Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 22
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Pardon me for asking this question. At an advanced stage in our life when somehow our memory fades, we will not be able to remember all that we should. What is to be done?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You are mistaken. Never say that your memory is fading. You say you are old. It is only an excuse, but it is not really so. You remember your date of birth, you remember exactly when you married, when your children were born, when you performed their marriages, when your grandchildren were born, when you joined service and retired. If what you say is correct, that you are losing your memory as you are aging, how do you remember these details then? It is only love for your family that makes you remember these dates. You have interest in these matters. Since you do not have such intense love for and interest in spirituality, you take advantage of your advanced age as a lame excuse for complaining that your memory is fading. A fruit may be fully ripe, yet the seed within is hard.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! What are the sources of our peace, happiness, wealth, comforts and convenience? How do we get them? Why are some denied these most coveted things?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You don’t get anything in life for nothing. One gets these things in life because of any one of the following three reasons. Take one simple example. You know banking. You are an account holder. Suppose you want some money. What should you do? You go to your bank and get the money. But you should be having enough money to your credit and by submitting a cheque, affixing your signature you can withdraw the money you want. If you have no money to your credit in the account; you don’t get any money. Yet, you need money. How to get it? If you mortgage your permanent assets like gold or landed property, the bank will give you some money proportionately. You may not have permanent assets. Still you want money. Then, if a rich man stands as a surety or guarantor, the bank will give you the money you need. Thus, these three are ways of getting money from the bank.
Here money is God’s grace. If you are doing some good deeds in the present i.e. depositing some amount of money in your account, you can withdraw the money of God’s grace in the future. If in the present there is no such credit, at least the good deeds you did in the past, that is to say, your permanent assets when mortgaged to the bank, entitle you to receive money. Without these two good acts you may still be eligible to draw money from your bank. If a rich man i.e. God or an Avatar or a Sadguru stands as your guarantor. So, you receive God’s grace either because of your past merit, or present merit, or if a rich man stands as a surety or guarantor. There is no other way. These are the reasons for a person’s affluence, luxury, life of happiness, comforts and conveniences.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! You tell us that we are not mrnmaya (dust thou art), but cinmaya (you are awareness). Therefore, we devotees, should know that we are not simply the body, but awareness. You also repeatedly say, “You are God.” Then, when I am God, aham brahmasmi, why should I pray? Where is the need for all this spiritual exercise, then?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You may know or may not, you may agree or may not, and you may believe or may not, but you are God indeed. “Mamaivamso jivaloke,” said Krishna in the Gita, which means “You are mine, you are the spark of My Divinity”.
The three divine attributes sat / being, cit / awareness, and ananda / bliss are in you. Prajna, conscience in you is divine. So, it is said, prajnanam brahma. The great mahavakya, the supreme statement, also says, tattvamasi / “That thou art”.
We have today intelligent people who observe plurality or multiplicity in unity. But good, noble, and pious persons who find unity in diversity are rare. Once it so happened that a little tiger cub got mixed in a flock of sheep. Thus, moving about with the group for some time, the cub thought that he was also one of the sheep family. One day a tiger came that way and attacked the sheep. On seeing the tiger, the cub started shivering, and said, “Oh! Don’t kill me. I am one of the sheep, after all, so weak”. Then the tiger spoke to the cub, “Why do you fear? You are not one of the sheep. You are a tiger. Come on. Follow me. Look into the river and see your reflection there in this water and compare your figure with mine. You will find the same stripes on the coat of your body, a moustache on your mouth and a roaring sound in your voice. Why do you think you are one of this flock of sheep. Oh dear one? You have forgotten your true identity and nature”. The cub then realised its true nature and abandoned fear from its mind.
Similarly, in the field of spirituality, a guru, through his uppedsa, divine teaching, tells you your true identity. Once you separate yourself from all that is not your true Self, spirit or atma, you will experience your reality, i.e. atma. Therefore, self-enquiry is very essential. I say “You are God” but this truth has not come into your experience. You should continue your spiritual practice until you’ve experienced it. You have to continue your bhajans, meditations, etc., till the reality is experienced.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! By now we have known about divinity very well. What more do we need in this world?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You are mistaken. It is not enough if you merely know. If you spend your lifetime reading books when are you going to experience Bliss? It is experience which is important and not bookish or scriptural knowledge. The Gita refers to three specific steps in spirituality, jnatum / knowledge, drastum / sight and pravestum / experience.
Suppose you want to eat a delicious item. What do you do first? You know about delicacies such as kurma, pulao, etc. Then in the next step, these two items, pulao and kurma are to be served on a plate. It is not enough if you know / jnatum, the items and see / drastum. Isn’t it? You have to eat and enjoy the dishes, pravestum / experience. So mere information and knowledge are useless. You should practice and realise. This is wisdom and when you attain it, you find yourself immersed in bliss and you remain dumb.
The same thing has been explained in the Brahmasutras also. The first principle is: athato brahma jijnasa which means, athato / hereafter, brahma / about God, jijnasa / developing interest. But what is meant by ‘hereafter’? When exactly should we develop interest in Brahman? This word “athato”, is interpreted in many many ways by scholars and visionaries. They run to volumes. But what is first needed is karma jijnasa / interest in action, later dharma jijnasa / interest in discrimination, and finally bramha jijnasa / interest in divinity.
I give simple examples for you to understand this. Suppose you want to eat coconut chutney. What do you do first? You should procure all the material necessary for its preparation. This is karma jijnasa. You should grind all the material so procured nicely. This is dharma jijnasa . You have to keep it on the tongue to decide the taste and to know if anything else should be added to it. This is brahma jijnasa. This means mere karma jijnasa is not enough. You need at the next stage, dharma jijnasa and finally, you develop interest in Brahman, brahma jijnasa. The wisdom so gained must be practised and experienced. You should share the bliss with others.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We do both good and bad deeds. Don’t our good actions nullify the evil effects of our bad actions? Don’t they at least balance each other? In other words, will our good actions cancel the bad effects of our misdeeds?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Since you are a Commerce student, you have put this question. All your thinking is along the direction of credit and debit. But, God, you know, is a super divine accountant. His balance sheet is not of your type. He will make you face the consequences of your actions, good for good actions and bad for bad actions. He will not add or subtract any of the consequences of your actions.
A small example I give you in this context. Suppose you have some seeds of both thorny plants and fruit-bearing trees. When you sow them, what will happen? The seeds of the thorny plants will germinate into thorny bushes and the seeds of the fruit bearing trees will germinate into fruit bearing ones respectively. Germination will never happen contrary to this, will it? The same is the case with your sinful deeds and the meritorious.
You must have seen persons who vow to offer ten thousand rupees to Lord Venkateswara if they win a lottery for ten lakhs. Can’t they understand that God who can give you ten lakh rupees doesn’t expect your ten thousand rupees? They don’t think reasonably and logically. People think according to their worldly standards. But, Swami wants you to spiritualise your worldly actions as well.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Is it not enough if we are good? How can we know God?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Remove one “o” from ‘Good’. If that extra “o” prakrti or body feeling is given up, it becomes God. You know the letter “W”. It is double ‘you’, i.e., the individual soul jivatma and the cosmic soul, paramatma. It is the illusion, maya that prevents you from knowing the unity of the two. If you repeat “my” a couple of times, it will sound like “maya”.
It is the feeling of ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ that is responsible for all the misery of the world. You are least disturbed if your neighbour’s car is damaged. But if there is a slight scratch on your own car you are very much worried and disturbed. If your neighbour sells or disposes of his house it matters nothing to you. But if circumstances force you to dispose of your own house, you will feel very very sad. Why? The feeling “this is my house”, makes you feel sad. This feeling of ‘mine’ is maya if this is gone, you will experience unity in diversity.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! It is said that we can’t escape from the consequence of our actions Why do we find some wicked people happy in spite of their treacherous deeds?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Here we should note one important point. You say some wicked people are happy. They may do all the misdeeds smiling but later they have to cry and suffer. Some actions give results immediately, some take some more time, while others a long time. I give you a small example. If a blade cuts your finger, your blood gushes out immediately. This is an action that gives result from the cut immediately. To draw milk from the udder of a cow it takes some time. This is the second category of action. It takes food a few hours to be digested. This is the third category of action.
If you sow a seed, it takes a long time to germinate and grow into a plant. So also your actions give results at different points of time. It is all a question of time. One must necessarily face the consequence of one’s own actions without fail.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Since all forms and names are divine, what is the need then for the Lord to incarnate in human form?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You do not know until I tell you that all forms and names are His. You need to be told of the divine nature i.e., sat / being, cit / awareness, and ananda / bliss. This is the purpose of incarnation. God in human form is the embodiment of love. He teaches and makes everyone experience love.
Though flowers, thread and a needle are present, don’t you need someone to make a garland?
In spite of gold and pearls being available, shouldn’t you have a goldsmith to make a chain?
The wick, container and oil will not give light unless you light the lamp, will they?
Avatar, God incarnate, sets an ideal for the entire humanity. There is nothing He needs in this world as everything is His only.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We feel that life is going on and on. But it sounds purposeless and aimless. Kindly tell us about the purpose of life.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: ‘Yecat inundi vaccitivo acati keguta naijamu pranikotikin’ (Telugu verse). It is necessary that you should go back to the place of your origin. Truly, you should know that you are from God and you should go back to God.
A pot, a slate, etc., can be made out of clay. Suppose you have a pot. After using it for sometime, you drop it by accident. It falls to the ground and breaks into pieces over which several automobiles pass crushing the pieces further. Then, what happens? You get the clay back again. So earlier it was clay and at the end it is clay once again The pot also is made of clay. Similarly, you are from God, bound to God and are God as well. Realisation of this truth is the purpose of life.
One example. Any letter you post should have two addresses, one to whom you have written, another your own address, so that if by any chance, it doesn’t reach the addressee, it will come back to you at least. But, if the addresses are not written it will go to the dead letter office. Similarly, you should know where you come from and where you go from here.
Merging in God or to be one with reality, or total identity with God is the ultimate aim of life. “Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam punarapi janani jathare sayanam.” (Adi Sankara’s Bhaja Govindam). After all, the whole thing is a cycle of repeated births and deaths. After death one has to go back to the womb of the mother and be born once again. It is only life after life. But spirituality helps you, so to say, not to be born. Having died, you don’t have to die once again by having another birth. You take medicine so that you don’t have to fall sick once again. Death should take you to immortality.
One more example. Once a prisoner was released after the completion of the prison term. The jailor said to him, “Pack your baggage and leave!” The prisoner in reply said, “Sir! Why the trouble of taking the baggage? Anyhow I will come back soon.” It implies that he will commit some crime again and is prepared to put himself behind bars. Our life should not be like that. It should be like the newspaper. Today’s newspaper is not read tomorrow. Why? Today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s waste paper. Always remember that you are from God, in God and will go back to God.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! I find many people sad. People who are rich and in a high position also are sad. Why? Please tell us what we need to do?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There are two reasons for this. People are sad thinking of the past. Don’t you know that the past is beyond recovery? Having walked all along and passed by several things, why do you need to look back? Past is past. Don’t brood over the past. The second reason for sadness is worry about the future. Where is the guarantee that you will survive until your plans are realised? Do you know what will happen to you in the next moment? What is destined and bound to happen will happen in its own course. Everything goes according to God’s will. Why do you worry? The future is uncertain. Suppose you go on accumulating money with the idea of educating your son and sending him abroad, where is the guarantee that he will study well? So don’t think of the past and future. Live in the present and be happy. This is not the ordinary present. This is omnipresent.
One simple example here. In the past it was a tree. In the present you have a seed of that tree. In the future it grows into a tree. So the present is the result of the past. It is the foundation of the future. Keep this in mind. Then, you will never worry and feel sad.
There is another reason for sadness. Unlimited desires also are responsible for your sadness. For example, if you drop a piece of cloth, it falls down. Why? Due to its weight it falls down, doesn’t it? But if it is cotton, it never goes down, instead it goes up. Why? Since it is light in weight it goes up. The man on the moon loses his weight. Having been a householder for fifty years you should be totally detached. A grhasta, householder, should become a vanaprastha, recluse and finally, a sanyasi, renunciant. If your desires are less, you will be happier. “Less luggage more comfort make travel a pleasure”, is the slogan of the railways.
The more you love God the more will you be happy. For this, faith is necessary.
Where there is Faith, there is Love.
Where there is Love, there is Peace.
Where there is Peace, there is Truth
Where there is Truth, there is God.
Where there is God, there is Bliss.
It begins with faith and ends in Bliss.
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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