Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 20
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We have been thinking that all things can be achieved through Self confidence. In your discourses today you mentioned Self protection and Self punishment also. Kindly explain these.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Quite often I mention to our boys these things Self confidence, Self satisfaction, Self sacrifice, and Self realisation. In addition to these, Self protection and Self punishment too are necessary. Self protection is the capacity to face anything with Self steadfastness. Then Self-punishment involves the faculties of examining one’s mistakes of one’s own accord, and of refraining from those mistakes through firm resolve. Self punishment is holding in check through repentance, possibilities of those mistakes.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! In the classes, we have learnt about self-awareness. How can our tendency be changed? Kindly teach us the appropriate technique.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: I asked you, “What does ‘selfawareness’ mean?” Someone said, “Understanding”. This is not the correct answer. This word can be interpreted in two ways. In the worldly sense, it refers to looking at oneself, i.e., selfishness. Knowledge concerning this can be called “self awareness”. Spiritually, its meaning is quite different. In spiritual terms, all that is, is merely the Self. The key to all actions and all experiences lies within the Self. The body, mind, senses, and intellect are just instruments of the Self. Without the Self, these are useless. These are to the self what the head, leg, hand, and so on are to the body. Now I asked you what is meant by ‘tendency’. Someone replied, “attitude”, and another “nature”. These are not correct. It is an innate orientation. Tendency exists in man in three modes. Their names are animal tendency, human tendency, and divine tendency. Of these, the first runs after sense objects. The second is marked by discrimination, though coloured by desires. The third is totally devoid of desires, attachment, and ‘I’ and ‘Mine’. There may be an attachment and sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ in life, but life is not for the pursuit of these.
You asked for an appropriate technique. When I asked for the meaning of that word, one called it ‘method,’ and another, ‘procedure.’ These two are not correct. The technique is vidhividhanam. What ought to be done is vidhi. How to do it is vidhanam. There is only one technique for Selfawareness. You have to have awareness that you are the atma, the Self. I refer to it as Constant Integrated Awarensss. This Self or Atma is truly God. You are the embodiment of God. Here you should remember three things.
i) What is it that once it is had, is never lost, what is it? Jnana. In other words, when jnana occurs, that is, when there is awareness, it never is lost.
ii) What is it which once lost can never be had again? Ajnana, ignorance. When once ajnana is lost, you cannot have it again.
iii) What is it that is neither lost nor had? Brahmam, Self, Atma, this may be called ‘SelfAwareness.’
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How are we to realise the existence of divinity, and by what intimation are we to cognise it? Swami is pleased to refer to it in the charming phrase, “Constant Integrated Awareness”. How are we to achieve this Awareness?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The idea that all forms and all names belong to God is verily Constant Integrated Awareness. The experience of sarvan visnumayam jagat, the world is pervaded by Vishnu, is but Constant Integrated Awareness. God can be experienced in any form, at any time or place.
The life of Tulasidas illustrates this beautifully. He could not recognise God even when He approached him and talked to him. One day Tulasidas sat under a tree, grinding a piece of sandalwood on a mortar to prepare the paste. Right then, two cowherd boys came there and asked him, “Grandfather! Will you give us some sandal paste?” Then, Tulasidas replied, “My children! I am preparing this for Lord Sri Ramachandramurthi.” Two parrots, perched on a bough of that tree, observed this, and commented, “For whose sake is all this paste? Why doesn’t he realise it?” Tulasidas heard these, words. He knew the language of the birds. The next day, while he was preparing the paste, the two cowherd boys turned up. This time, even without asking him, they took some sandal paste into their palms, applied it to the forehead, and left. Tulasidas who had noticed this was dumbfounded. This time too he heard the birds’ comments from the branch of the tree, “Aha! What a wonder! Those for whom the sandal paste was prepared, had themselves come, and received it! What fortune!” As he knew the language of the birds, Tulasidas realised that the boys who had adorned themselves with the paste were, indeed, Rama and Lakshmana. Out of ignorance, he had at first denied them.
You may have heard of Vemana too. He was a thinker who belittled worship offered to stones and idols. He used to doubt, “God, who pervades the whole world, how can He be inside stone statues?” He used to make fun of idol worshippers. One day, his elder brother’s daughter, whom he loved dearly, passed away. Grief-stricken, he kept on gazing at the little girl’s picture hanging on the wall. His elder brother’s wife was observing all this. One day, she threw down the picture. It broke into pieces. This was too much for Vemana to bear. Then, she said, “My son! My girl is no more, isn’t she? Why do you cry over a broken picture?” Vemana replied, “Mother! Though she is gone, her picture was here, wasn’t it? Looking at it has been some consolation for me. That is why when it broke into pieces, I am grieving ever more.” Then his elder brother’s wife counselled him admirably, “My son! It is very true that God is present everywhere. But, the devotee delights in seeing Him and worshipping Him in an idol as well. Just as you consoled yourself looking at the picture even though she whom you love is no more, the devotee invokes God in an idol, and offers it worship.” Straightaway Vemana grasped her message, and the secret behind idol worship. In this way, the experience of visualising the Supreme Lord in all places, times, and creatures is truly Constant Integrated Awareness. This can also be called the existence and intimation of Divinity.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Very often, you keep referring to Human Values. Restoring these values is, indeed, a task this avatar has set for itself. Kindly enlighten us on how we may cognise their importance.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: A man lacking human values has only the semblance of the outer form, and is not a man in action at all. The supremacy and the distinction of mankind depend on human values, Man’s birth has a purpose: cherishing his humanity and rising to divinity Satya, dharma, santi, prema and ahimsa, these five may be said to be the vital airs which together constitute the breath. Without the vital airs prana, apana, vyana, udana, samana, there is no question of man’s existence, is there? Afraid that truth may land man in difficulty, he has moved further and further away from satya. He is in such a sorry plight that he does not know what dharma is. Actually, man should never abandon these values, however troublesome the circumstances may be. Giving up these values so sacred is tantamount to committing suicide.
When truth is given up, it amounts to losing one of the five vital airs. The dictum, satyam vada, dharmam cara (Speak the truth, Act righteously), is the foremost in the culture of Bharat, and crucial to spiritual advancement. What is the principal cause of today’s turmoil? It is the total abandonment of satya and dharma. That is why prema is fast vanishing. In the absence of satya, dharma, santi and prema, himsa, violence, is on the rampage. In the home and the village, in the city and the state, even in the nation at large, we witness orgies of violence. Terrible, cruel, and heinous crimes are being committed. Human life has become empty. Even now, through faith in God, we can cultivate our human values. Like a parent grieving over a dimwitted child, Mother India is crying over the dearth of human values in its citizenry. Moral, religious, and spiritual values have sunk to the bottom. Note how different King Dushyanta, educated in the city, lacking all values; is from his son, Bharata, who imbibed human values through education in an asram. Education for livelihood is not worth the name. True education trains pupils to cognize the highest goals of life, and spurs them to realise human values.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Why do we need human values? What is their role in our lives?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: In this world every individual and every material has a value. Each one has his or its own value. There is nothing in this world that has no value. Unfortunately in the present day world it is only man who has lost his value. His life is spent without any value. Hence, man has become worse than an animal. Even the body of a bird ora small animal like a rabbit, even after it is killed, has a value. Its flesh or meat is useful. But man, even if he were an emperor, has no value soon after he dies. So, there is every need to live with values. You should fill your lives with values. You should live a valuable life.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How can weacquire human values?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is not enough if you repeat like a parrot, the five human values – satya Truth, dharma Righteousness, santi Peace, prema love, and ahimsa Nonviolence. It is not enough if you give lectures on human values. It is absolutely useless if you read books on human values. They have to be practised.
Just as ice is cold and fire is hot, a human being also should have human values, in a natural way. If you limit these values to mere lectures, they lose their value. An ounce, of practice is better than a ton of precepts. Your looking at the map of India doesn’t amount to your going round the country, does it? So also, by reading or lecturing on human values, you do not gain anything. If you sincerely practise any one of them, the rest will follow. A tree has the dharma of a tree. An animal has an animal dharma. Then should not a human being follow human dharma?
The qualities expected of a human being are called ‘human values’. In my opinion, if you develop prema all the other values will follow. Love is the chief quality. Love is God, God is love. Love is life. You have love. no doubt, but it is narrow. It is limited to you and your family, I and mine only. Love is not contraction as you have now. It is expansion. Love is selflessness, self is lovelessness. Be he atheist or an atheist, there is none in this world without love. You can win God’s grace only by love. It is the bond of love that exists between you and God.
What had made Lord Rama pleased with that squirrel in the Ramayana?
What scholarship had the boatman Guha that pleased Rama?
What status and riches had Sabari to win the love of Rama?
What accomplishments had the Gopis of Brindavan to become so close and intimate to Lord Krishna?
In all these instances, it was only pure love that made them enjoy proximity to God. Love excels physical strength, intelligence, wealth and authority. God looks for love in a devotee. Where there is love, there is truth.
For instance, if your son, after playing in the field returns home with his friend and asks you for a laddu, you may be tempted to say that there is no stock of sweets at home. But, if your son comes home all alone and asks for a sweet, you will immediately get into the kitchen and bring the whole tin of sweets for him to eat as many as he likes. See the difference! In the beginning, you denied a single sweet and later you placed the whole tin of sweets. Why? It is the love that you have for your son that made you speak the truth.
A word spoken with prema love, is satya truth. Any action that you do with love is dharma. All the unjust and unrighteous deeds that are happening today are only due to the absence of love. But an action done with love is bound to be righteous. When there is love, you enjoy peace. It is said that the face is the index of the mind. We shall know if one is peaceful, disturbed, or agitated by looking at one’s face. Satya is spoken, dharma is done, while santi is experienced. So, experience of love is peace. You will not be affected by blame or criticism. Your peace will be of that order, above negativity and accusation when it is supported by love. This is the understanding you will have in due course, with your heart full of love, and you will never hurt anybody in any manner. This is ahimsa, non-violence. Understanding with love is non-violence.
So, there is nothing in this world that you cannot attain with love. You will be an embodiment of all the human virtues and values once you develop this divine universal love.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Now we understand that the defect of teaching lies somewhere in our schools, colleges and universities. Education is certainly not imparted in these institutions the way you are teaching. Where does the fault lie in our educational system?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The knowledge you are acquiring from these educational institutions is not properly channelised and utilised. You have to nicely “skill” your knowledge. Then only there will be perfect balance between “knowledge” and “skill” in our education system. Today you do not “skill” the knowledge, but you “kill” it. So, the balance is lost. This is the main defect in modern education.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! To what extent are parents responsible for the degradation of values among children?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: My opinion is that parents are soley responsible for spoiling children. Many parents behave like Dhritarashtra, the blind king of the Mahabharata. He never opposed or prevented his sons, the Kauravas, from doing any type of mischief, or misdeed. What happened to the king at the end? He was left with none to perform even his last rites or obsequies, though he had as many as a hundred sons. He ruined himself completely. Why? It was only his attachment to his sons that brought about his fall. The whole clan fell into disrepute due to his attachment.
It appears as though modern parents do not know how to bring up their children. As the son watches the T.V., the mother brings food from the kitchen, and serves it there. Keeping the plate in front of the T.V., the parents don’t teach them good manners and good behaviour. One with good manners is a man. The one with discipline is a devotee. The rest are only children.
Parents constantly think of career-oriented and highly promising education with prospects of going abroad.They want their children to settle in big positions, earn money, go abroad, and marry rich women and so on.
There is also another category of parents. When their children by chance go to a temple, they prevent them saying, “Are you going to the temple now? Why, at this age? You are very young. Should you be so religious at your age? You can be so after sixty.” Sometimes you also come across a father who asks his son to tell everyone who comes to see him that he is not home. What do you expect the son to learn from such a father?
In the modern age there are many children who are not fortunate enough to be brought up by the loving, sweet, and tender care of their mothers! Mothers are busy with their avocations, and spend their time in ladies clubs, in the market place, shopping, visiting friends, and so on and so forth, with the result that a child weeps only when the servant-maid dies and not when its own mother is lost. Why? The reason is that children haven’t known the love of a mother, only that of a servant-maid. This is the shameful situation today.
Who made emperor Sivaji great? Who made Gandhi a Mahatma? It is only his mother. It is entirely the responsibility of parents to mould their children into ideal citizens. If a girl is spoiled, the mother has to be blamed. If a boy is spoiled, the father must be held responsible. Parents should shape children in such a way as to win the appreciation of everyone. They should get a good name for their schools, society and country in general.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Price hike is a common experience everywhere. People find it difficult to make both ends meet because of spiralling prices. We are eager to know Swami’s views on this issue of rising prices.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: First of all you should know that man is more valuable than all the wealth in the world. Prices have gone up as man has gone down in human values. The day human values go up, the prices of commodities will come down. In fact, properties like land, jewellery, money, and houses, and physical comforts and conveniences have value only because of man. Since man is utilizing them, they are valuable; if not, they are useless.
For example, there is vast land available in a forest. It is very cheap to buy and own land there. You can easily go in for a plot or a site, whereas in cities like Bombay and Delhi, the cost of the land is so high that it is not within the reach of the common man. To get a plot of land there, even a small plot, costs a few lakhs. Why? Because many reside in the city. It is thickly populated. Every inch of land is fully utilised. But in a forest, hardly a few people live and as such the value of land is low there. Who is then responsible for the high cost of land? It is only man himself. If no one buys silver and gold, would you still call them valuable? No. It is man who makes the commodities, articles and properties either valuable or valueless. Since man has lost his own value, prices of various commodities have gone up. In order to bring down the prices, the value of man should be raised high by practising human values.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! You know everything. It is very true that we as parents must be blamed. You have pointed out exactly where our mistakes lie. However, today we do not see children respecting their parents. They do not follow instructions. They are most ungrateful. Kindly tell us how children should conduct themselves in the presence of their parents and how they should treat them.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You know the Vedic injunctions, matr devo bhava, pitr devo bhava, i.e., Mother is God and Father is God. One must follow these injunctions. The Epics also cite many instances of this direction.
The culture of Bharat demands that everyone should respect, love and serve his or her parents, and be very grateful because blood, head, duddu (Tamil word for ‘money’) and Godare only parent’s gifts. If you neglect your parents, you will face the same situation at the hands of your own children. As is the fruit you eat, so you belch. If you eat cucumber, you don’t belch the odour of a mango. If you sow a mango seed, do you expect a neem tree to grow from it? As is the seed, so is the tree. Everything comes back to you as reaction, reflection, and resound. This is as sure as anything. You can never escape the consequences. If you make your parents shed tears, your children will pass on to you the same fate.
Here is a small story. There lived a man by name Gopichand who had two sons. One day he was travelling in a train along with his wife. He wrote a letter to his sons asking them to meet him and his wife at the station. Both the sons came to the station accordingly. The eldest one did namaskar, salutation, to both the parents and enquired when they started, how the journey was, and if they wanted anything. The second son, on the other hand, did not greet them at all. His attitude to his father was rather arrogant. After some time, Gopichand said to his wife, “See! How our elder son greeted us and made enquiries, while the younger one did not!” His wife, then, said, “Don’t find fault with the second one like that. After all, he is young. He will change as he grows older. Don’t be angry withhim.”
Years passed. What happened finally? The eldest son who did prostration to his parents became a Judge in a court and was greeted honourably by everybody in society. The second son got the job of a peon in the same court and had to receive everyone and greet all and sundry with folded hands! This is the difference. Those who respect their parents will be respected by all. The one who doesn’t will not be respected by anyone.
The same lesson is that taught in our epics. In the Mahabharata, at the end of the battle of Kurukshetra, all the Kauravas died, and Queen Gandhari, wife of the blind king, Dritarashtra started blaming Krishna. She said, “Oh Krishna! You are very partial to the Pandavas. Now that my sons have all died in battle are you happy?” Krishna said to her, “See, Gandhari! Did you ever see your sons with your own eyes? (Gandhari blindfolded herself to be like her husband who was born blind). Did they at any point of time pay heed to your words of counsel? How do you expect them to be blessed by God when their own mother never cast a glance.”
The same is the teaching of the Ramayana also. Kusa and Lava, the twin brothers, could fight Lord Sri Ramachandra with all their valour and might. Why and how? The reason is, Lava and Kusa enjoyed the blessings of their mother Sita, and as a result, they could heroically face Lord Sri Ramachandra, their father. That is the power inherent in the blessings of parents.
Everyone must serve their parents. You need their blessings all the time. You know what your parents like, you know what to do to please them, and you know that you have been with them since you were born. If you can’t please them, how do you expect to please God who you have never seen, nor know what He wants you to do and what you ought to do? Parents are divine.
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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