LOVE FOR GOD, FEAR OF SIN AND MORALITY IN SOCIETY
By Sathya Sai Baba
Gurur-Brahma Gurur-Vishnu Gurur Devo Maheswara;
Guru Sakshat Param Brahma Thasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.
(Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Maheswara. Guru is verily the supreme Brahman. So, salutations to the Guru.)
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are the three different names and forms of the same divinity “All are one, be alike to everyone.” Though the names and forms of the physical body are different, Divinity in all beings is one only. Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the Protector, and Shiva is the Destroyer. Yet, all three aspects represent the one Divinity. The one God when engaged in the creative aspect is referred to as Brahma, while protecting and sustaining the living beings as Vishnu, and, finally, in the act of Laya (dissolution) as Shiva.
In order to avoid the confusion created by ascribing different names and forms to Divinity, God is referred to as Atma or the Absolute Brahman (the nameless, formless, attributeless Divinity). The one Atma permeates all living beings.
Religions are different, path is the same;
Clothes are different, cotton is one;
Beings are different, Atma is one;
Nationality and lifestyle are different, human birth is the same.
Every human being has to develop three qualities: love for God, fear of sin, and morality in society. It is only lack of fear of sin that is responsible for the present state of lack of morality in society. Love is the cementing factor that unites people. Where there is love, there society will be united. Devoid of morality, one does not deserve to be called a human being. Hence, morality is important for everything.
Though God showers His love on one and all, it is the human being who has lost the precious quality of fear of sin. Man today is committing several sins with the belief that God is kind and will ultimately forgive his sins. With this belief, he is indulging in more and more sinful acts. He has developed a sort of complacency in this regard and thinks that he can escape punishment.
But the fact is otherwise. Though God is compassionate and may forgive all sinful acts, a human being has to necessarily pay for their sins. Hence, every human has to develop these three qualities of love for God, fear of sin, and morality in society. Where there is no fear of sin, there will be no morality in society.
People are behaving most irresponsibly and are undertaking several undesirable activities with unbridled ego. They have no fear of sin. They don’t even think for a moment of the consequences of their acts. One has therefore to restrain oneself from seeing evil, speaking evil, and doing evil. If not, the consequences of these evil deeds will boomerang on that person later, if not today. It is also possible that the results of all these sinful acts will come back to that person all at one time with a bang.
If one is really interested in the welfare of the society, one must work for the development of morality in society. One who lacks morality is not a human being at all but is an animal, verily. Speaking untruth, doing injustice to others, and indulging in unrighteous acts and bad practices is very bad. One has to lead one’s life by following the three principles of love for God, fear of sin, and morality in society. It is said that one who has no morality in themself is worse than a monkey. In fact, a monkey is better than such an individual.
No one will respect an individual who indulges in immoral acts in this world. Only a person who follows moral principles will command respect from one and all. Even those who try to harm such a person will be restrained by others with a warning. “That person is a good person. Do not try to meddle with that person.” Those who lack morality are looked down upon in society as worse than dogs. Hence, one has to develop morality and lead a life of moral principles at all times.
There are three sadhanas (spiritual practices) by which love for God, fear of sin, and morality in society can be developed. They are bhakti (devotion to God), jnana (the path of wisdom), and vairagya (detachment). Karma (activity) is a natural and essential attribute of the physical body. It is only when the body undertakes good karmas that the mind will function well. When the mind is sound, love for God can be developed. Thus bhakti, jnana, and vairagya are interlinked with love for God, fear of sin, and morality in society. They are like the three blades of a fan. It is only when the three blades rotate that we can have refreshing air; otherwise we feel uncomfortable.
People today question why we have to develop love for God. Love for God enables one to develop fear of sin, which in turn will develop morality in society. Everyone has to discriminate between good and bad, sin and virtue. Having analysed, one must try to do good only. Be good, do good, see good, this is the way to God. Devoid of these three, any number of rituals, worship, japa (chanting the divine name) and tapa (penance) will be of no use.
The nine forms of devotion are: sravanam (listening), kirtanam (singing), Vishnusmaranam (contemplating on Vishnu), Padasevanam (serving His Lotus Feet), vandanam (salutation), archanam (worship), dasyam (servitude), sneham (friendship), and Atmanivedanam (self-surrender).
The first step is sravanam (listening). Then one has to analyse whether what has been listened to is good or bad. If you think that it is a bad suggestion and therefore not to your liking, how can you implement it?
It is possible today that one can get one’s work done by speaking untruth and scoring victory over others by false and unjust means. Hence, one has to enquire into the sanctity or otherwise of every act that one undertakes. One should not be complacent about the consequences that would follow; sooner or later, the result of a sinful act would accrue. It may happen now or a little later, at any moment. Hence, be prepared to undertake only good and noble acts with a pure mind.
More than anything else, purity of conscience is of utmost importance. That is Atma Thatthwa. Nobody can understand what Atma is. Since the bodies and forms are many, some names have to be given in order to distinguish between them. However, Atma or Brahma has neither birth nor death, unlike the physical bodies. Hence, no one can identify it as such and such.
Atma, though beyond one’s comprehension, has been described as nitya, shuddha, buddha, mukta, nirmala swarupinam (eternal, pure, enlightened, free and embodiment of sacredness). It is niranjanam, sanathana niketanam (unsullied, final abode). There is only one Atma, and it is immanent in all beings. That is the essential nature of the Atma.
A small example; when you place one hundred pots filled with water under the sky on a moonlit night, you will find one moon reflecting in each of those pots. The body is like a pot. It is bound to perish at any time. Then where does the moon (Atma) go? It does not go anywhere. It is there. However, since there is no water (body), it is not reflecting in the water. In the same manner, the Atma is present in every human being.
A person that does not have good character has no morality. A person with no morality does not deserve to be called a human being. We have to earn honour and respect for ourselves in the society. However, we don’t find anyone concerned about good name in the society these days.
But people are very particular about who is rich and who is poor. Money comes and goes, but morality comes and grows is the adage. It is, therefore, not correct to aspire for wealth, power, and such other worldly things. All these possessions are transitory. You may try to hold on tightly to them, but they just slip away even without your noticing them.
The Atma, however, is eternal. There is no coming and going for Atma. It always remains an eternal witness to everything that goes on in the world. We have to develop faith in such eternal Atma. Those who develop faith in the Atma Thatthwa will not be disturbed by injustice, wrong, and bad practices.
People say “My body, my senses, my mind, my intellect”, etc., but “you” are none of these. For example, you say, “This is my book.” This book is in your hands at this moment. The next moment somebody wishes to have a look at it. It goes into his hands. Similarly, you hold some currency in your hands. After some time it will go into someone else’s hands. It just comes and goes. But, morality comes and grows. Morality has no form.
If someone wishes to improve society and the world, morality has to be developed in the individual first. Several political parties come forward these days saying that they will improve society. They propose to transform society. But they invariably fail because what they try to do is to garner the votes of people for their selfish ends. They do not at all bother about society.
If you want to transform society, there must be purity in your heart. First, the individual and then society. In order that the individual is transformed, there must be love for God and fear of sin. Then comes morality in society. Individuals make a society. Hence, if unity among people is developed there will be purity and Divinity. Unity, purity, and divinity cannot be attained by mere education.
Supposing you sit for meditation, closing your eyes. However, the mind goes on wandering everywhere. You try to bring it back to the starting point. It is all a practice. Only when the wavering mind is stilled is meditation possible. This process of making the mind steady is called concentration. Meditation is possible only after concentration. The proper order is concentration, contemplation, and meditation.
Do not believe someone who claims to be meditating the moment they sit. That is an artificial exercise, not meditation. Real meditation is forgetting oneself totally. It is forgetting dehatma bhava (the feeling of identification with the body) completely. One has to totally give up attachment to the senses. Then only will the mind be steady.
Once, there was a father who had four sons. Each one wanted to follow a different vocation to earn money. One son wanted to take up business. Another wanted to open a small grocery shop. The third son wanted to take up employment, and the fourth another vocation. Though money earning was the common objective, each one wanted to go in a different path. Finally, it is the means that are adopted for earning money that result in accumulation of virtue or sin. People commit a sin even without their knowing that they are doing so. The sins committed by people will continue to haunt them.
Sometime ago, there were heavy floods in the State of Orissa. They ravaged several villages in four districts. The houses, trees, standing crops, even animals, and some people were swept away by the surging flood water. Hundreds of villages were inundated, and people were marooned. They were fear-struck at the fury of nature.
Then I sent a telegram: “Don’t worry. Be happy. I will build your houses.” The people of Orissa came to see Me, by arranging a special train. The government was there, MPs and MLAs were there, who were expected to come to their rescue in that hour of need and provide succour to them. But none came forward. Immediately I sent ten crores and arranged for distribution of relief material and building of pucca houses for the affected people.
I am not interested in accumulation of money. I want only your love. Be happy. Develop your morality and love for God. If you develop love, that love itself will drive away the demonic qualities in you.
Before the Rama-Ravana war commenced, Hanuman entered Lanka, as part of his mission to search the whereabouts of Sita. After he found Sita, he was on his way back to pass on the information to Sri Rama. He was caught by the demons and brought to the court of Ravana. Ravana was infuriated on seeing Hanuman, who destroyed the beautiful Asokavana while he was returning. Ravana questioned Hanuman, “Who are you? How dare you enter this impregnable city of Lanka?” He underestimated the power of Hanuman and derided him addressing him as an ordinary monkey. Hanuman replied in the same tone as an equal and told Ravana, “The Lord who cut off the ears and nose of your sister has sent me.”
Ravana was very angry, since no one dared to talk to him in such an undignified manner. In fact, Hanuman used the same language as Ravana did. Ravana felt insulted. Hanuman was not bothered in the least, for he was always chanting Ramanama, which gave him the courage and strength to face any situation.
Ravana could not tolerate the impertinence and arrogance of Hanuman and therefore ordered that Hanuman’s tail be wrapped with clothes dipped in oil and set on fire. Immediately, clothes soaked in oil were wrapped round the tail of Hanuman and set on fire. Hanuman did not keep quiet. With that burning tail, he jumped from one building to the other and thus set the entire city on fire. Beautiful and palatial buildings studded with precious stones went up in flames within no time. Even Mandodari’s palace was engulfed by flames. She came out. People ran helter-skelter here and there. Not a single building was spared from the raging flames.
Hanuman then advised Mandodari, “Mother, it is the sin committed by your husband that is responsible for this devastating fire and consequent loss of so many lives and property. Please tell your husband not to commit such heinous sins hereafter. If you can thus save your husband, it amounts to saving yourself and the Rakshasa clan.”
People have to suffer the consequences of their actions. God is only a witness. Good or bad, one gets the fruit of one’s actions. Hence, first and foremost, one has to develop morality, which is based on developing human qualities first. If human qualities are to be developed in a person, one should have love for God. Thus, love for God, fear of sin, and morality in society are interdependent. When there is morality in society, all people will be safe.
One important point has to be remembered in this context. You may hide your actions from society, but the omnipresent God knows everything. You will have to suffer the consequences of your actions. It is an immutable law. Hence, if you can do help to others, it is alright. Otherwise just keep silent. Do not harm others. Do not commit a mistake by thought, word and deed. Sometimes, you may not get the result of your actions immediately. It will take some time. But surely the result will follow.
People study spiritual texts like the Bhagavad Gita but fail to realise their own innate nature. The Upanishads exhort one, “Dear son, try to realise your own nature first. Know thyself! If you can do that, it amounts to knowing everything.” The knowledge of the Self (Atma Bodha) entails realisation, “I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am not the intellect,” etc.
The mind is like a cloth consisting of threads woven together. How long will this cloth last? As long as the threads are intact. Once you remove the threads, the cloth loses its shape. Or, if you put the cloth in fire, it will be reduced to ashes.
People say, “So and so is my wife, so and so my child, so and so is my son-in-law, so and so is my son,” etc. These relationships are only illusion. Who are all these people? All are God’s property. Everything in this world is God’s property; nobody has any right, whatsoever. People fight between themselves claiming rights, thus wasting their time. “Time waste is life waste.” In fact, it is not time we are wasting; we are wasting our precious life.
In conclusion, I would like to stress once again that you should cultivate love for God, fear of sin, and morality in society. These are valuable assets, which you must always safeguard. If you safeguard these values, they will in turn protect you.
You think you have to realise Brahma Thatthwa (the Brahma Principle) today. In fact, Brahman has no name and form. It is nirgunam, niranjanam, sanathana niketanam, nitya, shuddha, buddha, mukta, nirmala swarupinam (God is attributeless, unsullied, final abode, eternal, pure, enlightened, free, and embodiment of sacredness) The Balvikas children from Tamil Nadu are waiting to present a cultural programme. Witness that programme. I will continue My Discourse tomorrow.
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