ‘soham’, the second sound in ‘so’, i.e., ‘o’ and the second sound in ‘ham’, ‘m’ together constitute ‘om’. This ‘soham’ is repeatedly chanted in all the three states; waking, dream and deep sleep. The entire alphabet is formed out of the mother of letters, the primal sound ‘OM’.
To illustrate this, I give you a small example. In the English alphabet, we have 26 letters from A to Z. All words and sentences are spoken and written using these letters only, aren’t they? You notice that the harmonium has reeds. As you press the bellows the air gets in and as you press the reeds, you get musical notes like sa re ga ma pa dha ni. By means of these seven sounds only, different tunes or ragas are composed. Are they not? You know the violin. It has strings on which you can play any tune. So also, ‘omkar’ is the primal, primordial sound out of which the rest of the sounds originated.
When you close both your ears tight, you will listen to the Pranava, the ‘Omkar’ within you. You go very close to an electric pole and listen with your ear touching it. You will hear that primal sound omkar. This is the sound (internal) in silence (external). This is the divine sound heard in the depth of silence, (nis’s'abdamuloni s’abdabrahmam, in Telugu). You can hear the footsteps of God only in silence. This third aspect of Gayatri that pertains to this omkar, the primordial sound, the speech faculty and the chief source is known as radiation or Saraswati. Therefore, at the body level it is Gayatri, materialisation. As the life principle, it is Savitri, vibration, and finally as the chief source of sound, it is Saraswati, radiation. These are the three aspects of Gayatri mantra. In other words the atmic power, divine source, is radiation (Saraswati) that enters the body as vibration or life principle (Savitri), so that this body made of material becomes functional which is called materialisation (Gayatri).
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How should we adore you? How should we serve you? We are not able to decide. Kindly show us the way?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: God does not need your service. He does not require your worship. God desires from you only one thing, and that is love. This love is not your property either. It is not your ancestral property. This love is not gifted to you by anyone. It is not a commodity to be manufactured by any company. It is not to be acquired from a guru. You are born with love. It is the gift of God. Therefore, it must be given to Him. It is His and so you should return it to Him by loving Him incessantly.
Take a small example. On occasions like a wedding ceremony, many people are invited. So, in order to prepare food on a large scale you need very big utensils. You hire them for a day or two and return them after use. But they should be returned safe, cleaned and in perfect condition without any damage. Is it not so? Similarly, the human heart is a vessel filled with love, gifted by God, and has got to be returned intact to Him. This is the true form of worship.
How to love God? The best way to love God is to love all and serve all. When everything is His, and He being the giver of all that you need, what is it that He wants from you other than love? A pure heart is the temple of God.Then, where is it? I always tell the students that there should be perfect harmony between thought, word, and deed. Today, we find selfishness at all levels. In whatever is said and done, there is an underlying selfishness. But true worship is a selfless act of service with love. Do your duty sincerely. Service to man is service to God. You don’t need to worship God with flowers that fade and decay. Pluck the flowers of virtue, character, and love from the garden of your heart and worship God with flowers of value.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Kindly let us know how we can achieve anandaprapti, gaining permanent happiness, and removal of suffering dukhanivrtti.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: These two levels of consciousness are not separate from each other as you have stated. When suffering is removed, you derive happiness. Absence of happiness is the cause of misery. Both are interrelated. Absence of light is darkness: Where there is light there is no darkness. Absence of one of the two is the presence of the other. So, if you explore the methods of removing suffering, happiness naturally and automatically dawns. If you investigate the reason for misery, you will know that ignorance is the cause of all misery. What is responsible for ignorance? It is the ego. What is ego? It is attachment. What is attachment? It is the body consciousness. So, misery occurs due to attachment to the body. But, one can be happy physically as well as spiritually if one’s senses are under one’s control. In fact, sadness is not natural to man. Therefore, methods have to be found out to remove sadness, which is artificial. Misery can be removed only by prayer and by following the spiritual path. If idle horses are overfed, they will be still lazier. Similarly, if you act according to the whims and fancies of your senses, your senses will get strengthened day by day and ultimately you will cease to be a human being.
Man faces three types of miseries adhyatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika. Adhyatmika miseries are physical and mental. Physical suffering makes you mentally sick. Your mental irregularities add to your physical sickness. Therefore, physical and mental sufferings are branded as adhyatmika. The second one is the suffering called adhibhautika, which is caused due to a snakebite or a scorpion bite or injuries inflicted by animals and other creatures. The third type of misery called, adhidaivika befalls due to cyclones, floods, earthquakes, fire accidents and various other natural calamities.
Primarily you should know that the mind is the cause of both pleasure and pain. If your mind is positive, it doesn’t matter if you are either at your home or in a forest. You should fill your mind with love. With constant thought of God, developing more and more of faith in Him, and following the spiritual path, you can undoubtedly remove your suffering. Of course, control of senses is absolutely necessary.
If you understand your true self, atma you will have ananda, bliss. Bliss is the state, which is above pain and pleasure bliss is nondual. This is also called prajna. Since prajna is vast, the scripture says, Prajnanam Brahma. Prajna is divine. Prajna is uniformly present in the body, the mind and the intellect. Prajna is also known as antarvani, the inner voice. By exercising control over external and internal sense, you can listen to your antarvani. If you follow and act according to your inner voice, you will be blissful.
Janma or birth is responsible for all misery. Where there is no janma there is no chance for either pleasure or pain. However, janma is due to karma, the consequence of past actions. For karma, the causes are raga, attachment and dvesa, hatred. You take to an activity only if or when you like it, or prefer it to some other activity, otherwise not. Isn’t it? So all actions are born of either of these two states of mind, raga and dvesa. They in turn arise out of ahamkara, ego and ajnana, ignorance. Ajnana is the main cause of misery. Ignorance goes away only if ego is given up. For ego to be dropped one must rise above attachment and hatred. For these two to vanish there should be akarma, inaction, because these actions and their consequences lead to punarjanma. As the Bhajagovindam of Adi Sankara states: Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam punarapijanani jathare sayanam, “one takes birth life after life, lying in the womb of the mother, again and again after death.” Birth and death areresponsible for all the misery. In fact, one should follow the spiritual path in life not to be born again. Instead of consuming sugar, you can become sugar itself! This is the sugar of ananda, bliss. This is the sugar of liberation. This is the sugar of sayujya, merger with God. Therefore, mukti, liberation, is the only solution for the alleviation of suffering.
The happiness that you get from listening to a person whom you like or on acquiring an article that you wished to acquire is described as priyam. When you actually get what you really want, that is called modam, joy. The experience of joy after acquiring what you want is called pramodam, supreme joy. If anybody starts talking to you about all that you like, you will be happy. So it is called priyam. If you see or meet those who are dear to you, you will be extremely happy. This is called modam. On receiving and possessing what is dearest to you, your experience is described as pramodam.
When you hear of the divine power from great epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and of the lilas of God incarnate and devotion celebrated in Bhagavata, and other texts, you will be very happy. This is priyam. If you practice all that you have heard from these immortal books, you will derive a kind of joy described as modam. If you identify yourself with the divinity and merge in it, the supreme bliss you get out of it is called pramodam.
So one has to hear about God, priyam in the first stage, practice all that is heard, modam in the second stage and finally experience the bliss thereafter, pramodam in the third stage. This is anandaprapti, the way to be blissful.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is to be renounced? What is to be sacrificed?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You do not need to renounce the world. Many people commit a mistake here. You do not have to sacrifice the world. You have to give up worldly thoughts and feelings. You must have heard of Ramananda Tirtha, a renunciant. He was married, and also had a son. He renounced his family. One day when his wife visited him, he refused to see her and turned his head away. Watching this, the wife said to him. “Since you have the feeling that I am your wife, you did not look at me and turned away your face. I do not have that feeling, not in the least”. It was then she gave him the ochre robes. So, you need not renounce the world. You need to shed worldly thoughts. You do not have to sacrifice your properties, but you must establish properties with God.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is true happiness? How are we to acquire it?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You should, first of all, know what happiness truly is! I want you to be blissful and not simply happy. Happiness, as you understand it, is not truly happiness. In fact, true happiness lies in union with God. This you can develop by establishing contact with the Divinity within you. In other words, being aware of the Divinity within you, you can also make yourself happy in the world. Happiness lies in liking what you should do and not doing what you like.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We meet some people who are not happy, as if they are denied happiness once for all. Why should it happen like that?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: For all this, understand that the mind is the main cause. If you turn your mind God-wards, you will be happy. If you turn it towards the world, you cannot be happy for long. See, here you turn the fan towards you. Then you get the breeze. If you turn it the opposite way, you won’t get any breeze. Your getting or not getting the breeze depends upon the direction in which you turn the fan.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! You want us to look for unity in diversity. You expect us to be aware of unity in diversity. How is it possible?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is certainly possible. Everything in this world has five aspects. Among them, three are changeless while the other two change. The three areasti, being, bhati, awareness, priyam, bliss and are immortal. They may also be termed as sat, cit and ananda. Then there are two more aspects that change. They are rupa, form and nama, name. Name and form depend on the three changeless and permanent aspects mentioned above, viz., truth, awareness and bliss, sat, cit, ananda. For example: you observe the sea, its waves and its foam. They are interdependent; one cannot exist without the other. Waves come out of the sea. Waves are not independent. We find foam collecting on the surface of the waves. When there are no waves, there can be no chance for the foam to collect on the surface. However, apparently, we have three forms in different names: sea, wave, and foam. But essentially, all the three show the same water by different names. Don’t they?
The sea represents paramarthika satya, Spiritual Truth; the waves stand for pratibhasikasatya, superimposed or mistaken identity, while the foam is the vyavaharika satya, worldly or physical truth.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Is sadhana a must in every day life? Is it compulsory?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Yes, it is very necessary that you should do it everyday. Don’t you wash and scrub utensils everyday to keep them clean? Until you become steady, develop unwavering faith and total surrender. It is most necessary to do sadhana everyday.
You see that the paddy fields are watered everyday. Otherwise, the crops dry up and die. But tall trees like Eucalyptus, Banyan, Neem and so on, do not need to be watered everyday. Why? The reason is simple. Their roots go very deep, up to the ground water level;and draw nourishment for the entire tree. It appears surprising that small tender plants need water everyday while huge trees do not. Roots of small plants go a few inches deep and cannot draw water, from the depths. But trees have roots that spread and go deep to draw, ground water. Similarly, until the roots of your faith go deep into the ground of your heart, you have to do sadhana everyday. Your faith today is like the root of a small plant that has not yet gone deep into your heart and so you should do sadhana everyday.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Much emphasis is laid on sadhana, spiritual practice. But we find it tough to do any sadhana. What is the solution?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: For achieving or attaining anything in life one needs to do sadhana or practice. Walking, talking, reading, eating, writing, everything in life you learn by practice. How does a child walk? It is clearly by practice only. Singers practice a lot! Driving a motorcar for that matter has to be practised. You have the steering at one place, the brake at one point, the clutch elsewhere and so on. Yet, you will be able to drive a car by practice only. So also, sadhana in the spiritual field.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is the role of a Guru on the spiritual path?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: One should have total faith in the Guru. Suppose you wish to go to a city on a picnic. You do not know anything about that city, as you have never been there before. What you do is to take the help of a guide to go round the city. You do not question the guide at any point since you are totally new to the place. So also, a Guru who has vast knowledge and experience has to be scrupulously followed. He should not be questioned, doubted, or disobeyed on any grounds.
You also find signboards at crossroads indicating directions to different places. This is your common experience. To reach the place of your choice, you must follow the directions in the signboard and reach the destination. You don’t expect the signboard to carry you or lift you to that place. You have to go along the way as directed by the signboard. A Guru similarly shows the spiritual path, teaches you the techniques to be followed, and explains in detail all that you need on the spiritual path. You have to work for it and achieve it all by yourself. No one can do that on your behalf.
‘Guru’, is a two letter word inTelugu ‘Gu’ and ‘ru’. The word has two meanings. ‘Gu’ is darkness (ignorance), ‘ru’ is the light (wisdom) that dispels thisdarkness. The second meaning is ‘gu’ stands for gunatita, one beyond attributes and ‘ru’ for rupavarjita formless. So, Guru is one who teaches you about divinity which is both attributeless and formless. A true Guru wishes the best for his disciples. He tells them what is hita, good and not ista, that which is liked. A true disciple follows the master implicitly.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We feelthat results are delayed in sadhana : We do not get quick results, at least according to our expectations. What do you say, Swami?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You do not have proper understanding of sadhana. See, in this world, you begin your studies from childhood. After the primary school, you go to the secondary school, college and then to the university. After fifteen years of intense study and hard work you get a degree. This is your experience. How much have you worked to get a degree? Have you not taken a long time to get adegree? For this education and a degree, and to earn your livelihood you strive so much. Then how long should you take, how much of effort should you put in to earn God’s grace which is the eternal spiritual truth? Just think for yourself. It is a big mistake to expect quick results in sadhana.
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, 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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