Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 19
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is meant by ‘quest for truth’? How are we to go about this noble task?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: To say that one is involved in the process of search for truth is foolish and is a sign of ajnana, ignorance. When satya, truth, is everywhere, what is the point of searching for it? Truth is God. God is truth. God is omniscient. So also truth is everywhere.
God, the eternal truth, has created the whole universe, which will merge ultimately in truth. It is the eternal truth.
With your eyes you look at your children. With the same eyes you see your wife also. Your eyes may be the same but your vision, the way you look at different persons such as mother, wife, and children varies. The feeling with which you look at everyone is the spirit of the search for truth. This distinguishes feelings from looks.
The Search for truth should answer questions like what, when, why, whom, where and how.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Nowadays even devotion has become a matter of convenience and business, and is expected to yield quick results. Isn’t this wrong in the path of devotion? Are cunning and craft fruitful in devotion?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Today, whatever one does and says is all out of selfishness only. If you develop devotion for getting a job, you are devoted to your employer and not to God. If you are a devotee with a view to get married, you are devoted to your wife or husband as the case may be, but not to God.
If you notice clearly, you will know there is enough money in this world. There are many in good positions. There are many influential and reputed people. Should you pray to God for money, positions, popularity, and influence which are already available in this world plentifully? You should pray to God for those which are not available here and are present in and with Him only. Two things are with God only and are not present elsewhere. What are they? They are Bliss and Peace. True devotion is what urges you to pray to God for these two divine assets.
Most unfortunately, today people employ even tricks, backdoor methods and logic in spiritual fields. Alas! They will never yield good results. Such people will never succeed. Further they boomerang. God and Mammon can’t go together. You can’t buy or sell God. Business on commercial principles and God never go together. God doesn’t want your dhana, money or wealth. He looks into your dharma, conduct.
Alas! In the name of spirituality, it is very unfortunate that people deceive each other, involve in financial transactions, politicise, manipulate, cheat, scheme, plot, spend time in gossip and mud-slinging activities. Your knacks, tricks and gimmicks will never work with God. You will never realise God through these tactics.
Here is a small story. A very rich man had a pet dog. One day when a person was passing along the road, this dog chased him and was about to bite him. Then the person being totally helpless hit the dog with his stick. The dog died. This made the rich man very furious and he took the matter to court to sue this person. There in the court the judge asked the passerby as to why he hit the dog resulting in its death. The person said, “Sir! It fell upon me and was about to bite me. I couldn’t do anything. So, I had to hit it with the stick in my hand and unfortunately the dog died.” Then the judge asked the rich man what he would say in the matter. He said, “Sir! I can understand the situation. But, why should he hit it on the head? Had he not done so, the dog wouldn’t have died.” The judge turned to this person, wanting him to give the explanation. He said, “Sir! It was about to bite me with its teeth. So I had to hit it on the head. Had it tried to bite me with the tail, I would have certainly beaten its tail.” So this is a knack or a trick to escape from the situation. These things are of no use in the spiritual path.
Another example, a businessman had to go to a neighbouring town on some business. He called his son and said, “My dear son! You please look after my work carefully until I return. Be vigilant. Son! You know I do daily puja. You also see me doing astottara puja, repeat 108 precious names of God. You do it without fail during my absence. I don’t want you to discontinue.” The son said, “O.K. father! I will scrupulously follow your instructions.” On his return the businessman enquired of his son if he had done all the things assigned to him including astottara puja. The son had shown him a paper as proof of his compliance. There, on the paper his son wrote God’s holy name and marked ‘ditto, ditto’ so that he did not have to repeat 108 times. Would this make a genuine astottara puja? Do you expect any positive results out of such tactics?
Once a merchant went to a Guru and reverentially prayed to him to give him mantra upadesa to attain moksha. Then the merchant said, “Sir! Can I ask my assistant to repeat and chant the mantra a thousand times Sahasranama on my behalf?” The Guru said, “It is useless. What are you talking about? How do you expect to be benefited when your assistant does the puja on your behalf? Do you ever ask him to eat when you are hungry? Do you ever ask him to drink water when you are thirsty? Do you ever ask him to go to a doctor and take medicine when you are sick? What nonsense are you talking?” This seems to be the trend in the thinking among modern seekers and aspirants, this is not bhakti.
A path followed with your total virakti, detachment, your sakti, total capacity and your anurakti, total love for God is bhakti, and not yukti, the tricks you adopt.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Renunciation, we feel, is the most difficult thing. We have so many attachments and it is not easy to give them up. Kindly suggest an alternative!
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: No. No. It is very easy. You are wrong if you say that detachment is difficult. In fact, it is simpler and easier to be detached than to be attached. Now look here! I hold this handkerchief in my hand. I hold it tight in my grip. It is a strain holding it like that for a long time, i.e. holding the handkerchief in the grip. On the contrary, it is very very easy to simply drop it. Is it not? Now, you will know that attachment is difficult while detachment is easy.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Many different types of sadhana are suggested and prescribed for seekers and aspirants. They are very confusing and the situation of the present day seekers is that they have almost forgotten what a spiritual practice is. Most often having taken one path, many drop out or discontinue. Why? Kindly tell us the truth of the matter?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: In my opinion, spirituality is very simple and easy. You may find crushing the petals of a rose flower difficult. Compared with it spirituality is easier. But unfortunately, today there is none who knows and teaches sadhana.
What is sadhana? It is a process of removing anatma, nonself from atma, Self. Then, you will have atmanubhavam the experience of the Self. In other words, the self, spirit, conscience, or atma is the reality. All the rest is nonself or ‘anatma’. This is the purpose of spiritual pursuit or sadhana.
You also wanted to know why a chosen spiritual path is discontinued. Understand well that nothing is wrong with sadhana. The mistake is yours. It is your weakness. For example, you boarded the Bangalore bound tram. If you get down in the middle without reaching the destination, whose fault is it? It is definitely not the mistake of the train. It is your fault.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We are not able to meditate. We do not know the procedure even. What are we to do?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: When the procedure is not correctly known and you are not able to concentrate as you meditate, do not waste time. Do some good work. It is ridiculous sitting down for meditation, while thinking of all sense objects and sensual pleasures. It is purely a waste of time. In fact, if it is true meditation, the feeling, “I am meditating”, should totally vanish. The three ‘the one that meditates, the one whom you meditate upon’ and the ‘process of meditation’ should be unified. This is called triputi. Always keep in mind one important thing. You are as much far from me as I am from you. You should always experience proximity with God and finally identify yourself with Him. The fruit of your meditation depends on this. With conviction that God is everywhere and by loving and serving all, giving up selfishness and self-interest, you will experience the benefit of true meditation and you will know that your reality is atma, the self.
One example you might remember about meditation. Here are two tumblers of which one is full of milk that has to be poured out into the other tumbler. What do you do? You hold the tumbler filled with milk in one hand and the empty tumbler in the other, and slowly pour milk. The two tumblers should be held tight. If the tumbler with milk is shaking for any reason, the milk spills out. If the other tumbler is not held tight, and starts shaking, you can never collect milk. In other words, both the tumblers must be kept steady. The upper tumbler with milk is God, who should be pleased with your unflinching devotion while the lower tumbler, which represents the devotee should have unwavering faith.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! My mind is not steady. How am I to do bhajans? Without steadiness of the mind, what for are our bhajanas?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The mind is never steady. This is natural. The body may find it easy to be steady. But, movement and running, the body finds difficult. The condition of the mind is just the opposite. The mind finds it difficult to be steady, but easy to run or waver. Body is jada, inert. But the mind is caitanya, awareness. You may lie down on your bed. But your mind will go round all places. Here, one important point is to be noted. The mind has no independent existence. It functions through the body only. The mind which goes round different places is not received and responded to by anyone. No one extends hospitality or responds to its behaviour. It has to come back to the body sometime or other. Therefore, never stop your sadhana, be it bhajan or meditation. The mind will get settled and be steady gradually. Leaves flutter due to wind currents. Once they stop, leaves become steady and motionless. The same is the case with the mind.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Some people are not putting in enough effort in matters of spirituality. They are lazy. Is it proper to be so?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: This is not spirituality at all. “Laziness is rust and dust; Realisation is rest and best”. Man is gifted by God with body, mind and intellect for performing karma, action. It is said, Karmanubandhini manus yaloke. Human society is bound by action. Karmame karanam narunaku sukhadukhamilalo (Telugu verse). It is only action that makes you happy or unhappy. Karma is the cause of janma. For the redemption of life and following righteousness, one has to take the path of action that gives you the divine experience, brahman.
You may say that you are not doing any karma. Remember that you can’t live for a moment without karma. Respiration, blood circulation etc., are actions, whether you know it or not. You eat food while it is God who digests it. One important thing is, human effort and God’s grace are both equally important. These are like the positive and negative wires through which the current flows. Another example is the matchbox. In order to light a matchstick, you have to strike it against the sides of the box.
I give you another illustration in support of this. Suppose the cart in which you are traveling turns upside down. You have to get up slowly and lift a wheel to set it right. God’s grace will add to your effort raising the other wheel so that the cart comes back to the normal position.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Some say that satkarma, good action is enough; some argue that puja is essential, but some hold the view that atmavidya is the only way to liberation. How are we to coordinate and integrate these three? Are these not contradictory to each other? Why should these three be prescribed?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: First, be very clear that they are not contradictory. Performance of good action is karma marga. The three activities you have mentioned are like three different kinds of travel by train. The first is the direct train that takes you to your destination. This is jnana marga the path of Wisdom. The other one is, the train in which you have to change to another at a railway junction, as it is not a direct train. This is karma marga the path of action.
But, there are still other trains to which the carriage you board will be connected, and you don’t have to get down and change it on the way. This is bhakti marga the path of devotion. You can view these paths in this way.
Another example, a mother has three sons. She feeds the youngest, a child all by herself. But the second son is a grown up boy who will go to the kitchen straight and will have his food served by the cook. The eldest son being an adult can serve food for himself and eat it. Similar is the situation here. The youngest child stands for the path of action, the second son represents the path of devotion, while the eldest symbolises the path of wisdom.
Another example, a king had three wives. He had to be away from his kingdom longer than planned. So he sent a message to his three wives telling them that his return was delayed and also asking them to inform him as to what he should bring home for them as gifts. The first wife said that she needed nothing except his safe return. The second wife who was ailing for quite some time wanted medicines, while the third one who was very fond of jewels wanted the latest designs to be brought. On his return, the king went straight to the first wife and stayed there. The other two wives came and pleaded with him to visit them also saying, “Oh King! Your return was already delayed. You. have been spending much time with your first wife. How about us?” The king replied, “Look! This one wanted my safe return. So I am with her. But you wanted medicines and jewels, and accordingly I sent to both of you what you had asked for.” Thus, the first wife who asked for the king himself and none else stands for vairagya, renunciation. The second wife who wanted medicines represents prakrtika jnana, material knowledge, while the third one who wanted jewels symbolises prakrtika bhakti worldly devotion for worldly gains.
Therefore, different spiritual paths are prescribed and suggested considering the eligibility, temperament, suitability, capability and the samskaras, vasanas qualities of the past life of different persons.
The same thing I tell my students. There are three ‘W’s. The first ‘W’ indicates ‘work’, karma marga, the second ‘W’ means ‘Worship’ or ‘Devotion’, Bhakti marga and the third ‘W’ signifies ‘Wisdom’, jnana marga. These three are contained in the name of SAI. ‘S’ stands for Service (karma yoga) ‘A’ for Adoration (bhakti yoga) and ‘I’ for illumination (jnana yoga).
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We want to know how a true experience can be communicated.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Here, there are three steps. First, you should know jnanatum then see drastum and experience pravestum.
You know a mango. You go to the market where you see it. It is not enough. You should buy and eat it to experience the taste of it. You can describe what you know and see. But you can’t convey your experience.
For instance, if you stand knee deep in water you can freely talk. If you stand neck deep in water, you can afford to talk. If you drown yourself totally, you can’t talk. Can you? This is the state of total experience beyond expression.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What is the cause of agitation? How are we to get rid of it? What changes are needed to be free from agitation?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Absence of satya, truth and dharma, righteousness is responsible for all agitation today. Therefore, people have lost peace and bliss.
Modern man has faith neither in himself nor in God. He is blind having lost the two eyes of faith. Human life without faith is a barren land. It is not man ‘manisi’ (Telugu) who should change. It is the mind, ‘manasu’ (Telugu) that has to change. Niti (morality), riti (conduct), and khyati (good name) are essential. Truth or satya is morality or niti, righteous conduct or dharma is the way of life or rithi while sacrifice or tyaga is the good name or khyati that you should get.
A man with desires, kama, is never happy.
A man with anger, krodha, will have no friends.
A man with greed, lobha, is cut off from bliss, ananda.
Therefore, kama, krodha and lobha are enemies. The happiness of the vyakti, individual, depends on samisti, the community. The individual has a form. The community has no form. If you respect the individual, it means you are respecting the community. The community is in srsti, the creation. The Creator is paramesti, God. So it all begins with vyakti, the individual and ends in paramest, divinity. In other words, God has created this world in which samisti, communities consists of vyakti, individuals. Thus, they are interrelated and interdependent. Therefore, in the individual, morality is truth. His conduct should be righteous and his reputation lies in realising God.
Bhagawan Buddha speaks of certain aspects of individual sadhana. Buddha said, samyakdrrsti, good vision, is necessary. “Your vision must be pure and sacred”. This will lead to samyak sravanam, good listening. These two great qualities imprinted in the heart induce samyakbhava, good feeling. This prompts and promotes samyakkriya, good action. Therefore, at the individual level, when good vision, good listening, good feeling and good action are followed, the community will be ideal. There will be no disquiet and agitation.
One has to correct one’s lapses and mistakes. You should never speak ill of anybody. There is another episode connected with Buddha. Buddha mercifully accepted the invitation of a prostitute to dine at her residence. While He was proceeding, the village head came and objected to His visit to her residence, as she was a bad character. Buddha caught hold of his right hand and said, “Now, clap your hands if you can”. The village head said “Oh! Lord! How can I clap with one hand while you hold my right hand?”
Buddha smiling said, “You can’t clap with one hand. You have to join both the hands. Similarly, you have said that the woman is of loose character. Who has made her like that? Only you people spoiled her.” Then the village head and other elders fell at His feet and followed Buddha. The woman too changed her behaviour and became His devotee.
During that time another significant event happened. One day Buddha was tired and taking rest. So He asked one of His disciples to address the gathering that evening on a spiritual topic. The disciple got up, and while speaking in praise of his master, Buddha, he said, “No master like Buddha was ever born before him nor would be born later”. Everyone clapped. On hearing this, Buddha came into their midst, and gently said, “How old are you? How do you know that no one like your master was born before and would be born in future? How can you speak about the future? Many noble people lived in the past and are now living in the present, and also will be born in the future.” Thus, He indicated indirectly the advent of Avatars, divine incarnations.
One has to live attached to God anurakti, detached from the world virakti, with devotion, bhakti and achieve liberation, mukti, with all your energies, sakti. This is the only solution to problems like agitation, restlessness and conflicts internal or external.
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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