Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 11
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Now it is clear that cittasuddhi is lacking in us due to our bad thoughts and bad deeds. We have certain weaknesses, lapses, bad qualities and thoughts. As you have said unless we get over them, cittasuddhi cannot be attained. The mind gets polluted very often. How is one to control bad qualities?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It all depends upon your determination and your understanding of the intensity and the gravity of the problem. It needs an honest and sincere attempt on your part.
A small example. You are moving freely without any hesitation and fear in this room. There lies a rope in one corner. But, if you come to know that it is not a rope as you have been thinking it to be, but a snake, would you move freely in that room any longer? You know that it is dangerous to be anywhere near a poisonous snake. You know that you will die if that snake bites you and so you keep off from that place. Similarly, when you are aware of the danger or harm you will be put to, you will definitely stop your misdeeds.
You keep on holding the rope until you come to know that it is not a rope but a snake. You drop it down immediately because of the fear of death. So long as you think that these bad thoughts and evil deeds make you happy, you continue to be in the same frame of mind. But, when you know that they are dangerous, you will not hanker after them. Therefore, first of all, you must identify your own bad qualities and then give them up gradually one after another until you are perfect.
It is also strange to notice that some seekers undergo rigorous discipline for a set period of time during which they lead a perfect life without any trace of a bad quality. But after that avowed period of discipline they resume their previous bad habits with redoubled vigour. This is a big mistake. That which holds you for some time is artificial. Here withdrawal from bad habits is not due to the realisation of the evil effects.
Here is an example. You see the ceiling fan rotating there. Now, if you switch it off it will not stop rotating immediately. It stops slowly. The three blades slowly stop moving. The fan does not stop rotating immediately. Therefore, in full knowledge of the possible harm and the evil effects, you should give up your bad habits slowly.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Pranayama, breath control, some say, is important on the spiritual path. Would you please tell us about it?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Pranayama, breath control, has to be undertaken in an exact and perfect way under the care and guidance of a Guru. It leads to danger if it is done imperfectly and irregularly.
There are chiefly three steps in pranayama or breathing exercise. The first one is purakam, inhalation. The second is holding the breath or the air breathed in. This is called kumbhakam, retention. The third stage is exhalation or recakam. The important, point here is that, the time taken during all these three stages must be equal. It means that the time taken for purakam must be the same as for kumbhakam. Similarly, the time taken for kumbhakam must be the same as for recakam.
In the human body there are shadcakras, six life sustaining points on the vertebral column. The lowest is called muladhara cakra, fundamental, primordial life sustaining point at the bottom. In pranayama, during the second step, kumbhakam, holding the breath, kundalini starts moving upward being restless due to the lack of supply of air across the sadcakras. On the top lies sahasrara cakra, head region. There exists a jyoti, divine light surrounded by dalas, petals. The sahasrara cakra is like a thousand petalled lotus flower. The petals touch the central jyoti when one has asura sampatti, demonic qualities. If one has daivi sampatti, divine qualities the jyoti starts touching the petals. Thus, kundalini affects the human body during this course of sadhana. A living being taking many breaths per day is short lived. A dog takes many breaths. So, its life span is short. Snakes and mongooses take a few breaths per day. They live long. The breathing exercise has an influence on the life span.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! It is said that we carry with us certain traits, vasanas of the past life. Is that true and how does it happen?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Certainly so! Just as in accounts the balance is brought forward from the previous page to the next page, the traits of the previous life are brought forward to the present.
When you light an incense stick or an agarbatti or camphor, don’t you get the fragrance all over this room? When you have a fragrant flower, does it not spread its fragrance? Similarly, bad odour or foul smell also spreads. So also, the characteristics of the past lives are brought forward to subsequent lives.
Question) Bhagawan! How is it that we have vasanas, traits of the past life? We are born, we grow and die. The body is bound to weaken, wither, die and decay. How then are our features brought forward to the next life?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is certain that the features of the past life are carried to the next life. You can call them vasanas or samskaras or the qualities of the past life. People with good samskaras will spend their time in a sacred way by participating in satsang, good company, bhajan, singing His glory, entertaining sadalocana, good thoughts, and satkarma, good deeds, and good discussion. On the other hand, people with bad samskaras make their lifetime unholy by indulging in duskarma, misdeeds, entertaining durbhavana, bad thoughts and asatya, speaking falsehood. As you have said, it is true that the body weakens, withers, dies and decays, but the samskaras don’t die. They follow you to the next life.
A simple illustration will make this subject clearer to you. Suppose your hand was injured. You got it treated, and for some time you put a bandage also over and around the injured part. The hand was healed completely after some time. But in that part of your hand where the injury took place, a scar or a mark is left, and it remains till now as well. Similarly, the body may die. But the vasanas remain as a spot in the next life.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Three gunas or attributes such as rajas, tamas and sattva are said to bind man. Does a sattvika quality also bind man? Is that also a bondage?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: These three attributes only bind man. Your life is conditioned by them. All your deeds and expressions are governed by them. They monitor your conduct and behaviour. Even sattvika qualities also chain you.
For example, you are confined with an iron chain. Is that not bondage? You may be confined with a silver chain. It is also bondage. It may be now a gold chain this time that binds you. Is it not bondage? After all, the three chains differ only in the composition of the metal. After all, each is a chain and nothing more though its value may differ from that of the other. Thus, the attributes bind or limit you.
Here the iron chain is compared to that of ‘tamas’, dullness or inertia. The silver chain is like the ‘rajasika’ quality, active, energetic, passionate, and the gold chain is like the ‘sattvika’ nature, pure, steady; good. But divinity is beyond these three ‘gunas’. It is, in fact, attributeless.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We have many qualities tamasika, rajasika and sattvika Do they change at any time? How are we to ennoble ourselves? Sometimes these attributes may be responsible for conflicts with our colleagues in the office. What is to be done under these circumstances? Kindly give us a solution to this problem that we encounter everyday?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The whole world revolves round these three attributes tamasika, rajasika and sattvika. Every individual has these three attributes working like the three blades of a fan. But in a person, the quality which dominates the other two decides his nature, his total personality, nay, his very destiny as a whole.
He is a pious man whose sattvika quality dominates his rajasika and tamasika qualities. He is an emotional, passionate, active man if his rajasika quality dominates his sattvika and tamasika qualities. He is a dull, inactive and passive man if he is dominated by the tamasika nature. Thus, everyone has these three attributes.
For instance, in an eyeball don’t you see all the three colours, white, red, and black. They symbolise these trigunas or traits. Watch the sunrise. You will notice three colours red, white and black indicating trigunas or the three attributes. However, you should note one important point. Gunas have no independent existence. Divinity makes them functional. But the gunas are not to be found in the divine as God is gunatita, beyond attributes.
Gunas are transformable. For instance, you can get over tamasika quality by karma, action. Karma transforms tamasika quality into rajasika activity. Rajasika nature is dual. It may give you success or failure, profit or loss, praise or blame, etc. Man has to perform karma. In fact there is no one who does not take any action. You may lie on a bed sleeping, yet your heart beats, blood circulates and the nervous system and pulmonary system work. Don’t they? Does it not amount to action?
By doing selfless actions, offering all the fruits of action to God, serving God in everyone and by realising indwelling divinity, one can develop anubhavajnana, practical wisdom or experience based wisdom. At that stage, a rajasika person becomes a sattvika person. Therefore, karma is important karmanubandhini manus yaloke , human society is bound by action. Your very life is gifted to do karma. Thus, janma, birth and karma, actions are interrelated. In fact, one should salute respectfully the action he does. Tasmai namah karman e, my salutations to the action given or assigned to me. Therefore, a tamasika nature can be converted into rajasika by volitional action, which can be further transformed into sattvika by bhakti, and jnana, devotion and awareness. This is sadhana or spiritual practice.
By atmavicara, self enquiry you can improve and change your nature. When any lower or animal qualities like wavering of the mind, excessive sleep, gluttony, crop up immediately say to yourself at least ten times. “I am a man, I am not an animal.” Then, you will be able to get over them. Do your duty sincerely. Don’t be pompous. Don’t show off nor do any stunt. Always be sure that God notices everything that you do, though others may not. Do your duty with love.
Duty with love is Desirable.
Duty without love is Deplorable,
Love without duty is Divine.
If you offer all your work and the fruits thereof to God, your work will be transformed into worship.
You may not agree with your colleagues in your office. Your temperament may be incompatible with theirs, sometimes leading to controversies and infights and you may, as a result, lose your peace of mind. So, don’t have too close a relationship with too many people. Say “hello, hello” to everyone, ‘how are you’ to all those you meet and end with ‘goodbye’. That’s all and nothing more.
Today, there is no real social service. Everything is either slow service or show service. You should have a feeling that what you do is not for anybody but for your own satisfaction and happiness. Whatever you do, do it for the satisfaction of your conscience. You shouldn’t do anything for praise or appreciation by others. Your conscience is God. Know that character is most important and you should never compromise on this score. What is always necessary for success in life is cooperation. But nowadays, we find only operation.
By joining good company satsang, listening to the teachings of great masters and seers and above all with God’s grace, you can change your attitudes and mentality. By Buddha’s teaching the cruel Angulimala and by Narada’s instructions Ratnakara (who became sage Valmiki later) were transformed. Visvamitra who was a Rajarshi, a sage among kings became a Brahmarshi, a sage ever immersed in Brahman by the direction of Vasishtha. Visvamitra thus became the mitra, friend of the visva, universe.
Arjuna, on one occasion dropped his bow and arrows in the battlefield. He became tamasika (dull, passive, weak) and even reluctant to engage in a war for which he stood in the battlefield. He forgot all the vows he had taken and the atrocities the Kauravas committed. It was at that time that Krishna induced rajasika quality into Arjuna’s mind preparing him for the war of Kurukshetra with renewed zeal.
Emperor Janaka who became a rajarshi due to the teachings of Sage Yajnavalkya renounced everything and became a perfect jnani, one known for spiritual wisdom.
Therefore, by intense sadhana, tamas can be converted into rajas, and rajas into sattva. In so doing an aspirant, becomes a recipient of God’s grace and ultimately a seeker of nirvana (liberation).
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We hear of purusarthas, the four goals of life. How are we to achieve them?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: I tell my students quite often about the four ‘F’s’. The first ‘F’ is ‘Follow the master’. Dharma, righteousness, is your master. Follow dharma at all times. All your actions must be approved by dharma, the ideal norms of life. If you hold on to dharma throughout, the very same dharma will protect you, dharmo raks ati raks itah. Manava, being human, should follow the dharma of a human being, manavadharma, and never that of a demon danavadharma.
The second ‘F’ is ‘Face the devil’. What is the devil here? While dharma is the master, artha, wealth or money, is the devil. Most people struggle a lot for money. They resort to all sorts of tactics, do unrighteous unjustified, and wrong deeds only for money. You think that the world goes by money, dhanamulamidam jagat. No, the world relies on dharma, dharmamulamidam jagat. One should earn money righteously and not unrighteously.
The third ‘F’ is ‘Fight to the end’. What is the enemy you should fight till the end? It is kama, desire. Until the last desire too vanishes, you should continue to fight.
Once Sage Dakshinamurthy happened to walk along the shore of a sea. He noticed the rising waves pushing a small blade of grass, towards the shore. He felt bad. After all, it was a tiny grass blade and the mighty sea sent forth its mounting waves to push it away on to the shore. “How arrogant is the sea not to tolerate even a grass blade!” thought the sage within himself. Then the Sea God, Samudra, appeared before the sage with folded hands and said very humbly, “Oh! Great sage! I am not at fault: Do not blame me and call me arrogant. I am not arrogant. I cannot afford to have a single, simple blemish. I do not want a blemish, not even a blade of grass in me. So my waves pushed it away to the shore and not out of any hatred or enmity”. This is what ‘fight to the end’ means.
Then the fourth ‘F’ is ‘Finish the game’. What is the game? It is the game of life. When does the game of life finish? It finishes with the attainment of moksha. So moksha is the final goal of the four objectives of life.
Here you should remember one important point. Of the four purusarthas, dharma is ‘Follow the master’, artha is ‘Face the devil’, kama is ‘Fight to the end’ and moksha is ‘Finish the game’. The first one is dharma and the fourth is moksha, with the second artha and the third kama in between. It implies that artha should be earned with dharma: Then kama should be used only to attain the fourth goal of life moksha.. So, the four ‘F’s’ stand for these purusarthas of life. But now, I tell you there is another purusartha, the fifth one which is the supreme goal of life. That is ‘Love’.
Love is God,
God is Love, hence,
Live in Love.
There is nothing that you cannot achieve without love.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is it that we should have in order to deserve your prapti?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Your interest is the most important thing. With this you can achieve anything in life. When you have trust in a particular matter or a subject or a person, you are said to have interest in that matter or that subject or that person. Since you have immense interest in Swami, you run fast and occupy the front rows close to my feet. Isn’t it so? During the morning time, in silence you wait anxiously for Swami, and that is why even the slightest sounds such as the sound of closing the door of Swami’s car makes you think and alerts you that Swami is coming towards you. Whosoever comes to the scene at that time is expected to convey some message of Swami’s arrival. What is the reason? This is all due to your interest in Swami. If you have no interest in Swami, you don’t notice His presence even if He stands in front of you.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is illusion, maya? Kindly explain.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There is no illusion whatsoever. What exists is only brahman, the cosmic soul. The so-called illusion or maya is only your imagination. There is only Brahman. Nothing more! The body attachment is illusion, maya or bhrama.
A simple example. Here is a huge tree under which you see its shadow, don’t you? The branches and the leaves are the cause of the shade. As the sunlight falls on the tree you see the shade beneath the tree. Here you have to know one important point. There is nothing like shade above the tree or on the top of the tree. It means there is no shade in sunlight. Why is it so? The branches and the leaves of the tree are responsible for the shade below. Sunlight is brahman, tree is life and the branches and leaves are attachments and desires. They are responsible for the shade of maya or illusion. Shade is out of question when there are no leaves and branches. So, there is no illusion or maya as such. It is the fallacy of your imagination.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How are we to get over maya or illusion?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There is no maya. It is your own creation. How is it then you want to get rid of that which does not exist at all?
In the night time, seeing a rope, you mistake it for a serpent and you are very much fearstricken. Later on, enquiry reveals that it is only a rope and not a serpent. What you should know here are two points. Neither the snake disappears nor does the rope come especially to give you relief. All along, it has been a rope only. You are the only one who is mistaken by taking a rope for a serpent. So also, the reality is brahman or atma and the rest is bhrama, or illusion or imagination.
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, 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.
Filed under: Anil Kumar, Anil Kumar Kamaraju, Sai Baba, Sathya Sai, sathya sai baba, Sathya Sai Baba Answers, Sathya Sai Baba Quotes, Sathya Sai Baba Wordpress, Sathya Sai Speaks, Sri Sathya Sai | Tagged: Baba, Faith, God, Guru, philosophy, Sathya, Satya, Satyopanishad, Spirituality, Upanishad, Upanishadic, Upanishads, Vedanta, Vedas |