Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 4
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We hear the words, “rajaniti” and “rajakiyam”. Are these, in fact, one and the same? How should we name what we see around us?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: “Rajaniti” and “rajakiyam” can never be the same. Look at “Rajayoga”. Among the yogas, the one most highly revered which stands king-like is given that name. Similarly the very greatest among moral codes, equal in status to a king among men, is called “rajaniti”. The king of animals is the lion, you know. “Rajaniti” is conjoined with Satya, bound by Dharma, and confers all welfare. What you have today are not “rajaniti” or “rajakiyam” political strategies, at all. But “rajakayyams” royal battles born of malice, envy, and hatred. All these are kayyams, bitter fights. Therefore, they are “rajaki yams”.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We have people of varied temperaments, views, ideas, outlooks, ambitions and interests. Conflict becomes inevitable. Each one wants things to happen in his own way. What should we do then?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: “Munde munde matirbhinna”, Heads vary. No two people look alike: no two think in the same way. It is quite natural that ideas differ. Each one feels that he is correct. But you should maintain the spirit of unity, equality and equanimity.
A small example. Once upon a time all the five fingers of the palm started claiming superiority over one another. First, the little finger said to the others, “Look! As you do namaskar, I come first. Therefore, I am important”. The ring finger then said, “What! Don’t you know my value? Costly diamond and gold rings are worn around me!” Then, the middle finger said, “Very funny! What are you talking about? I am ready to wear costly rings. Why not? Some do that way also. Further, don’t you see me, who am taller than all of you? Isn’t that enough to say that I am superior to all of you?” The forefinger started saying, “If you want to direct anybody, I come first. People show me to direct people. Further, even to warn or caution others, I come first. Don’t you see this?” Then, last but not the least, the thumb smiling said, “I have been watching so long all that is happening! Unless I join, even if the four of you stand united, you cannot function. While eating anything, can you manage without me? Why go to that extent? When you shoot an arrow, I have to pull the stringbackwards with force. Else, the arrow will never go far. So mine is the highest position among us”.
This is how we find people staking their claims for superiority over one other. You should always be ready to receive the good from anybody. You should work in cooperation and harmony with one another. No one should feel superior to anyone. Otherwise, because of the domination of one over another, groups, factions, rivalries, controversies and conflicts arise. As a result, the sprit of love totally vanishes from the scene. Unless all the five fingers join, you cannot do anything, you see! Society can never progress if there is no cooperation, integration and unity among its members.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! When we say, ‘men and women are equal’, why then do we find differences and discrimination between the two sexes?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Physically men and women are different. But spiritually, i.e., from the atmic point of view, both are equal. In fact, God is the only male while all others are females. The deham, body, is also called puram, dwelling place. It is the principle of atma that works from top to bottom. You know, Colleges for Women celebrate Anniversary Functions during which they present cultural items like a play. Here, girls play all the different roles like those of a soldier, a minister, a king, and so on. Similarly, all but God are women in this world. A similar thing happened in the life of Mira, the great devotee of Lord Krishna. She was stopped at the main entrance of a Krishna mandir at Brindavan and was told that women were not permitted to enter a temple of God. Then Mira replied, “Oh! Is that so! Where are men here? I find only women. God is the only male person.”
However, from the worldly pointof view, for the division of work, men and women are different from each other. Everything and everyone are Divine. Even though it is your own body, you don’t put slippers or footwear on the head or hands. Functionally, all the parts of the body are different from each other, though they may belong to the same person. So also physically and functionally, men and women are separate entities though spiritually they are one and the same.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We hear many funny statements in present day society. People speak about Women’s Liberation Movement. Some say that women have not been given their due place since times immemorial. They complain that there has always been discrimination on grounds of gender and never was a fair deal given to a woman. Women now fight for equal rights with men. We pray to you to describe to us the role of women in our society?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: This is not true, spiritually speaking. There is a physical difference, but Atma or the spirit is one. However, each one has to discharge duties expected of him or her. In a social order, man and woman are like the two hands, the two eyes, and the two feet. One is the positive, while the other is the negative for the current to flow and operate. Lord Siva is called ardhanarisvara, androgynous God (half of his body being that of a woman) to explain this unity. Man and woman are like matter and energy. A woman is described as adisakti and parasakti Supreme Power and Infinite Power.
You also notice in the history of Bharat the place given to women. Many of them areknown today for their sacrifice, wisdom, devotion, and many of them could give better and sane advice to their husbands. Characters like Savitri, Mandodari, Sita, Anasuya, Tara, Damayanti, Madalasa, and Draupadi are very well known. Draupadi served her five husbands most faithfully, never said ‘no’ to whatever work was assigned to her, and led a life of contentment. When there was a debate between Adi Sankara and Mandanamisra, it was the wife of Mandanamisra, Ubhaya Bharati, who played the role of a judge and pronounced Adi Sankara the winner at the end. In ancient times, Gargi and Maitreyi were known for their outstanding scholarship and spiritual excellence. In recent times, have you not heard of the role played by the mother of Emperor Sivaji and of Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, in moulding their character and personality? They learnt lessons of life in the lap of their mothers! It was due to the love and inspiration of Kausalya and Sita towards their respective sons, Lord Rama and the twins Lava and Kusa that the latter could earn undying reputation and stand to today as ideals to the entire world.
In our daily prayers we say “mata devo bhava”, Mother is God. Don’t you see the names of women come first and those of men next in compounds like Sita Rama, Gauri Sankar, Lakshmi Narayana and so on? In the past, there never was an instance of women being humiliated, neglected or treated with disrespect. Don’t you hear words like ‘mother land’, ‘mother tongue’ that speak highly of women?
The Bhagavad gita refers to seven types of power enjoyed by women as a matter of right. She has quite a few titles that underscore her contribution to the family and her special role. A housewife is called illalu, the one who takes care of the house or illu. She is described as sahadharma carini, the one who guides her husband along the path of Dharma. She is praised as grhalaksmi, the very embodiment of the wealth, peace and prosperity of the family. She is called ardhangi, representing a half of man, the better half.
Woman stands for patience, sacrifice, forbearance, respect, humility and obedience, the qualities, which are usually missing among men. A woman is prepared to die for her child or husband. She slogs and struggles for the progress and the well being of the family. She is the backbone of the country. She is the light and the delight of the family.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! A change is very much needed in every field of our activity. Almost all walks of public life are nowadays polluted, disgusting and disappointing. How is change to be brought about?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Truly speaking, villagers who are unlettered, innocent and rustic are living in greater peace and cooperation, more intimate relationships, and mutual love than the so called urban, sophisticated, educated, and seemingly cultured people. The latter are full of ego and jealousy. To bring about a change, they need to work for it. They must put in enough sincere effort to overcome qualities like egoism pride, jealousy, and hatred. Butter is no doubt very soft. But in order to make ghee out of it, you must heat it. Similarly for any change, you have to work for it. You should first of all listen to all good things from good people. This listening, sravana is the first step. It is not enough if you simply listen. You should remember, recall, recollect, and recapitulate the good things you have listened to. This is called manana. The third thing is to practice what you have listened and learnt. This is called nidhidhyasa . Take a small example. First of all, your food must be cooked in the kitchen. Then it has to be brought and kept on the dining table and served. It is then that you eat it. Further, the food that you eat must be digested, assimilated, and the nourishment is to be supplied to different parts of your body. Is it not so? Similarly, srvana , listening is like cooking, manana, remembering is the same as food kept on the table, whereas nidhidhyasa, practicing what is heard is like eating and digesting.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We are always in a hurry. We have to rush to so many places to catch up and to keep pace withtime and work. In this type of fast life, is it possible to be spiritual? Can we hurry here in the spiritual field too?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Today, many of the diseases are due to the three factors very common among you: hurry, worry, and curry. Haste makes waste, waste makes worry. So, don’t be in a hurry. Patience is very important and essential. In my previous format Shirdi, I laid emphasis on sraddha and saburi, sincerity and patience.
It is very common to find people running to catch a train or a bus to go to office, and so on. You wait for any length of time standing in long queues in front of cinema theatres. But here, you begin to look at your wrist watches wondering why Swami has not yet come out for darshan! So, you must be patient enough to enjoy real bliss. For anything to happen, there is a proper time, preordained, predetermined, and designed by God. You know Arjuna had to wait till his 74th year in order to listen to the Bhagavad Gita, the Celestial Song, from Krishna although both of them were moving together for years very intimately. Similarly, you too should wait. You should not feel, “What is this! Why is Swami not talking to me?” At the right time, I will do the appropriate thing for you. See, how a fruit falls down on the ground soon after it is ripe detaching itself from the tree! You will have to wait till the time is ripe for you. You can’t and shouldn’t be in a hurry in the spiritual field.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! The growing trend today is to earn more and more money. Ego and pride are growing beyond control. Would you kindly give us the solution for this trend?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The earth revolves round the sun. So also, man today is revolving around money. In fact, money provides only comfort and conveniences. There are many things that money cannot do.
With money you can have delicious food in a five star hotel, but how about your appetite? You can buy a beautiful bed, but can you buy sleep? You can have the latest, costliest medicines, but can you with your money extend the life of a dying man?’
You think money makes many things, but it is not so. It leads you on to vices. People have two important resources ‘Head’ and ‘Heart’. Head carries with it responsibility. It has all the knowledge of pravrtti, the external world, but heart stands for nivrtti, right internal awakening. Values like sacrifice, truth, charity, love, compassion, come out of the heart. All that you find outside is only ‘art’, but ‘heart’ is inside. Don’t be carried away by the outer ‘art’.
The breeze you get from a number of electric fans is nothing compared to natural breeze. Tank water, riverwater, and lake water can never equal rain water. God is infinite. Where does man stand in front of Him? Why are you egoistic and proud? What for? Mountains may be of high altitude. But, water from the mountain top flows only downward. Similarly, you may be a great scholar or occupy a good position. If you are proud and egoistic, your fall is near. Light travels upward. So also, the fire of knowledge takes you to the heights. In fact modern man is much worse than cats and dogs. When they are sick they do not eat anything, they fast or starve. However, man is for a feast even in times of sickness. He never ‘fasts’. He likes ‘feasts’ only. Therefore he falls sick frequently.
The cycle of creation goes by the three attributes or Gunas: tamas, inertia, rajas, passion, and sattva, piety represented by the triune, Brahma, creator, Vishnu, sustainer, and Siva, annihilator. Among the eighty-four lakhs of species, the human being is very special. He is blessed by God, his creator with mind and intellect. But man has become so egoistic and proud that he even doubts, questions, and denies God, his creator. This is the significance of the episode of Mohini Bhasmasura in our epics.
There was one demon king by name Bhasmasura. He did penance and pleased Lord Siva. He prayed to Siva to grant him a boon that would give him the power to turn anybody into ashes the moment he lays his hands on his head. Siva granted the boon. Thus, intoxicated with this new found power, Bhasmasura began laying his hand indiscriminately on the heads of all those persons he found near him. Naturally, according to the boon he got from God, they died and were burnt to ashes. He became so bad, so horrible, and so highly egoistic that he decided to place his hand even on the head of Siva, the very giver of the boon. Then Lord Vishnu took the form of a beautiful dancer Mohini, and started dancing in front of Bhasmasura who, excited by her enchanting beauty, also started dancing along with her. In the course of gestures and postures, Mohini had suddenly put her hand on her head and Bhasmasura did the same thing. The moment he placed his hand on his head he died. So by denying God, man is ruining himself.
Modern man is like Bhasmasura. He harms the person who helps him. Whatever is said, thought, and done by him is full of selfishness. He has lost the value of fundamental discrimination, which is applicable to all and beneficial to everyone. He lacks divine qualities like truth, peace and love. This is the flaw. He lacks divine qualities and possesses demonic qualities like jealousy, pride, and hatred. He “kills” knowledge. He has to ‘skill’ his knowledge to maintain balance. This is the reason for all his troubles. He removes the letter ‘S’ that stands for ‘Sai’ from the word ‘skill’ and loses balance. Ego, avarice, jealousy, andsuch bad qualities are due to our ahara, vihara, and samparka: food, company, and interaction. When you control and discipline yourself, you will find the solution.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! In an organisation where we have to interact with people, most often wecome across people criticising each other and blaming each other. This is very frustrating, and divides people into groups. Sincere persons become frustrated because of uncharitable criticism. It looks like character assassination and mud slinging. How are we to take this evil prevalent everywhere?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is a sin to criticise others. It is a sign of weakness and inferiority complex. You shouldn’t criticise or hate anyone. In fact, no one has any authority to criticise others. To tackle this, first of all, one should put a question to oneself: “Who is being criticised?” Then, you don’t feel upset any longer. Why? If the criticism applies to your body, you don’t need to feel bad because the body is temporary and ephemeral. You should be indifferent to your own body, which lands you in many difficulties and problems. The other man is doing service to you by criticising your body. You should be thankful to him for doing so on your behalf. Is it then, the spirit or atma that is criticised? This is not possible because the same soul or atma is present in the critic also. Atma is Self, the same in all. Then, who is the critic and who is criticised? It all amounts to the criticism of one’s own self. Ego and jealousy are the root causes that provoke a person to criticise others.
You have put another question. You want to know how you should react to criticism against you. A small example. Suppose you receive a registered letter. If you don’t want to accept it, you can refuse to take delivery. The registered letter will then go back to the sender. Will it not? Similarly, criticism against you is a registered letter. Don’t acknowledge and receive it. Refuse it so that the same registered letter of criticism will go back to the sender, the critic himself. If anyone speaks loudly and belligerently against you in public, it is all lost in the air or in your vicinity. If anybody accuses you secretly, it goes to the accuser himself.
What I feel is that one has to bejudged by one’s merits and not by one’s faults. I ask you repeatedly to seek out your own faults and other’s merits. If you enquire deeply, you will notice that personal criticism is nothing but the “reflection of the inner being”.You spot the bad in the outside world, because of the bad in you. There is nothing that you can find outside yourself. Duryodhana was asked to go in search of a good man. He returned saying that he had found none. If you want to know any good person existing in this world, it is yourself only. Dharmajawas asked to go round and bring a bad person. He returned saying that there was none who was bad other than himself. This is the difference in the attitude of two persons with different views of life. As is your vision so appears the creation. As is the colour of the glasses you wear, so is the colour of the world you see. If you are aware of this truth, you will never criticise anybody.
“Sarva ova namaskarah kesavamprati gacchati”, whomsoever you respect and revere, it amounts to reverence unto God. Since God is in everyone, if you respect anyone, it means, you respect God. Similarly, “sarva jiva tiraskarah kesavam prati gacchati”, whomsoever you hate, it amounts to hatred of the Divine Himself. If you deeply look into the eyes of the man standing in front of you, you see your own reflection. Therefore, he is not a separate person but your own reflection.
There is only one without the second, i.e., God who is present in all. When you point out your forefinger at the mistakes of another man, three fingers of yours are turned towards you, reminding you of your own mistakes. If you understand this, you won’t criticise anybody or blame anybody. God gives and forgives. I often tell you, past is past and it is beyond recovery. Hence, be careful hereafter.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! As we think of the way in which our life is going, we find it confusing and disheartening. We also doubt if it is going in the right direction or not. You are our only refuge. Kindly guide us.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You know mrdangam, the South Indian musical instrument, which like a drum, has to be beaten on both the sides as you play. Your life is like a rat caught in that mrdangam. If the mrdangam is beaten on one side, the rat runs to the other side and, vice versa, as there is no way out for it. Similarly having been fed up with this world, you think of God. When God tests you, you again drift towards the world. Your movement between the world and God is like that of the rat. This is not the proper way.
A small example. Two students competed with each other in a tournament of eating bananas. One student wanted to eat the outer skin of every fruit first so that he could finish eating the soft pulp part next. The other student planned to eat the soft part first and the skin next. Accordingly, they started eating. The first student having eaten the outer skin of every fruit first had his belly full of that stuff and he could not eat any sweet pulp. So he was defeated, and suffered from stomachache and indigestion. The second student ate a bellyfull of the pulp of every fruit and hence couldn’t eat the skin of the fruits. So, he too lost in the competition. All the same, he remained healthy.
Similar is the case with those people who are after worldly desires and sensual pleasures. They will have to end their lives in misery finding no cure for bhavaroga, the ailment of worldly attachment. This is equal to the condition of the first student who ate only the outer skin of the banana first in the tournament. But those who think of God are like the second student who ate the soft pulp. They grow stronger in divine life.
Life should start from the point of dasoham, I am your servant. Fill its middle with the relentless enquiry, koham, “Who am I?” End it with full awareness of the identity of the individual self with God “soham”, I am God. This is the correct way of life.
Man should realise that the happiness and peace he essentially needs are not present in this mundane world. A simple example. A person went to a hotel. The bearer asked him, “What shall I serve for you?” The person said, “I want idli and sambar.” Then the bearer taken by great surprise, said “What Sir! Have you not seen the board hanging over there! This is a military non-vegetarian hotel. Sir!” Likewise, how can you expect items like Palav, Biriyani and Chicken in anudipi Brahmin vegetarian hotel?
In the same manner there is a board attached to this world, anityam asukham lokam, “This world is temporary and full of misery.” How do you expect peace and happiness in this world? That is why in the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says, ‘mam bhajasva’ meaning, ‘Think of me or worship me or be immersed in me or surrender to me’. You should lead your life in full knowledge of these facts.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How should we conduct ourselves socially? What are social norms?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You should forget two things: the help you have given to others and the harm others have done to you. Moreover, you should remember two things: the help that others have given to you and the harm you have done to others. Then there will be no ego, pride, jealousy, envy, hatred, and other evil tendencies in you.
You should also note another important thing. However small a fault or mistake there is in you, take it as a very big one. At the same time when you notice a big mistake in others, you should consider it a very small one. Take your own goodness as tiny and that of others as mighty. This attitude helps you to correct yourself, improve yourself, and enable you to forgive and forget the lapses of others.
But, today quite the opposite is happening. Everyone magnifies his own goodness and minimises that of others, considers his own Himalayan blunders small as an anthill, while he gives Himalayan magnitude even to the smallest mistakes of others. This is the cause of all conflicts and infighting.
There are still two more extreme categories of people. Some of them portray their lapses as merits, project their mistakes as right things, and try to focus on their virtues, which are actually missing in them. Then, there is the last category of people who are even worse than demons. These are the people who attribute faults, mistakes, and defects to others, which are all false, and totally ignore their merits. Correct your own mistakes first. Judge others by their merits and not by their faults. Seek out your own faults and other’s merits.
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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