Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 17
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Are you pleased with our dhyana, meditation?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Do you call what you do every day meditation? No, you are not doing it properly. It may be anything but certainly not meditation. It is alright that you sit down to meditate. But your mind is in the market, you will be thinking of what you are going to eat for lunch. Or you will be thinking of your dhobi, when he will bring your ironed clothes. Is that meditation? Certainly not.
A small example. You are seated here waiting eagerly and anxiously for the arrival of Swami. Any sound of a door or a car will draw your attention as Swami might come any time. Your mind is fully concentrated on Swami and you begin to view everything in terms of Swami’s arrival. Do you not? On the other hand, if you are mentally engaged otherwise and not alert, even if Swami comes and stands in front of you, you will not notice him.
So, in meditation the most important thing is to have a full cent percent concentration on God. You should be fully alert, without any diversion of attention. So, an unwavering steadiness of mind.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami, how many things should we study and learn in order to take to sadhana, spiritual path? How many details should we know from the sacred texts to start our sadhana?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Many things or details are not necessary. We see most people reading books. They listen to discourses for a number of years. But, what is the use? They remain where they have been in the spiritual path. What is the reason? It is lack of practice that has detained them, retarded their progress. In fact, you don’t have to read so many books. You don’t need to learn many things. If you clearly and thoroughly understand one thing, it is enough. If you practice one thing, that is enough. Why learn many and don’t practice even one? To commit suicide a small pin or a needle is enough. But to kill others you require a pistol or a revolver or a knife. Similarly, to teach others you need to learn and know many things for which you have to read a lot. But to work for one’s own liberation, redemption and emancipation it is enough if one thing is practiced sincerely. So, practising is more important than knowing and learning in life.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We are indeed very fortunate to have been listening to you. We are in a blissful state. You alone can answer our questions like this, out of your infinite compassion for us. None can do that. Swami, pardon me for this question. It is now very clear to us what enquiry is. But why am I unable to do so? Why is my mind not steady? Is it the nature of the mind to waver? Is it the natural quality of the mind to remain unstable and unsteady that prevents me from concentration on enquiry?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You complain that your mind is unsteady and that you are not able to concentrate. This is not true. In fact, there is no mind as such. It is nothing but a bundle of desires. It is a bundle of thoughts. It is like apiece of cloth with yarn closely interwoven. When you separate the yarn or threads one after another, the cloth does not exist any more. So also, when the desires are gone and the thoughts withdrawn, the mind does not exist anymore. This is called amanaska, withdrawal of the mind, or manolaya annihilation of the mind.
You say that your mind wavers. This is also not quite true. You see a tree here. The leaves flutter. Why? It is the wind that makes the leaves of the tree flutter. But when there is no wind they do not move. So, the movement is due to the wind and not due to the quality of the leaves or the tree. The tree of life like leaves of the human mind flutters as the wind of desires blows.
You also say that you are not able to concentrate your mind. This is not true again. How are you riding your bicycle or driving your car without concentration? Is it not dangerous? Will it not lead to accidents? How could you concentrate in order to drive your car or ride your bicycle? As you read a book, a paper, or a draft, how are youable to concentrate? Without concentration, how could you grasp all that is mentioned in a book? In your profession are you not doing your job with full attention and concentration? Are you doing this with your mind engaged elsewhere or absent-minded? If you do so, don’t you spoil the work assigned to you? You would have been summarily dismissed from your service had you been doing your job without concentration. Are you not concentrating your mind on every activity of your daily life? Yes, you do it beyond doubt. But, concentration of mind becomes a very difficult task only in respect of God. Is it not a misfortune? The mind is stable and it concentrates easily and naturally. The loss of concentration with respect to God implies that you do not have as much love for and interest in Him as you have in worldly matters. Concentration, hence, depends on the degree of your interest. You can’t blame the mind. It is like a mirror. It only reflects what is kept in front of it. So I often lay stress on good and pure thoughts. As is the thought so is the mind. You know one who has manas (mind) is manisi, a human being. The most valuable thing in this world in your estimate is a diamond. But ‘diamond’ means ‘diemind’ or withdrawal of mind.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Now we understand from your divine discourse and by your grace how important devotion is. But, faith is the base of devotion. How is one to cultivate faith, Swami?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: What a foolish question you have asked! What do you mean by saying cultivating faith? Can you cultivate it? Is that a commodity to be purchased from a shop? It can neither be given nor received. Faith is your natural quality. In fact visvasa, faith is your svasa, breath. Without it there is a total stoppage of your breath.
Just think for a moment how you carry on your daily routine with or without faith. You will soon notice that your every action, both mundane and spiritual, is based only on faith. You give your clothes, costly shirts and safari suits to a washer man in full faith that he would bring them back after washing and ironing. If you suspect that he would run away with your clothes, will you give them to him? Most valuable gold is given to goldsmiths to make jewellery out of it in good faith that they would do so. Even if a trace of doubt arises in your mind, will you ever hand over valuable gold? You go to a barber for a haircut. Do you for a moment entertain the feeling that he would put his razor to your neck instead of your hair? You bend your head in good faith in front of the barber to cut your hair. So also in good faith, a patient will lie down on the operation table and allow himself to be operated upon by the surgeon. Do you doubt that your life is not safe in his hands? No. So be he a dhobi or a goldsmith or a barber or a doctor for that matter, all transactions are made in good faith. So faith is a natural gift of God to mankind. To be faithless is unnatural and artificial. But the pity of it is that you have full faith ineveryone but not in God. Isn’t that very unfortunate?
Devotion and faith are like the two eyes of a living being or the two wheels of a bicycle or the two wings of a bird. Without faith, as we say, even an ant can’t move an inch. A bird cannot fly high without faith. A bird perches on a branch. The branch may be drooping or swinging, yet the bird is not bothered. Why? It is because the bird has full faith in its wings on which it relies but not on the branch. So, everything depends on your faith.
How do you know your father? It is your mother who has the authority to show you your father and you have full faith in your mother. If not, there is no way to know your father. You know the dates and the days from a calendar and you go by what the calendar indicates. Otherwise, how do you know that today is Monday, the 14th of May? The day has not appeared in front of you with a sign board on the forehead indicating the day of the week and the date. You have full faith in all that you listen to from the All India Radio news bulletin and the various news columns that you go through in a newspaper. So much so, you believe what you hear on the radio, watch on the T.V., read in the newspapers, but you don’t believe our rsivakya or the sayings and teachings of our sages and saints of yore embodied in the Vedas and other holy scriptures. The Vedas are called isvariya, apauru seya, compositions of God. You don’t have faith in them. How strange and unfortunate it is! Think over it for sometime.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Why are some people not devoted to God? Devotion, it seems, has no place in their lives. Would you kindly tell us the reason?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Very simple. It is only sensual pleasure that makes people disinclined towards God. Meaningless worry about the future, excessive desires, building castles in the air are a way of life with them. Ambition to reach heights they don’t deserve and too much attachment to the family and the world, all these are factors that make a man not devoted to God. There can be no other reason beyond these.
You know the seesaw on which children play. If one end goes up, the other end comes down, and vice versa. If the stress is laid on the world, your love of God will be less, and on the other hand, if your love of God is greater (heavy at one end as in the game) your attachment to the world becomes less (light at the another end as in the game). This is how the balance works. Isn’t it so? I will give you another example, that of a magnet. It draws iron filings towards it. But sometimes it doesn’t. Why? If the iron pieces are rusted and dusty, they are not drawn and attracted by the magnet. Likewise, people who are like iron pieces dusty and rusted by worldly desires are not drawn to God, the ‘Divine Magnet’. Is it clear now why some are not devoted to God?
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Kindly give a direction to our spiritual pursuit? How should it continue? Like the flow of a river? What are the restrictions to be observed?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: ‘Nasreyo niyamam vina.’ Everything must have limits without which you will face risks and dangers. A river that flows under certain conditions with banks on either side serves irrigation purposes better. Similarly, the river of life has two banks, one on each side viz.:never doubt and by sincerity you develop wisdom. Your river of life should flow between these two banks. Your faith should not be shaken. It should never waver. Your faith should be strong and deep. No adverse situations and negative moments should make you lose your faith.
A life without faith is like a pot with holes. You know that we water only the roots of a plant. Yet, water is supplied to all parts of the plant. You do not water the stem, branches and leaves separately. Similarly, the water of faith, if supplied to the roots of your life, will take care of everything else related to life. The tree of life can sustain itself if the water of faith is supplied to its root. Without this, the plant dries up and is no longer alive. It becomes firewood. Once you doubt, all that you do will go in vain and nothing will be fruitful. No amount of scholarship or sadhana can help you if you allow doubt to step into your mind.
A small illustration. There was a pandit in a certain village. Daily a milk maid from the neighboring village used to bring him milk crossing a river by boat. In the process there was necessarily some delay in supplying milk to the pandit. One day the pandit questioned her and wanted to know the reason for the delay. She replied, “Oh Panditji! I have to cross the river by boat everyday to bring milk. I can only get into the second trip of the boat because the boatman will load in the first trip all the elders of the village. There is no alternative left for me. So, I am late.” Then the pandit said, “Look! Why do you need to come by boat? I suggest that you carry the milk pots over your head and cross the river chanting God’s name. The river will give way and you won’t need to wait for the boat.”
The milkmaid believed in what the pandit said and on the next day she could come on time and gave him the pot full of milk. Then on his enquiry, she told him that she could bring the milk on time by simply following his instructions. The pandit was very much astonished at this, and could not believe her words and decided to verify the fact himself. He said to her “Good! Now as you go back I shall follow you and see you as you cross the river chanting God’s name and how the river givesway for you to cross it.”
Both of them came near the river side. The milkmaid acted exactly according to the pandit’s instructions, viz. chanting the name of God. The pandit also wanted to act in the same way. He stepped forward and lifted his dhoti up to his knees so that his clothes would not be wet. He marched into the river step by step doubting if he would drown in the river. His doubt became true and he got drowned. Faith made the milkmaid walk across the river, while the pandit had no faith in his own words. Hence he drowned.
The bank on the other side of the river of life is sraddha, sincerity, steadfastness, that confers jnanam, wisdom. You will be sincere only if you love the work you do. You should have full faith and love to become sincere.
A student cannot pass the examinations if he has no faith that he can read, love the subject and study it sincerely. So, visvasa, prema and sraddha are the three steps that give you success in your attempts. A businessman or a lawyer or a doctor must be sincere, must have sraddha, in order to be successful in his profession.
So for jnana, you should be sincere and steadfast. What type of jnana should it be? It is not physical, material, secular or worldly knowledge. It is the practical knowledge, anubhavajnana that you get when you are sincere and steadfast. So these are the two banks on either side of the river of life, doubtlessness and sincerity or steadfastness. Samsaayatma vinasyati: the doubters perish, and srddhavan labhate jnanam: the sincere and faithful attain wisdom.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Why and how do we get evil feelings such as jealousy, envy, pride, egoism, attachment and so on. How are we to get away from these evil feelings?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The main cause for all these evil feelings is your body attachment. These feelings are born in your mind. They depend on your interactions and relationships with others.
A small example. Suppose you have a very intimate friend with whom you agree on everything. By chance, if you toss a rose flower at him, he will be immensely happy for your love and reverence. As ill luck would have it, if you do not see eye to eye with each other due to some differences, and if you toss a rose at him, he will totally misunderstand you. He will think that it is a deliberate action on your part to harm him, for your friend is a sugar patient (diabetic) and as such if a thorn of the flower by chance pricks him, it may cause an injury that never heals and even further complicates leading to the amputation of his hand. See the difference. The two individuals are the same. So, also is the rose flower. But during the period of friendly terms, the act is viewed positively and in the unfriendly period the same actions are viewed negatively. You will now know that everything lies in the mind. The rose flower that gives happiness to your friend creates suspicion in the mind of the same person during the period of animosity.
Then, let me tell you about your next weakness, anger. Why should you and what for should you be angry with anyone? You tend to lose your energy due to anger. You become weak subsequently. The energy you have gained out of the food you have consumed during a couple of months is just lost by a single fit of your anger. Here, enquire into the matter clearly. What exactly makes you angry? If anyone criticises, reprimands, accuses, or blames you, naturally you are angry with that person. Calm down for a moment and investigate clearly. Why should you be angry with anyone who points out your mistakes or defects? Are you not guilty? Are you angry because your faults are pointed out? Why? So, you need not be angry if your faults are pointed out.
Suppose you are faultless and not guilty, even then there is no need for you to be angry. Because, it is only a false allegation. If anyone says that my head is bald, I am not angry with him because there is no truth in what he says, as I am not bald. If anyone comments that I have a mop of hair, even then I am not angry because the truth is said. So let them say that I am a battatala Baba (bald headed Baba) or buttatala Baba (mop of hair on the head of Baba) (batta and butta are Telugu words). I am not angry either way. If you think in this way you will not be angry and annoyed with anyone.
There is the worst form of disease for which there is no cure. It is envy or jealousy. Hatred ruined powerful kings like Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakasipu, Sisupala, Dantavaktra as mentioned in our epics like the Mahabhagavatham and the Mahabharata. Envy ruined the entire clan of Kauravas. Envy, pride, ego, jealousy and anger are demonic qualities. No one ever thinks of those with these evil tendencies. Have you met anyone by name Duryodhana who is the very personification of jealously in our epic Mahabharata? Have you met anyone by name Sisupala who is the embodiment of hatred in our scriptures? None. Why? It is a shame to be named so. There is then Mandhara a woman character in the Ramayana the very emblem of jealousy. She brought bad name even to queen Kaikeyi. She was responsible for sending Rama to the forest and Bharata’s reign. Have you come across women by name Mandhara and Kaikeyi? No. Never. Why? They represent evil traits that ruin anyone.
Never be egoistic. Egoism is another trait that will lead to disrepute. Examine yourself when you feel egoistic. Why ego? On what grounds should you be egoistic? In the entire world, India is of the size of an ant. There, in India your state of Andhra Pradesh is the size of an eye of the ant. Your Anantapur district is but a speck in the eye of the ant. Then, how about Puttaparthi and what are you and your standing in your family? Practically nothing. So don’t give any scope for ego and pride. Of course, if at all you want to be egoistic and proud, you can be egoistic about your ignorance and proud of your foolishness! Attachment and Self interest may make you egoistic on false grounds.
Attachment and feelings of “I and mine” are also not good in your own interest. The feelings of thine and mine arise out of abhimana and ahamkara. An example. Your neighbour has a daughter who was seriously ill for quite some time. You were not bothered or worried about her health. A year after her illness it so happened that you married her. Thereafter even a slight temperature or cold in her body makes you apply for casual leave and stay away from the office. Why? She is your wife and no longer the daughter of your neighbour. The difference is due to attachment only.
It is mamakara, feelings of mine that made Dhritarashtra, the old king of the Mahabharata support all the misdeeds of his sons and led to the total ruin of the entire clan. Though he had one hundred sons he was left with none even to perform his last rites. To this state one will be reduced due to the feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’.
When these traits find a place in you, repeat ten times “I am a man, not an animal”, “I am a man, not an animal” so that you can get rid of the animal qualities like ahamkara, ego, asuya, jealousy, irsya, envy, dvesa, hatred, abhimana, attachment, and mamakara, feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’.
Question) Swami? How wonderfully in simple terms and in such an easy way you have explained profound things. What is the way to immortality, the ultimate goal of life?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Very simple! Very easy! The only way to immortality is the removal of immorality.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How long does sensual pleasure last?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Sensual pleasure is momentary and fleeting. It lands you in difficulties and makes you weak. Think well and understand clearly. You think that you are enjoying with your senses. Actually, it is not so. The senses are enjoying at your expense. At your cost the senses are having a nice time. How? You become weak. You lose your strength. You turn old. If you are right in thinking that you enjoy with your senses, you should have been quite active and enthusiastic. But in reality it is not so. You are negatively affected due to sensual pleasures. Therefore, know for sure that your senses enjoy you, making you sick, old and weak and not you enjoying with your senses.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How are we to lead a detached life? We are hurt when our belongings, positions and wealth are withdrawn. Please tell us how not to be hurt though these are taken away from us.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You should always keep in view the purpose and the aim of your life. You should never give up your duties and responsibilities. You see, today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s waste paper. Be assured that past life will never return. You should always keep in mind three important points. Never feel that the world is permanent and that your relationships with all around you are lasting. No. The second thing is that you should not forget God under any circumstances. The third point to remember is not to fear death.
A District Collector has all the comforts and conveniences such as a big bungalow with a spacious compound, furniture, peons, etc. He has a very big office and personnel to provide assistance, but when he retires, he has to leave them all, though he lived till then with them as their sole proprietor and owner. Does he cry on the day of his retirement? Does he feel that he has lost anything personal? Similarly, servant maids, who take care of children at the residences of rich business magnates or high officials consider the children very close to them and even say “our boy”, “our child” and so on. But is it really so? Can they claim and own them at any point of time? Similarly, you see a cashier in the bank. He has with him lakhs and lakhs of rupees, which he disburses to different account holders according to the cheques presented. Does he feel sad at any time for parting with the money? Not even a single naya paisa belongs to him. The same is your relationship with the world you live in. Know the essence, saram (Telugu) and lead this life (family, samsaram Telugu). In fact, no one has anything to do with anything or anybody. You are alone at the time both of your birth and death. The rest that comes in between are like passing clouds.
“Would you settle down on a bridge
you cross from one end to another!
Would you like making a house,
of a boat plying from bank to bank!
Would you build a mansion
right in the middle of a highway!”
So, one must leave to one’s own self questions like: ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where do I come from?’ ‘Who is God?” ‘What is the purpose of life?’ Human life is gifted to you to find answers to these questions.
For example; a villager goes to a nearby town on some business. As he could not complete his work, he has to stay in a lodge to rest. The proprietor of the hotel or lodge he chooses to stay in will naturally put some questions to him before letting out a room to him. He will ask the villager to register his name and address. He has to answer questions such as “Where do you come from? How long would you stay?” If the answers run like this, “I do not know where I come from. I do not know how long I am going to be here. I do not know when I would quit this room”, or “I don’t know where I shall go from here!” The proprietor will say, “No room for you. This lodge is not for mad fellows like you!” Similar is your situation and position if you don’t know where you come from, how long you stay here and where you go from here. Do your duty thinking of God. That is enough, then, you will never suffer.
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.
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