Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 6
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How can we come up in life?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You have to work for it. It may be difficult, but it is desirable to achieve it. In fact, everyone should strive to come up in life, So, it is said, ‘Aim high. Low aim is a crime.’ One has to travel in the right direction and reach the goal. Birth as a human being is meant for this purpose. Man has to realise that he is essentially divine. One has to attain Divinity. But this is not as easy and as simple as it seems. After all, a fall is easy and quick too.
Take this example. As you come to Kodaikanal by bus climbing the hills, the bus makes a lot of noise. Lorries also struggle and make loud sounds climbing these hills and reaching Kodaikanal. But, the very same bus or lorry finds it easy to go downhill. So is the case with human life too! You have to struggle and work hard to come up in life. But to fall from a height and ruin yourself is easy, simple, and quick.
Take another example. When you shoot an arrow, the more you pull it backwards closer to the string, the farther the arrow goes. Similarly, if you work more, your success will be equally greater. A rocket, the moment it is launched with force it rises with burning flames. So, in life the amount of effort you put in decides your rate of success.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Kindly tell us how to achieve greatness in life?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Never allow this sort of idea to get into your head. You are mistaken if you think that you have achieved something very special and unique by becoming great. No, not at all. Becoming great in life should not be your aim. There are several great people in society. I don’t think this is important or that this matters most. Goodness is superior to greatness. Instead of aiming to be great, try to be good. It is far more important to be a good man than a great man.
What is the difference betweenthe two? A great man sees man in God, while a good man sees God in man. Ravana, as portrayed in the Ramayana, was undoubtedly a great man. He considered Rama, the Lord, a mere man. But, Rama was an ideal good man. Rama saw divinity in a bird like Jatayu, in squirrels, and even in rakshasas like Vibhishana. Women like Sabari, illiterate people like Guha as well as saints appear to Rama like his own reflections. So, Rama was good. So, you should try to get the reputation that you are a good man and not a great man.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is an ideal government?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: In an ideal government everyone willingly observes the rules and regulations of the State. Everybody discharges his or her responsibilities. ‘Godment’ issuperior to Government. But, today we see people fighting for their rights, forgetting their duties.
You should not give any scope for laziness. All employees should work most sincerely doing justice to the salaries they receive every month. Otherwise, they will be cheating or betraying their fellow beings or the government. People should cultivate sdmarasyam, integration, samagrata, coordination, samaikyata, unity, and saubhrdtrata, fraternity.
Look at this piece of cloth. This is very strong because the threads are closely interwoven. But if you separatethe threads, you can cut it with your finger. Everybody should know that strength lies in unity. India could achieve independence but not unity. You are free to walk waving your walking stick, so long as it does not hit the nose of another pedestrian and your freedom does not rob the independence of others.
Fundamentals applicable to all must be followed. The individual is less important than the community or society. It is always better that you manage to employ yourselves in learning those things that are needed for society. Your education should help you to better the community.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! This gentleman is a famous journalist. Many say that he reports well for the newspapers.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Is that so! Good! Who is a journalist? He who writes a general list of matters in papers is a journalist. What is news? All the information from North, East, West and South forms news. It is good to know the news that comes from the outside world. What about nuisance that comes from within you? Know that and correct yourself.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is essential for us now?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: If you have love, it is enough. Everything will be added unto you. Service, sacrifice, humility, devotion, discipline, etc are contained within love. It is only love that prompts and promotes all virtues. Where there is love, there will be no ego, hatred, jealousy and such other low mean, animal qualities.
There was a lady in Paris. She led her life with the little money she had. She saw one day some helpless footpath dwellers shivering in the cold. She was deeply moved by this sight. Everyday she used to take a few blankets along with her and offer them to those poor, needy and forlorn. This had gone to the notice of the elders and finally the government. They decided to honour her. A few youngsters came to her to congratulate her. She said that she was not happy since she could not help everyone, when the compassionate Almighty God was helping everyone always. She further added that she felt ashamed and frustrated, as her help could not be extended to everyone.
I will tell you another story. There was in an army a soldier who lost both his legs in a war and had to move with the help of crutches. Since his service was relatively short, he was not eligible for all the retirement benefits. The Major of his unit gave him some money and asked him to return. The soldier, on his way back home, had to stop in a village and take shelter in a choultry as it was raining heavily. The money on hand also was exhausted. Next morning, a schoolgirl happened to pass the same street, saw this soldier, and made enquiries. The girl was deeply moved by his plight. Since then, she used to go to school an hour early everyday, collect some fruits on the way, sell them, and purchase a few chapatis for the soldier.
After a couple of weeks, the Major happened to pass the same way and noticed the soldier. The major was surprised to see him, for even after a long time he had not yet reached home due to paucity of funds. The Major found out how the soldier was managing himself all these days. In the meantime, the girl came and served chapatis to the soldier. The Major followed her and went to her house. On seeing him her parents thought that their daughter must have done something wrong and so he had come to make an enquiry. When they were about to punish her, the Major intervened and said to her parents, “You are indeed very lucky! How many of us have such children with magnanimity, love, concern for the needy, and the spirit of service?” He was about to give some gold coins to her parents who said “Sir! We don’t want all this. We can live with our hard earned money. Who can guard these gold coins at home? Please leave us alone, Sir!” The Major felt happy and left for his native place where he found an eligible bridegroom for this girl and performed her marriage. This is the true wealth of love. ‘Expansion of love is life. Contraction of love is death’
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We go to colleges and universities for studies and acquire knowledge. We take up some employment there after. We draw our salaries, but, the pity is whomsoever we meet starts saying, “I don’t have peace of mind”. Why is this so? What is to be done?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Mere education will not give you peace of mind. Sage Vyasa compiled all the Vedas, wrote the great epic Mahabharata, the eighteen Puranas and the Brahmasutras. Yet, his mind was restless, without peace. At this stage of Vyasa’s anguish, sage Narada advised him to write the Bhagavata, a work, which incorporated the lilas of the Lord and life sketches of some of the most outstanding devotees of the Lord who sang the full glory of His miracles. It was only then that he enjoyed peace and bliss. Neither position, nor status, nor scholarship, nor influence, nor wealth, nor fame, no, none of these achievements can ever give you peace of mind. It can’t be received from anyone nor can it be located at a place. No external objects, articles, or possessions can give you peace of mind.
The root cause of loss of peace is the bundle of desires. So, I often tell you “less luggage, more comfort, make travel a pleasure”, the maxim of the Indian Railways. Therefore, a ceiling on desires is most important.
It is in contentment that peace and happiness are present. Who is the richest man? The man with contentment is the richest man. Who is the poorest man? He who has many desires is the poorest man.
Many come to me and say, “I want peace”. I tell everyone, The answer is in your request itself. When you say, ‘I want peace’, there are two components ‘I’ and ‘want’. ‘I’ is mamakara or the ‘ego’ or attachment, and ‘want’ is kama or desire. When you give up these two ‘I ego’ and ‘want desire’, ‘peace’ is already there.”
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Many of us are helpless when we interact with youngsters. They often say, “Don’t interfere with our freedom. We are independent and act in the way we choose.” We find it difficult to convince them about what we think is right, and to guide them in the right direction. What should we do in the present circumstances?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: From your statement, it is very clear that modern youth do not know what freedom is. They use terms like sveccha, freedom and svatantra, independence, indiscriminately without knowing their correct meaning.
What is freedom? What is independence? If freedom means behaving as we like, without any norms, in what way then are we different from birds and beasts which act as they like? They move about freely without any restrictions. They also procreate producing dozens and dozens of young ones. If that is what the youngsters mean and want by ‘freedom’, insects, birds, and animals, without attending any universities and getting degrees are able to manage to secure food and shelter and live freely as ordained by nature. Then in what way does your freedom benefit you? What is your specialty? What for is your education? Animals are better than you as they have some reason and season. You have neither reason nor season.
What is sveccha, freedom? If the Sanskrit word sveccha is analysed properly sva+iccha is sveccha. Sva means ‘yourself’, i.e. soul, spirit, atma, iccha means ‘will’. Thus, sva, atma plus iccha will means the will power of atma. So this relates to our atma. Is it that sveccha that our youngsters want today? The pity is they do not know the meaning of the word they use.
Then, modern man says, “I have svatantra, independence, to do anything I like. Can’t I be independent?” Here also youngsters do not know the meaning of svatantra. Does svatantra mean reckless, careless, and irresponsible behaviour? No. If you think that moving and roaming around, eating and drinking anything to your liking, are the signs of independence, don’t you see that cats and rats also enjoy themselves in the same manner? Does independence mean food and drink? You are spending your entire lifetime any way on these two, food and drink. Life has come down to the level of just loading and unloading.
Then what is svatantra, independence? You have to remember in this context one important point. True, you have independence. But, there is a limit. Your independence should not come in the way of the independence of others. So you have independence up to the point that it does not affect the independence of others. A small example. A gentleman on a fine morning started his stroll, waving his walking stick and swinging it freely. After some time a man passing that way pointed out, “Do not swing your walking stick like that!” Then this man said, “Why not? I have independence and can move my walking stick in any way I like”. But, the other said, “Sir, it is true. But your independence to swing your walking stick ends where my nose begins to appear because while swinging your walking stick, I am afraid, you might hit my nose”. This is the limitation of your independence.
We also hear people say, “We are celebrating svarajya, Independence Day.” Is it true? No. Here sva means ‘self’. Have you mastered yourself? Do you have control over your senses? Usually svatantra means becoming independent of foreign rule. You break the chains of slavery under the yoke of the rulers and declare independence. This is political independence. This is not enough.
Spiritually also you should be independent by controlling your senses, conquering your weaknesses and checking your evil tendencies. This is independence in the kingdom of Atma. You become truly independent only after you have conquered desire, lust, greed, anger, hatred, avarice, sense of vengeance, etc. You have to understand the meaning of svatantra in this sense.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is the ideal ambience of a classroom?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You should follow your ancient traditional culture. A student with vinaya, humility, and vidheyata , obedience will be able to acquire thorough knowledge. Students should evince keen interest in the subject they study, and even ask questions. Whenever they have doubts, they should seek clarifications from their teachers. Therefore, a student should be seated at a lower level than a teacher who occupies his seat at a higher level on a chair. Water always flows downwards, so does knowledge. Fire travels upwards. Similarly, the fire of wisdom of a student travels upwards.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Today we find imitation in all spheres of life. In particular, this imitation is very common among youngsters. What does Swami say about it?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Imitation is weakness. This is a defect in the modern youth. Imitation is human, creation is divine. Imitation makes you forget your natural behaviour also.
A crow happened to see a swan and was very much attracted by its graceful and dignified gait. The crow started imitating. It started walking slowly for a while, then started jumping and finally was about to fly with the result that it had lost its own way of walking. It looked so awkward and artificial. Therefore, one has to be natural. Imitation is not only unnatural, but also ridiculous.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Today many people, particularly youngsters, are wasting their time. Many are lazy, and idle away their precious time. So, in spite of rich resources, the country is not progressing. Kindly suggest a cure for this malady.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There is no dearth of anything in this country. We have sufficient resources. People are also highly resourceful and talented: There is nothing in the world outside which is not here in Bharat. As the Kannada saying goes, enna bharate tanna bharati.
History tells you that in the past this country was the target of invasions and attacks by many foreigners drawn by the riches and the resources here. But today, we find many lazy people wasting their precious time. Though they draw fat salaries, they don’t work proportionately. Thus, the country is betrayed and cheated. You should follow Time. Time will not follow you. God is time, samvatsaraya namah. Time is God. Kalaya namah, kalatitaya namah, kaladarpadamanaya namah are some of the epithets of God depicting him as the Master, the Designer and the Controller of Time. The Namavali emphasises this aspect of Divinity. So, if you waste your time, it is a sin. You should spend time in the most sacred way. I tell my boys often:
See no evil, see what is good,
Speak no evil, speak what is good,
Hear no evil, hear what is good,
Do no evil, do what is good.
Therefore, it can be concluded that ‘casting evil looks, hearing evil words, talking evil, thinking evil, acting evil’, amount to waste of time.
You should work hard. “Thou shalt live by the sweat of thy brow,” says the Holy Bible. But, today it is not like that; people would rather like to have their earnings without putting in any effort. Any work you do, do it with namasmarana, repeating God’s name. This is bhakti marga, the path of devotion. Such work turns itself into an offering to God. This is anubhava jnana or Wisdom borne out of experience or Practical Knowledge.
Idle people, lazy fellows can’t achieve anything in life. Truly, if you work with both the hands couldn’t you feed one stomach? You, know how a photographer clicks a camera. He adjusts his lens calculating the distance and asks you to be ready before he clicks. Doesn’t he? But, kaludu, the God of Death, does not give you any time nor does he ask you to be ready as he clicks the camera of life. He takes away your life all of a sudden, unnoticed. So, you should be ever ready to face death. Hence, it is absolutely necessary to make the best use of time in the most sacred way. Observe God’s creation: the Sun, the Moon, the Stars and the Planets. All of them move in their orbits so that you have day and night in your life, constituting time. Trees and rivers follow time and are an ideal to humanity. So; it is said that nature is the best teacher.
Swami has no holiday. You have at least a Sunday as a holiday during the week. I receive thousands of letters everyday. I read them all. I attend to all my work. I walk miles every day moving amidst you. I supervise, monitor, guide and direct all matters relating to the University, the Super Specialty Hospital and the Water Project personally, besides thousands of Sai Centres spread all over the world. I don’t take rest; I don’t have any interval or a holiday. Your happiness is my happiness. God incarnates to show you the ideal way of life. So, don’t waste time. By karma, proper action, uphold dharma, righteousness, and merge in Brahman Divinity, and thus redeem your lives.
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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