Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 8
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We don’t understand what wisdom actually is. Isn’t the knowledge we gain in our educational institutions wisdom? If not, how are we to acquire it easily?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Practical knowledge is jnanam, or wisdom. It is not textual information. Feeling the presence of God always, everywhere, within, and around is jnanam, true wisdom.
Question) Anil Kumar: Bhagawan! Should we follow any discipline or regulation in our food habits? Is that necessary for our spiritual pursuit? Sai devotees all over the world are vegetarians because of your teachings. This is amazing. We have none today to tell us matters relating to our food habits. Kindly direct us.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba:
As is the food, so is the Mind.
As is the mind, so are our Thoughts.
As is the thought, so is the Action.
As is the action, so is the Result.
Therefore, the result depends on the food you eat. Meticulously and unerringly, you should follow discipline in your food habits. Food, Head, and God are to be viewed in this sequence. As is your food so is your head, as is the condition of your head, so is the manifestation of God in you.
You should not eat too much. You eat to live and never live to eat. Eating in excess is a tamasika quality. If you eat once a day, you are a yogi, if you eat twice a day you are a rogi, sick. If you take sattvika, soft, and balanced food, in moderate quantity, you develop sattvika or pious mind. If you eat rajasika, spicy, hot, food, you will have rajasika or emotional, agitated mind, and if you have tamasika food, meat, alcohol, etc., you will have tamasika or bestial, dull, passive mind. So, it is food that shapes the mind and on this your actions depend, leading to their corresponding consequences.
You should also think of patrasuddhi, cleanness of the vessels and utensils used, padarthasuddhi, purity of the materials, pakasuddhi clean method of preparation or cooking and bhavasuddhi, purity of the thought of the person who cooks the food. You shouldn’t eat food offered to you everywhere.
A few years ago; there lived a sanyasi, who, on invitation, dined at the residence of a businessman. That night this sanyasi, a celibate and spiritual seeker, could not sleep. Somehow, he fell asleep very late, and had a dream in which he saw a sixteen year old girl shedding tears. Then, this sanyasi went to his guru and told him about the dream. The guru meditated for some time and told him the reason behind the dream. The day on which the businessman invited him for dinner happened to be the eleventh day after the death of his sixteen year old wife and he was performing special rites traditionally. Since the sanyasi ate the food cooked for the occasion, the girl who had died appeared in the dream with tears in her eyes. The young girl’s father was very poor and could hardly maintain his family. So, much against her wish, he gave her in marriage to this aged businessman. Out of frustration, she committed suicide by jumping into a well. The businessman had to perform her customary funeral rites and while doing so on the eleventh day, he requested the sanyasi to come over to his house for meals. This is the whole story behind the sanyasi’s dream. So, without discrimination, you shouldn’t eat any food offered to you.
A similar thing happened once to a disciple of Swami Nityananda. One day he went out of the ashram and ate food outside. While returning, he stole from a house a silver tumbler and brought it to the ashram. But soon, he felt very sad over his miserable plight, as he had resorted to a crime like stealing a silver tumbler. He cried and repented. The next morning, he went to his guru and confessed the whole thing. Because of his spiritual power, Nityananda could find out the reason. He said to his disciple, “Well, the food you had outside the asram was prepared by a cook who at one time happened to be a thief and as a result you developed the instinct to steal.” Therefore, cooks must have purity of thought.
Further, you should feel your body as light after eating as before eating. The best thing is to keep half of your stomach empty. The remaining half should be filled in with water and other foodstuffs. Tubers are not good for the body. You should not drink whole milk. You should mix some water in your milk and then drink it. You should have a minimum interval of four hours between two meals. You should take food, which gives you enough calories needed for the body. You shouldn’t have too much of oily and fried curries. Sleep a while after lunch, and walk a mile after dinner. You should work hard and eat well.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! In your organisation or your institutions, workers, students, teachers, devotees and doctors wear white dress always. Why? What is the reason?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: White dress symbolises purity and cleanliness. A pure white cloth may be compared to a clean mirror. If dust gathers on the mirror, you will not be able to see your reflection clearly. Similarly, buddhi, intellect, is like a clean white cloth. It is only then that you will be able to find out your own faults and apply your discrimination to rectify them. Today, this is not happening. People are able to see clearly the mistakes of others and don’t find their own faults. If you stand in front of your mirror, you see your reflection. But, if you turn the mirror, towards the other man, naturally you find his reflection. Isn’t it so? Similarly, the mirror of your buddhi or intellect is turned towards others, and this makes you see the mistakes of others.
Even the slightest spot or mark is very clearly visible on a white dress. If you wear coloured dress, you don’t see dirt, dots, spots, marks or stains and so on. This is wrong. You should never hide and cover the dirt on your person. You should immediately clean and wash it off. You should share the good with others. Neither good nor bad should be in you. You should shed the bad in you and share the good with others. But some of you keep the good to yourselves and distribute the bad to others. It is a mistake on your part to do so.
Lord Siva offers you the best way by setting forth an ideal to this world. He kept and retained poison in His throat. So, He is nilakantha , the bluethroated God. But, the cool and comforting moonlight from the moon over His head is distributed to others. It is for this purpose of sharing comfort with others that He kept the moon on His head.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Today Sai devotees are spread all over the world. They range from Heads of Governments to ordinary citizens. As your devotees, they enjoy special respect and esteem in society. What is the key to this?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Naturally so! This is the effect of the company you are in. Even the string that passes through and binds the flowers in a garland acquires a value. The rat as the vehicle of Lord Ganesh is also worshipped. The bull as the vehicle of Lord Siva is respected. Likewise, all the vehicles of all our deities are worshipped.
Once Lord Vishnu sent a message to Siva through his vehicle, Garuda, the eagle. As Garuda was flying fast with the message and was about to land near Siva, due to a severe wind there, the dust rose up as in a dust storm. Watching this, the snakes adorning the neck of Siva started hissing at Garuda ready to bite him. Then Garuda replied to the snakes, “You are with Siva, so you are hissing at me thus fearlessly. You come off of Lord Shiva and see what will happen to you! I can finish you off in no time”. In the same manner, since you are with me, you are respected and served. If you are away from me, you will be put to infamy and humiliation.
You should not run after all silly worldly things, like the common flies that land on anything and everything. Like honeybees you should only draw honey from flowers. Look at the person who drives the car of the President of India. He can never act as a common taxi driver. Similarly, those who sing the glory of God shouldn’t run after people for petty favours.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We visit temples religiously. We go on pilgrimage once in a while. We continue to do our rituals and religious acts. But there is no cognisable change in our life pattern. Why is this so, Swami?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Worship, penance, meditation, bhajan, etc., are sacred activities that make your life meaningful, purposeful and useful. But you can’t brand them as spiritual. All these are good actions and help you to spend time in a sacred way. Anything that you do with your mind (ego, ‘I ness’) can’t be spiritual. The true spiritual path is atmavicara , self-enquiry.
The seeker should know that he is not the deha, body, the manas, mind, or the buddhi, intellect and that his atma, true self, is beyond time and space. The self is not a ndma, name, or a rupa, form with which it is identified in this transient world. Atma is eternal, pure and nondual. True spirituality is the awareness of atma. This is Brahman, the divinity which is spread all over in all creatures according to the scripture which says eko vasi sarvabhutantaratma. True spirituality alone can make you experience this awareness. But you find many forms of religious practice in the name of spirituality. The prasadam or sacrificial food offered to God is actually eaten by the devotees. They just show it to a picture or an image of God and the whole lot of it is eaten by them only (cupulu and mepulu, in Telugu). If God really starts taking anything offered to Him, I am sure, no one would offer Him anything.
Always remember that tyaga, sacrifice, is the highest and the best form of sadhana. You have to sacrifice your time, money, resources and energy. You should at least offer a tulasi leaf to God in worship. So, tyagenaike amr tatvamanasuh. Sacrifice makes you attain immortality. Tyaga is yoga, spiritual exercise.
Love expresses itself as sacrifice. Love without sacrifice is meaningless and totally selfish. You have to sacrifice the body feeling or attachment to the body. You have to sacrifice your wicked thoughts and bad feelings. Sacrifice is your true nature. Sacrifice is a divine quality gifted to man. In fact, you are not doing anything great and special by sacrifice. You are doing it for your own self.
A yogi noticed a cow struggling for life in a river. He went and rescued it. Someone asked him, “Why did you save the cow?” The yogi replied, “I saved the cow for my, own happiness. I couldn’t see the cow struggling and suffering.” Many might have passed that way and noticed the cow in its miserable plight But none did a thing to save it. Therefore, sacrifice is an opportunity given to man.
There is another small story. A householder one day wanted to serve food to a Brahmin as part of a ritual he was performing. He could get one poor old Brahmin who agreed to dine at his house. The Brahmin came and hurriedly started eating the food placed before him. The householder felt like this: “What a Brahmin is he? He didn’t even take his bath and do any puja before taking the food. It is not punya, meritorious to feed such a man”. He grew so angry with the old Brahmin that he beat him with a stick and drove him out holding him tight at the neck. On that day when the householder was asleep, he had a dream in which God appeared and said to him “Why did you invite the old Brahmin for food and beat him? Why did you turn him out wringing his neck? After all, you could not feed him even for one day while I have been giving him food all these eighty years! What a shame!”
Tyaga is above any restrictions and stipulations. A mother is ready to sacrifice her life for her child. Why? It is only love that makes her sacrifice. Trees sacrifice fruits so that you may eat them. No tree takes its own fruits. Rivers flow and sacrifice water to quench your thirst. The cow yields milk and sacrifices it for all of you to drink and nurture your body. Your body too is intended for sacrifice, paropakarardhamidam s’ariram.
Worship, bhajan and such other external activities are less than seva and sacrifice. The hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray. Love of God is devotion, which has to be expressed as sacrifice. Love is sacrifice. Sacrifice is prema yoga, the path of love to God. Sacrifice is yoga. Be that this faith, devotion and steadfastness would get, strengthened and deep rooted. Through the path of jnana, which is self enquiry, proceed to atmavicara , follow and experience God. It is said, jnanadeva to kaivalyam, the practical wisdom obtained from tyaga is the only way to kaivalyam, liberation. This is a process beyond the mind and the activity performed by the body. Then only will you achieve the expected results and attain ananda.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Why do we differ? Why does our behaviour vary? What is the root cause behind these differences? How are we to cultivate ideal and good ways in life?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Since you have not studied and understood human nature wholly, you get this doubt. Man is a combination of three main qualities, demonic, bestial and human. It is the human quality that helps you to attain divinity.
You take, for example, an orange fruit. In it there are an outer bitter skin, hard seeds and soft juicy pulp. So also a human being has a demonic nature like the outer bitter skin of an orange, bestial temperament like the hard seeds; and finally the human values like the soft juicy pulp. Take for example a ripe tamarind fruit. Its outer skin is the bestial nature, its hard seeds symbolise demonic nature while its soft pulp is the human behaviour. If the pulp joins the seed, i.e., if human nature is in association with demonic behaviour, it expresses itself like a demon. If the soft pulp associates itself with the outer skin, i.e. if human nature joins bestial behaviour, it manifests itself as a beast.
So, more or less, this depends on the association, be it demonic or bestial. This is the root cause of all the differences. But it is human value that makes you ideal and enables you to experience divinity. There lies the sweetness and purpose of life.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Is it necessary for us to observe austerity and follow discipline only inside an asram or in the society outside as well?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: I suggest that you follow discipline and lead a simple life wherever you live. You may go to any place, but there also you should always follow niyama, discipline, have sraddha, sincerity, and take to sadhana, spiritual practice. This is the spiritual way of life.
Out of two sick persons, one may be treated as an out-patient and the other may be admitted to a hospital depending on the ailment. But, both should necessarily take medicine for a cure, shouldn’t they? Similarly, you may reside in an asram or outside: But you should definitely follow discipline, be simple, and lead a spiritual life. As individuals caught in the cycle of birth and death, bhava roga, you need to take the medicine of sadhana.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Some people pose challenges quite unwarranted. Pious and noble people are disturbed and agitated in such situations? What should we do with those who challenge us unnecessarily?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Only egoistic, jealous people with bodily attachment challenge like this. Aspirants and seekers should not be disturbed by these challenges. You should not react to their words and be affected thereby. A cow that grazes in a field may challenge another cow. A pig that feeds on faeces can challenge another pig. Should man who takes food challenge a pig? You can talk to an equal but not to everyone. Don’t respond to everyone and then lose your peace. In fact, you should face a challenge if you must, in this way, “Do you help everyone as I do? Have you taken up welfare programmes as I have done? Are you broadminded like me? How many people have you transformed into the righteous way of life?” People should have healthy competition. You should not challenge for petty, low, mean things.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We are engrossed in worldly, problems and responsibilities. We get deeply involved in selfcentred activities. Yet, we pray to God. In a sense, our minds are fully occupied with mundane thoughts. What is to be done?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The Mahabharata explains this aspect clearly. The righteous Pandavas, the five brothers who spent their time in exile never lost their devotion. Everything in life depends on priorities. They kept God first, others next and they considered themselves the last. Therefore, they were successful and are remembered till this day. On the contrary, for the Kauravas, their cousins, their priorities were different. They kept their comfort and selfish interests in the first place, others next and God last. What happened? They lost the battle and got a bad name. Since they placed God last in their priorities, they ‘lost’ the battle. If you have God with you, you don’t need to worry. You will be successful in all fields. After all, in this world nothing is permanent. All are passing clouds. Not even one is permanent. Know that whatever happens in life, it is for your own good.
A human being walks on his two legs. So he is erect, unlike the fourlegged animals: After marriage, man loses some of his freedom with increasing responsibility and becomes “four-legged” and his walking pace slows down. With a child born to him he has “six legs” like those of a scorpion, and with another child he turns eight leggs like a cockroach and his movement further slows down. All this bondage and attachment is of your own making. No one made it for you.
In spite of all your riches and positions, remember that true happiness lies in the company of and nearness to God. You may keep a fish in a gem studded golden vessel; it will never feel comfortable there. It freely swims only in water. Bliss lies in your true self. The rest, however valuable it is, leads only to unhappiness.
A simple example for you, here is a glass with water, and sugar at the bottom. If you taste the water on the top, it is tasteless and the water in the middle of the glass is equally tasteless. But, get a spoon, stir the water in the bottom well until the sugar gets totally dissolved in the water. Now you taste it, either at the top or in the middle of the glass, the water is sweet. So also in your life, the glass is your body, water is your life, the spoon is your intellect and sugar is ‘divinity’. If you exercise your intellect in the right direction, you will experience the sweetness of divinity everywhere. What you need are peace and happiness. You should pray to God for these two essentials. You worship Him and serve Him. You aspire to be happy and peaceful, no doubt. But, your prayers to God are for worldly possessions. So, aspirations and prayers are at variance with each other. This is your weakness.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Today, Sai’s glory has brought almost everybody from all parts of the world to your feet. People from many countries, whose names we had never heard before, are coming to you. People of almost all linguistic groups of the world are here. We have representation from all walks of life. It is unfortunate that we, who have been here with you, find ourselves less devoted to you than your overseas devotees. We see them practice your teachings with much more sincerity of heart than us! Why is this happening?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The experiences of the devotees depend on their sincerity, steadfastness, devotion and faith. Nearness in one way is responsible for not realising the actual value of Divinity. Don’t you find a shadow under a lamp? Similar is the case here. As the light of the Avatar spreads everywhere, there is shadow underneath the light. You also know that honeybees come from a distance to suck the honey out of the lotus flower, while frogs, snails and fishes so near the lotus flower do not know the taste of honey. The same thing happens when God incarnates in human form. People who are very near Him will not to be able to realise His divine splendour.
When you hear of a mango fruit, you feel like eating it. But when you go to a market and see fruits there, you take a fruit close to your nose and start smelling it. Why? You doubt if it is a ripe fruit or not. The very mention of the name of the fruit made you long for it. But when you near it, you doubt. Isn’t it so? Why go for such a far fetched simile? Well, you speak ecstatically to everyone saying that Baba appeared in your dreams and that you experienced His presence at your place. But, when you are in the immediate presence of Baba, you are not even thrilled and excited. You, people who are so near me, don’t know the tremendous and magnificent experiences of devotees all over the world and their magnitude. A frog in a well cannot know the outer world, you see!
It is not the length of time or the number of years you are with Swami that matters! Bus drivers come here and go from here daily. What experience do they have? You may keep an iron ball in a water tank for any length of time. What happens? Absolutely it undergoes no change in any way! Just as darkness is dispelled by a flash of light, the darkness of ignorance should be dispelled by the light of wisdom.
If you have full faith and love for Swami, you will follow His teachings. You find a spectacular transformation in the life of umpteen number of people everywhere. Why? It is because of their implicit faith in the teachings of Swami. I don’t send invitations to anybody to come over here. There are no welcome boards nor do I say goodbye to anyone. But people come in large numbers everyday. Why? This is the love of Divinity that attracts and draws people to this Prasanti Nilayam.
It is only God whom you respect, love and worship. You respect your boss, administrators; elders, etc. You love your parents, family, and friends. All the same, you don’t worship your officers nor do you worship the members of your family. Isn’t it so? But you respect, love and worship God only.
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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