Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 9

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 9
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami, devotees come from far off places like Argentina, Philippines, Guatemala, Russia and many other countries from all over the world. Name a country, and its representation is there at Prasanti Nilayam. They go out of this place with heavy hearts, not able to leave you. How should they take it and what exactly do you want them to do in the circumstances?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You should experience the omnipresence of God. God is always with you, around you, below you, above you and in you. In fact, you are God. Devotees come to Swami to charge their batteries. Always remember this. ‘Near’ is not important to Swami, ‘dear’ is important. The flame burns brilliantly when the breeze blows. Two wooden pieces should be kept close together. This is ‘nearness’. As you light and burn them, you should also fan them, so that the flame will rise upwards. This fanning is ‘dearness’. Mere nearness is not enough.

There is a lotus flower in a lake. There are a number of fishes and frogs in the same lake that do not know the value of the flower. But honeybees come from long distances and suck nectar from the flower. Bees represent dearness while frogs and fishes stand for nearness.

Similarly, you know the lighthouse from which light spreads all around guiding the ship’s voyage. But, under the lighthouse, it is dark because of the shadow. So, light around is dearness while the shadow underneath is nearness. So, devotees who go from here should understand this. They should strive to be dear to Swami and not merely near to Him.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! It is our common experience that some of us are quite good for sometime, devoted, disciplined and dutiful especially when we are here in your proximity. Then, why do we change when we are somewhere else? What happens to all that we learn here? Why do we lose sacred qualities like sincerity, devotion and steadfastness when we are away? Kindly pardon our mistakes and let us know the causes of our downfall?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: This is a wrong statement. Sincerity, devotion, discipline, steadfastness and all the noble qualities that you claim to have possessed while you are here are not true and natural. They are artificial. They are like plastic flowers that are not fragrant and cannot attract bees. It is all your show or trick. God is never carried away by these artificial, temporary, and external features. God looks into your heart and internal nature.

You say that circumstances change you. If noble qualities were really present in you, you wouldn’t change due to the change of circumstances. No change in the environment will ever affect you. Truly, the mistake lies in you only. You don’t have strong faith and conviction. In fact, the seeds are there lying underground and are waiting to sprout at an appropriate time. Environment has no legs and hands and life to move about like you!

You are now here in Kodaikanal. You are fully clothed, with sweaters and shawls, rugs and blankets and all the woollen stuff to keep you warm in this cold place. If you don’t have warm clothes, whose fault is it? Whom would you blame then? Similarly, you know how challenging and testing life is in the world today. It is your own responsibility to carry with you the blanket of duty, the rug of devotion and wear the sweater of discipline whenever you are exposed to the severe cold winds of neglect of duty, disobedience of God’s commands, and vagaries of ego and disbelief. Wearing this warm woollen clothing, you will not be affected by the cold climate: You have to protect yourself, and blaming the environment is of no use. If good thoughts and good behaviour are in you, you will remain unaffected, whatever be your surroundings.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami? We are here by your sheer grace and mercy. You say that you spend three fourths of your time on your boys. What do you want us to do?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There is nothing you can do for me. I don’t need anything from you. I only give and never receive. I do not accept or receive anything from anyone. I never stretch my hand before anybody in order to receive something. I have never asked anybody for anything till now. In fact, all things happen according to the will of Swami. But, I ask you to give me only one thing, and that is enough. What is it? It is your love. Your parents sometimes stay away from you. But I am always with you, in you, below you, above you and around you. I am indeed yourself. You remember this always, and that is enough. You follow Swami, you will shine like a precious gem in the future. You will be highly respected and you will get a good name in society. Whatever you have learnt here in the hostel and the college, and on top of all this, the love of Swami you have received, should never be forgotten. Get for yourselves a good name. Follow Swami’s teachings.

Once King Janaka put a question in the open court, “Is there anyone who can teach me brahmaj nana, knowledge of the ultimate reality, within the time it takes to place my foot in the stirrup and ride on the back of my horse?” His preceptor, Yajnavalkya said, “Oh King! I shall teach you. Follow me”. King Janaka accordingly got up from the throne and started following him. After walking some distance, Yajnavalkya asked the king to stop and sit on the ground in the middle of the royal highway. Janaka obeyed and sat down accordingly.

Everyone was taken aback on seeing the King sitting on the ground. In vain they prayed to him to go back to the palace but he would not respond to any of his citizens. The army chief and the ministers heard the news; rushed off to the spot and pleaded with the King to let them know what had happened. Janaka did not open his mouth. The Queen came out of the royal palace, sat in front of him, cried and begged him to let her know what had happened. The King did not speak to her. Soon everyone came to know that Sage Yajnavalkya was responsible for the present plight of the King. They went out in search of him, and finally got him. They questioned him as to what he had done to the King that made him sit on the ground in the highway. Yajnavalkya replied that he did not do anything to the King, and never asked him to keep silent.

Followed by all of them, Yajnavalkya came to the King and asked him why he was remaining silent without replying to any of the queries made by those visiting him. Janaka said, “You asked me to follow you. I did so. You made me sit on the ground in the highway. I obeyed you. But you never asked me to reply or talk to anyone. I needed your permission to do anything other than what you had told me to do. The moment you wanted me to follow you, I was no longer my own. I had to wait for your instructions, isn’t that right, Sir?” This kind of strict obedience to his Guru made Janaka a Rajarshi, a saint among kings. What is expected from all of you is following the teachings of Swami.

The Pandavas were acclaimed as the noblest of kings since they followed Lord Krishna unquestioningly. You follow Swami’s command. That is enough. Since Anjaneya followed the command of his chief Sugriva, he could come so close to Rama and he could do the duty assigned to him successfully. This is why he is remembered today as a great devotee of Rama.

There is nothing that you can’t achieve if you follow Swami’s teachings. There was a Muslim devotee by name Mansoor. He always used to repeat analhak, which means ‘I am God’. Hearing this, the King of the place was very furious and forbade him to repeat these words. But still Mansoor did not stop saying ‘analhak’. The king became so very angry with him this time that he got Mansoor’s hands and legs chopped off. Yet, Mansoor didn’t stop repeating ‘ahalhak’. The blood that was oozing out of the wounds started saying ‘analhak’. Finally, the King got Mansoor burnt alive. Then the ashes from the burnt body started rising, echoing ‘analhak’. This is an eloquent example of a devotee’s staunch and unflinching faith in God. He may choose to die, but he would not under any circumstances lose his faith in God.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How can we develop confidence in ourselves?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: By discrimination if you eliminate all doubts and confusions, you can develop confidence in yourselves. Today no one is exercising this faculty of discrimination, a gift from God. You have buddhi, the intellect, which discriminates. Since you don’t discriminate, you are full of confusion and doubts. Hence, modern youth are not able to accomplish anything worthwhile. For any human attempt, confidence is absolutely necessary.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! I am interested in philosophy. Do you advise me to study philosophy?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Many read books on philosophy. What is the use? Their reading of philosophy brings them down to “full loss”. It should be the other way round. Philosophy should “fill loss” in our life. Then only is its study useful. Go through the book of your heart. It is not enough if you merely repeat mantras. You will never be able to experience their efficacy by doing so. You have to know what you are repeating. In other words, you need to have practical knowledge.

Take for example, the Bhagavadgita, where in the first verse, dharmaks etre kuruksetre; the king wanted to know from Sanjaya what was happening there in the battlefield. Does it not look silly and meaningless? In a battlefield what else can one expect other than fights and killing. Did King Dhritarashtra expect a dinner or a football match in the battlefield? Then, why did he put that question to Sanjaya at all? Well, it is not as simple as it sounds. Dhritarashtra wanted to know from Sanjaya if his sons, the Kauravas had undergone any transformation in the last minute before the war started, which possibly could lead to a compromise between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. So, mere reading is not enough. One must know the inner significance and subtle meanings of the text for a clear understanding. This is “Fill loss” (philos…) which is true philosophy.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How are we to believe all this is happening everyday in Kodaikanal? Can we estimate our good luck that is responsible for the golden opportunity of sitting at your lotus feet and listening to five discourses a day? How are we to retain this privilege?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: As you rightly deserve, you get this opportunity. But you need to note one important point. The Bhagavadgita says, ksine punye martyalokam visanti, which means that the merit accrued is exhausted with the passage of time. You will have to return to the Earth even from the highest of heavens.

One example. You know that some of your representatives are elected as legislators and some as members of the parliament. How long does their term last? Only five years. Does it not? Their term is for five years after which they have to go back to their constituencies. But as legislators, parliamentarians and people’s representatives, if they frequently visit their constituencies, meet the electorate and render service to the voters who elected them to those positions, they can contest elections again and return to the assembly or parliament as the case may be for another term. Similarly, while enjoying the present golden opportunity you can still work for its continuity by satkarma, doing good deeds, sadalocana , entertaining good thoughts and satsang, joining good company.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We have on one side the most invaluable spirituality while on the other, we have also friends and relatives diverting our attention towards the world. No doubt, it is our fault to pay heed to their words. Yet, we face the conflict. What is to be done?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Today there are no true friends to anyone. Who are the friends of today’s world and of what sort are they? After all, your friendship lasts for two or three years until you complete your studies here and leave the hostel. Later you separate from each other and go your own way. So long as you have money in your pocket and your father is in a good position, everyone would come to you and say “hello”, but the day your pocket is empty and your father retires, you will be left with none even to say ‘good bye’. Can you still call anyone your friend?

Friendship in Sanskrit is known as ‘maitri,’ pronounced as ‘mythree’. Here three represents the harmony in thought, word and deed. Are there friends with this purity? Nowhere! Who is your true friend then? God is your real friend. God is the only friend for you as He is always with you and in you: Don’t consider anyone else a friend of yours. Further, you should be very careful with people or your company. It is said, “Tell me your company, I shall tell you what you are”. So all and sundry can’t be your friends. A warrior of outstanding stature and an expert in archery, Karna fell into disrepute because he was in bad company and so he is branded as one among the wicked four, the “dust a catustaya”, Duryodhana, Dussasana, Sakuni and Kama.

Next, who are your relatives? In what way were you related to them before you were born? All of them come in with the passage of time and pass off like passing clouds. Is it not so? Relatives come up to the main door as one dies and the members of the family at the most follow one’s corpse to the, cremation ground. None follows the departed soul. It is only God who is with you during your life and even after your death. So God is your real friend and the only relation. These worldly people shouldn’t be taken as friends and relatives.

Your life too is short. But God is awareness and existence. He is there before, during, and after your life. He is the eternal truth. So follow him, catch hold of God with your right hand as it is the right thing and catch hold of the world with your left hand as it has to be left behind sometime or other. It is thus the right thing to remember God always.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! It is most unfortunate that there is no tangible change in our lifestyle though we have been here and listening to your divine discourses over the years. We do not know the reason why it is so. Kindly show us the way.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Lack of practice is the only reason. When there is no power supply and it is dark all over, can darkness be dispelled by just saying “lamp” unless you light it? The hunger of a starving man can never be satiated by merely looking at the menu with a list of the most delicious items. He has to eat some of the items to appease his hunger, hasn’t he? Can a sick man be cured of a disease by merely listening to the formula and composition of the medicine without his taking it? Can the suffering of a poor man be alleviated with all the knowledge of Economics and Accountancy? Can you attain mukti by reading books without practicing any of the instruction found therein? Instead of saying something without doing, it is better to do and not say anything. I repeatedly tell you that until you practice what you say, there is little effect even after listening to talks for years together.

Take a small example here. Suppose you have with you a matchbox full of matchsticks and you want to light a lamp. You will now have to open the box, pick up a stick and strike against the side of the box to light it. In case you fail to light the matchstick, even after striking it again and again, what does it mean? You then come to discover the meaning: the matchbox is wet. You cannot light a stick striking it against the box. What is to be done now? You have to dry the matchbox in the sunlight for some time.

Similarly, you are drowned in the water of worldly desires and attachments. Therefore, you can’t light the lamp of wisdom. Dry your mind with all its limitless desires and thoughts of worldly comfort in the sunlight of renunciation. Only then can you light the lamp of wisdom. You may be here listening to any number of discourses for any length of time, but you will not be able to achieve the expected results if you fail to translate the essence of one discourse into your daily life.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Because of wrong direction in our thinking, we feel dejected restless and often fail in our attempts. Kindly show us the way out of it.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: For all these agitations, disturbances, disappointments, depressions and failures, your wrong way of thinking is responsible. It is totally misdirected. Whatever may happen in life, you should think, “This is good for me”. You should know that everything that happens ultimately turns to your own good. This is called positive thinking. Today you are full of negative thoughts. How do you expect to know and experience God?

Your body, mind, intellect and the senses are completely negative, but your spirit, conscience, or Atma is positive. God is your conscience. Do you know why you are not able to realise and experience God? It is entirely due to these negative thoughts and attitudes. So, positive thinking and positive actions are very essential for spiritual progress. Only then will you be peaceful, blissful and successful.

Take your own example. It is absolutely because of positive thinking that you are able to plan your academic programme and prepare yourself accordingly, as also aim to secure a good rank in the examinations and later a job. But planning to study whatever would fetch you a very fat salary, help you to go abroad, earn more money and marry a girl who would get you a large amount of dowry, is negative thinking.

Turning to parents, educating you is absolutely positive but making a business out of the education given to you is negative thinking. For a doctor to treat a patient and cure is a positive approach, but if the money is the criterion for the treatment given to the patient, it is a negative approach. We should today fill our hearts with all positive thoughts like divine feelings, divine sentiments and good thoughts. Then only you will experience God who is satcitananda , the absolute positive. Therefore, it is necessary for you to take everything as good for you. This is positive thinking. Come what may, problems, difficulties, troubles, failures, losses, blame and what not! You will know later that all this had happened for your own good.

A small story. There was a king who had a fancy one day to cut a sugarcane all by himself to small pieces and eat it piece by piece. While he was cutting, as ill luck would have it, he had cut his finger. The minister who was by his side, remarked “Oh King! You have cut your finger. This is good for you.” On hearing this remark; the king grew wild, and thought, “What! How can this, my having lost my finger be good? What would the minister say if I lose my head too?” So the king ordered, out of fury and anger, that the minister be put in prison. Then the minister said, “Oh King! This imprisonment is my good fortune”.

After some time, the king went hunting all alone to a nearby forest. He lost his way and was noticed by some tribals moving in that area. They were actually in search of a man suitable to be sacrificed to propitiate their deity at the end of their ritual. They caught hold of the king and took him to their head priest. After checking the king thoroughly, the head priest said, “We can’t kill this king and make an offering to our deity as one of his fingers is missing. A handicapped or crippled body is unfit to be an offering.” Saying so, he let the king go away from there.

On the way the king realised the truth of what the minister had said, “This is good for you” when he had cut his finger. He summoned the minister and said, “Oh Minister! How true is what you said! It was just because of the fact that I had lost my finger that the tribals set me free, unharmed. Now I have one doubt. You remarked that it was good for you when I put you behind bars. How has this imprisonment turned out to be good for you?” Then the minister replied, “Certainly! Had I not been kept in the jail, I would have followed you. The tribals after leaving you, would have caught hold of me, killed me and offered me to their deity in your place. So this punishment has been my good fortune”. This is positive thinking and attitude. Then happiness and success follow you.

akkaraku rani cuttamu
mrokkina varamiyani velpu
moharamuna tanekkina parani gurramu
grakkunna viduvangavalayu gadara sumati

This Telugu poem, means, ‘A relation who doesn’t come to your help in time of need, a God who doesn’t grant you boons even after you pray, a horse that doesn’t run in the battlefield, will have to be given up immediately, Oh! Wise one! Is it not so?’

Here, in this poem, first of all, know that it is addressed to a Sumati, a wise one. It is true that you have to sever connections with a relation who doesn’t come to your aid in the hour of your need, give up the horse that fails to run in the battlefield, and forget a God who doesn’t grant you rewards even after you pray. Here, you should note one important point. Why don’t you think this way? Before you blame your relation that he is not of any help to you when you need him most, why don’t you think for a while whether you have ever been of any help to your relation when he needed you? A horse that doesn’t gallop in the field must be given up, but why don’t you question your competence in horse riding? God who doesn’t respond to your prayers is not God. But do you deserve what you desire and pray for? This poem is meant for that person, Sumati who thinks positively before blaming anybody. This is how your thinking process should be.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Now we understand that we should also have such intense faith in God. Naturally, our experience will be proportionate to the depth of our faith. Does God also respond commensurate with the intensity of our faith?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Certainly! If you put in krsi, effort, you will earn God’s krpa, grace. Moreover, with krsi, effort, you can even become a rishi, sage.

A village boy happened to meet a scholar who said to him that God could be experienced through pranayama and dhyana. Hearing this, the boy began practising it most sincerely. Pleased with his devotion and sincerity, God manifested Himself before the boy and blessed him. The boy then told the scholar that he had seen God by doing what he asked him to do, things like pranayama, dhyana and so on. The scholar could not believe it. He said, “Oh! Don’t talk rubbish! How is it that you could see God while I couldn’t, by practising pranayama, dhyana for years? Don’t speak lies like that!”

The boy returned to his place of meditation and saw Narayana there. He said to Him, “Oh God! The scholar calls me a liar! How am I to make him accept what I have experienced? Kindly stay here until I bring him here and make him see you and experience the truth for himself. But dear God! I am afraid you may run way from here and it will make me very miserable in the sight of the scholar who doubts me. Therefore, with this rope let me tie you to this pole here.” He did so, ran to the scholar and requested him to see Narayana for himself. Although the scholar came over there, he couldn’t see God tied to the post, but the cowherd boy could see Him and converse with Him. Ultimately, the boy cried and prayed to Narayana to make Himself visible to the scholar also. God obliged him. This is what true devotion is. God even allowed Himself to be tied to a post. You have to note another point here .The faith that the cowherd boy had in the words of the scholar was the cause of his experience.

If you spend your life in prayer, it is bound to be peaceful and blissful. For example, if you climb up the seven hills and reach the shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala, you will feel much tired. On the other hand, if you go to Tirupati in a group singing God’s glory all along the way, you will hardly feel any strain,

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.

Twenty Seven Pages Of Satyopanishad:
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