Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 27
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We take sumptuous meals twice a day. Again, we take heavy breakfast, evening tiffin and several cups of coffee now and then during the course of the day. Still, we feel weak and exhausted. You don’t take anything except one or two spoonfuls of food. But you work and strain yourself a lot. You walk miles in a day. How are you so energetic?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: This is divinity. You derive energy from the food you eat. If you take less food, you become weak. But, the energy of Swami is not derived from food. I don’t take any breakfast. I just drink a glass of water at 10.00 in the morning. I eat very little. I do not take curds, ghee, sweets, ice cream, oily or spicy stuff and the like. My food is a poor man’s food, ‘ragi’, millets. You have seen me not taking anything in the evenings for the last one year. I do so much work. I personally look into every minute detail of the institutions here: educational, hospital, mandir, besides the current water project. I have direct contact with every devotee. No one stands between. Since there are no secrets, I have no secretary. It is all a connection of only love-to-love and heart-to-heart. For the work I do, it is estimated that I need 1500 calories of energy. But the food I take has hardly 200 calories. Then, where from do I get the energy Ineed? It is not from food. Know that I am energy, nay, its very source.
Physically, I am 70. Yet, I can see even an ant from a distance. I don’t wear glasses. You people begin wearing glasses from 40 years of age. I can hear any sound, even the slightest, and my teeth are very strong and sharp. I don’t have even a single grey hair. I feel like walking more and more. But it would put you all to inconvenience as many follow me wherever I go. I attend to my personal work. You may wonder how my senses are so sharp.
What is your prayer before you take your food? You pray to God who is in the form of Vaisvanara and to whom food is offered as he digests, assimilates, and supplies the essence to the different parts of your body. Therefore, the food you all eat comes to me and I am in you. Just examine why your senses are weak. The answer is simple, viz., misuse of senses, selfishness, and narrow-mindedness. There is not an iota of selfishness in me from top to toe. You are mine. My only concern is your welfare and spiritual progress.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! I beg your pardon for asking this question. While I am afraid to pose the question, I am also very keen to know the answer from you. Since you are our most compassionate God, I have made bold to ask you this question. Swami! You talk to some devotees as soon as they come here, whereas you don’t talk to some others who have been here for a long time. How are we to reconcile these two facts?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There is nothing wrong in asking any question in your search for truth. It is not good to entertain any doubts.All the more so, in respect of God.
You should always believe in one thing: whatever happens to you, it is for your own good. Only God knows what, when, how, why and to whom anything is to be done. You don’t understand this. Every action of Swami will help you. Swami may talk to some immediately and may not do so to some others for a long time. This is a matter of time, according to you. But Swami is beyond time and space.
I give you a simple example here. Suppose a bus starts from here, and passengers start boarding it. What do you notice? The passenger who gets into the bus first goes to the front and occupies the seat by the side of the driver. The last passenger has to stand near the door. Then, when the bus stops at the terminus and the passengers start getting down from the bus, what happens? The last passenger standing near the door gets down first and the first passenger sitting near the driver gets down last. Isn’t it so? Therefore, the first becomes the last and the last the first. The same thing applies to Swami’s devotees.
Saint Mrikanda put a similar question to sage Narada. “Oh Narada! How is it that so young a boy like Prahlada could see the divine manifestation at an early age whereas we, who have been doing penance for the last hundreds of years, are doing it in vain? Why should it happen like that?” Narada replied like this: “Oh Saint! Prahladais very young in years, no doubt, but his yearning for God must have been for several of his previous lives. This is the result of the cumulative effect of his earlier lives of prayerful yearning for God. You may think that you have been doing penance for long years. But all this you have done during this lifetime of yours only. The body of Prahlada is young but his soul has been pining for God ever since his earlier births. You are old now in age but your attempt has been short.”
I will give you another example. A young man with a hammer wanted to break a stone. Inspite of his twenty strokes, the stone did not break. An old man passing by that side hammered the same stone twice. It broke! You may wonder how it could happen. The old mancould break the stone that couldn’t be broken by the young man. Do you know why? The stone had already received as many as twenty hammer strokes from the young man. So the total came to twenty two strokes, with the old man hammering it twice. Similarly, the dawn of God-realization may look early or late from your point of view. But the reality is different.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We don’t find out our own faults. Even if we recognise them, we justify them and because of our narrow-mindedness, we don’t understand your infinite love. We doubt and limit your love. As ill luck would have it, you don’t seem to look at our faces when we sit in darsan lines and sometimes it appears that you are avoiding us. We are depressed because you don’t talk nor do you at us. How are we to take and face this sad situation?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Believe it or not, from top to toe there is not an iota of selfishness in me. Whatever I do and say, it is for your own good. Why am I harsh with you at times? It is my love for you, and in order to check and transform you, I pretend to be harsh and serious. If I don’t feel that you are mine, why should I bother to correct you? It is my duty, since you are mine, to set you right when you are wrong.
You feel sad when I don’t talk to you because you value my words. Your wavering mind and your shaky faith make you listen to and act according to the words of some irresponsible persons. You are carried away by them. So, there arise some undesirable thoughts in your mind and some unbecoming traits in your behaviour. Therefore, I act as if I am keeping you away from me. Why? My intention is to correct you quickly.
Take one example. When a road is under repair, what do you do? You take a diversion and pass through another route, don’t you? Similarly, to bring about reformation in you, very often I pretend to be avoiding you and not observing you. The day you change, everything becomes normal, just as the traffic is resumed soon after the road is repaired. God, out of His intense and infinite love for you, incarnates only to correct and guide you. So, I treat in this manner those people who tread along the wrong path in my ‘hospital’ of Prasanti Nilayam. Soon after they are cured and their health is restored, I discharge them, and then establish with them the same old and usual relationship.
I have to reaffirm, reestablish and rejuvenate your faith. I have to lay the proper and strong foundation for you so that you may lead a happy and dharmic life. I have to infuse self-confidence in you so that you don’t fall victim to worldly, sensual pleasures. Your prayer may not bring about world peace. See that you don’t have bad qualities like greed and violence. This is a tough, rough and difficult path to follow. But you have got to follow it. Tarry no longer and do not allow the bad qualities you have long adopted and nurtured to have a firm grip over you and your life. Do give them up forthwith.
In the olden days when anyone fell sick in Puttaparti, they used to get him treated by a non-medical, unlettered, unqualified and inexperienced fake doctor. As a result, the condition of the patient often became very serious. Later they began running to places like Anantapur, Chickballapur, Vellore and so on to save the patient. Had they given proper treatment to the patient by a senior qualified doctor, this situation would have been averted. Isn’t it so? Some Gurus, self-styled, who have failed to solve their own problems, go round like beggars, and you run after them. What do you expect from them? Don’t give any scope for ego and pride in you. Accept God as your guide and director in your life and follow him strictly.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Over the years, we read thousands of books, and heard numerous speeches. But our Swami’s speeches are unique, incomparable, deliciously sweet, ever new, and stir our hearts. What is the secret?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: What is natural is necessarily beautiful. What comes from the heart is ever fresh. Jnana is not something to be learnt, say, from books, but experiences to be enjoyed like that of a delightful fragrance.
Now you are considered as individuals, members of a society. Individualism blooms only though teachings, boldly refreshing true and eternal. An individual is more than a form, a shape. He becomes a vyakti, person, when he manifests qualities of the inner self. It is the teachings of Satya Guru that convey to you your divinity and make you capable of recognising it.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Your discourses and conversations are full of illustrations, and short and sweet stories. They are simple and easy to understand. They are related to situations from our daily life. They give us immense joy. What is the secret?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Today, there are very few teachers who know and explain spiritual matters clearly, leave alone their experience. So, their actual meaning and true significance are not conveyed properly. Distorted versions, perverted views, wrong interpretations are often passed on to the general public. Hence, the reality is never understood and experienced, so much so, spirituality to many modern people is nothing but confusion confounded, and full of contradictions.
I give many small examples drawn from your experiences in daily life. In order to win a case in a court of law, should you not have proper witnesses? These examples are given in support of the subject so as to make you understand and remember it easily.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Please do not mistake us. Please pardon us for a feeling that comes to us quite often. As we listen to your discourses, we find many repetitions. We feel that the things we have heard and already understood are being simply repeated. What is to be done then?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You are thoroughly mistaken. It is a feeling of the ego, born of ignorance. You should never feel this way, particularly when you are on the path. Every religion has a spiritual text like the Bible, the Koran and so on. The followers of Hinduism read the Bhagavad Gita, the Sundarakanda of the Ramayana, etc., as sadhana. Scriptures remind us of our duties, responsibilities, obligations and aims besides enabling us to spend our time in a sacred way. For spiritual seekers and aspirants, scriptures are the lights of wisdom. Therefore, theists revere and read holy books. You feel that you are hearing the same old messages. But have you experienced them? Have you practised all of them? In fact, these spiritual matters should be repeated time and again until they are practised.
Scriptures like the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita mention repeatedly and emphatically important spiritual aspects like bhakti, karma, vairagyam and jnana. They direct seekers to cultivate healthy spiritual habits and qualities to attain moksha by emphasising and repeating at several places things like bhakti, karma, and jnana. Don’t you know that your dehamata, the physical mother, makes the child repeat Telugu words like amma, mother, mama, uncle, atta, aunt, tata, grandfather, and so on, and teaches him how to speak. So, this Sai Lokamata, Mother of the Universe is Vedamata as well. Sai mata, Mother Sai repeats these fundamentals again and again for the sake of the child.
Often you wear the same clothes. You take food every day. You drink coffee several times every day. In spite of these repetitions, you still want to continue the old habits, and are not fed up or bored. Similarly, you have to hear these spiritual matters repeatedly so that you do not forget them. You should never feel disgusted at any time with matters pertaining to spirituality. Still worse are some people who have a headache or fall asleep when spiritual matters are discussed. But, while the talk is on mundane matters, or people are gossiping, they evince keen interest and follow each word with rapt attention. Such people should note that whatever spiritual sadhana they do is all a waste. A cakora bird may get tired waiting for the moonlight. A koel, known for its melodies, may be exhausted while singing. You may not even relish drinking amrita, celestial nectar. But, in respect of God, no one should ever feel disgusted, bored or tired. This is important for a devotee. A fool like you once asked a purohita, priest, at the time of the marriage of his second daughter, “What, Sir! You are repeating now the mantras you had chanted at the time of my first daughter’s wedding!” Mantras don’t change from one wedding to another. This is the height of foolishness.
One may read any number of books. One may hear about the contents mentioned in Holy Scriptures. One may give lectures on spiritual topics. Until one takes to practising what one believes in, all other acts are useless. A small story for you to illustrate this. There was once a pandit, an expert in the Bhagavad Gita. He was very poor, and found it hard to maintain his family. He decided to go to the king, give discourses on the Gita and thus please him. He expected the king to reward him profusely for his scholarly presentation. In fact, the king himself was a great scholar in the Gita and he had even experienced the truths mentioned there. But no one knew that the king was well versed in the Gita.
The pandit requested the minister to convey to the king his intention to give talks on the Gita in the presence of the king. On hearing this, the king sent a message to the pandit saying that, the pandit was yet to know the essence of the Gita. After fifteen days, the pandit again approached the king through the minister. But the king turned down his request saying that he, the pandit, was yet to go into the depth of the Gita. The pandit was totally upset and very much disappointed, and returned home. He refused to answer his wife when she asked him for the reason nor his sadness. She, after some time, served him tiffin and tea and softly elicited the reason for his frustration. The pandit said to his wife: “Look! You know that I am an expert on the Gita. None can equal me in speaking on this sacred book. I got several titles and rewards as well as recognition from the public for my expositions and interpretations of the Gita. But for the first time, I feel humiliated as the king has refused me permission to enter his court and speak. Had it been anyone else, I would have taken him to task.”
Then, the wife said, “Sir! It appears to me that what the king said is true.” The pandit was very angry on hearing her comment. He said, “What nonsense are you speaking? Are you a fool? Don’t I know the Gita? Am I not a scholar? What do you mean by saying that the king’s remark is true?” Then, the wife politely and respectfully said, “Sir! I am fortunate to have been listening to your valuable discourses for the last several years. I very well remember your saying that in the Gita, God assured His devotee, ananyascin tayanto mam, if only the devotee concentrates fully on Him, yogaksemam vahamyaham, God would look after him in every way. You also said that God added, moksayisyamima sucah, God would grant even liberation. But I am surprised to see you trying to approach the king instead of God! Perhaps you believe that God may not keep His promise. Isn’t it so?” Similarly, we have today many scholars who can speak excellently on the Gita. They have no faith in what they say. They merely chant, repeat verbatim, and preach to others. This is not important. One must put into practice at least one or two principles out of all that is studied, learnt and spoken.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How nice would it be if we follow your exemplary acts, take your life as your message, do things at the exact and right time! We see you distributing gifts immediately as and when you decide. Kindly suggest ways and means of emulating you.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You should never postpone doing good things. There should be perfect harmony in your thought, word and deed: This is true human value. I give you a simple example here. When you fire a gun, what happens? The release of the bullet and the sound of the shot occur at the same time. Similarly, your decision and action should take place together, simultaneously.
There is a small episode in the Mahabharata. Once a poor old Brahmin approached Dharmaja with a request to help him, absolutely poverty stricken as he was. Dharmaja considered the matter sympathetically, but he asked the Brahmin to see him on the following day. Bhima, who was also there, overheard their conversation. That night he made all the arrangements for decorating the city, Huge platforms were raised and various gifts made ready to be distributed among the poor and deserving. The next morning Dharmaja got up as usual and was surprised to see the hectic activity going on all around the city. He asked Bhima what it was all about, and the reason behind it.
Bhima said, “Brother! Yesterday I heard you asking the poor old Brahmin, who came seeking your help, to meet you today. I was so happy to note that you were so sure of your life. Life is uncertain. But you were so sure about it. This made me happy and celebrate your certainty about life in a big way”. Thus, he indirectly conveyed to his brother that good things should be done immediately.
There is another small story. One day Karna was taking an oil bath. A servant was massaging his body with oil from a gold cup. A poor man came and begged for Karna’s help. Karna immediately gave the gold cup he was holding in his left hand. The poor man said, “Oh King! Is it proper on your part to present a gift with your left hand? Why did you do that?” Then Kama said, “It is true I presented the gold cup with my left hand. Had I but taken the time to transfer it into my right hand, I am afraid, my mind might have changed and I might have reversed my own decision. So, without giving any scope for second thoughts I gave it to you immediately even though the cup was in my left hand.” This is exactly what you should do. The moment you think of doing one good act, do it without any loss of time, never keep it pending till tomorrow.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Your love is incomparable, second to none: It excels the sky and the ocean in its vastness and depth. You are the very personification of sacrifice. Why are we not able to comprehend it?
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You can bring water from the sea, but only as much as the container you carry. Isn’t it so? Your Heart is a small tumbler. How can you carry Swami’s love, which is an ocean? How can you estimate it? After all, you are at the physical level. So, you are comparing your body to My body. Then, what about the Heart? You have a very narrow mind. Swami’s Heart is as broad as the infinite sky. You may at the most know the present, but Swami knows the past; the present and the future. My car has forward gear and also a reverse gear.
Note: God has the three qualities, akarsana , samkarsana and prakarsana. If I sit in the chair inside the Mandir, you will come near me, have darsan, and return. But I don’t do that. I walk along the lines in your midst repeatedly. You will be very happy if I walk round you. This makes Swami also feel happy. Bliss is my food. Thousands of devotees come to this place for darshan. I look after them and providing accommodation and food. They return home full of satisfaction and bliss. They have immense love for Swami.
If you have nigraha, sense control, you will get anugraha, grace. Take a small example. When you go to a goldsmith, what would you do? You give him gold, mention the design of the ornaments of your choice and you note the exact weight of the gold you give, don’t you? You don’t say, “Do not burn the gold I have given you. I don’t want you to hammer and cut it”. But, what you want and expect is the jewel according to the design and the weight given before. I do the same thing here. I make you learn manners, develop good behaviour, and act with discipline. I transform you into most precious jewels.
Remember always that a boy should have good ‘behaviour’, a man good ‘manners’ and a devotee ‘discipline’. You know the Godrej Company. It is not Godrej that is important. What is important is God raise, i.e., God raises you to a higher level of a life of quality. You must be ready and prepared for it. You call a human being manisi in Telugu. Now read it in the reverse, it becomes ‘cinema’. Life should not be artificial like a cinema or movie. With this sort of an artificial life, how do you expect to know and experience Me?
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! You are the embodiment of Love. Invariably your divine discourses are permeated with Love. If we understand even a tiny particle, we will become blessed. Please enlighten us on the place of Love in spiritual terms.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There is nothing greater than Love. Love alone is life. Love alone is the support of everything. There is no greater sadhana or spiritual practice than Love. Love alone is the destination. Love alone is the key to bliss. “Love is God, God is love”. Of these two, “Love is God” is correct. The nature and existence of God, you have neither known nor experienced. So, to say “God is love”, something beyond your knowledge and experience, is meaningless. But, there is none in the world devoid of love. Man may not have, or be lacking; something or other. One may or may not have education, wealth, and authority. But there is no man or place devoid of love. Love is the foundation of the building called God. Love of God is affirmed, cognised, and experienced by all mankind. From where has this Love arrived? Has it come from outside? No, no. It has come from the self. Love is right within you. Love is the key to all spiritual practices. You chant God’s name. Do you chant it without Love? Can you perform japa without Love? Only those spiritual practices you love, you take up. Love is of prime importance in your sadhana. Adi Sankara is the emperor of advaita, and propagated the doctrine of advaita. Even this Sankara composed the celebrated, Bhajagovindam ‘Worship Govinda’, and warned, Govindam bhaja mudhamate: “Oh! Stupid one! Worship Govinda!” He, thus, pointed out the way to experiencing God’s Love. In other words, Love surpasses even the highest reaches of jnana. Man experiences Love in a variety of ways: mamakaram , becoming a slave to attachment through love of worldly things; vatsalyam, developing affection for children and grandchildren; anuragam desire for wife; abhimanam, pride in one’s kith and kin; maitri company of colleagues and people of one’s own age. Above all, there is Love of God, devotion. Pure, unselfish, and constant love is ideal, transcendental devotion. Being Himself love, God can be realised only through Love. Fill your heart with Love. Life is Love. Share it. Enjoy it.
Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! listening to Your conversations, teachings, and discourses is true jnanam. When this is put into practice, this becomes wisdom gained through our experience, and shines as practical wisdom. When, say, will our ignorance be dispelled? Your profound, divine discourses are a feast for our ears, enthusing and inspiring us.
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: What use is simple listening? Is merely glancing at cooked food enough? Knowledge gained has to be turned into experience. This jewel of jnana has to be secured with ever so much care, love, and piety. Here is an example. A raw fruit may be thrown away without any loss to it or to you. But what happens when you throw away or let drop a ripe, sweet mango? The fruit bursts and the sweet juice spills to the ground, doesn’t it? That is why you have to hold the ripe fruit gently with both hands safely. In the same way, the fruit of jnana is to be secured, leaving no chance for it to slip down.
Ajnana, irrespective of its duration and magnitude, vanishes the moment jnana dawns. Even though ajnana had persisted through many lives, the light of jnana dispels the darkness of Anna instantly. Take this example. Suppose you lock your house and live in another town. More specifically, locking your house in Guntur, think that you have been staying in Puttaparti from six months. As Swami had gone to Bangalore, you leave for Guntur, and reached your house. You open the doors and find the interior dark. This darkness has been there for six months. Now you switch on the light. How long does it take for the darkness to disappear? Does it require six months? Instantly there is light. Similarly, the darkness of ajnana no matter however long it had been there is vanquished immediately.
Note this carefully. A tree might have grown very tall, and may have been there for a long, long time. But how much time does it take to fell it with an axe? The fire of jnana, the sword of jnana, in an instant, puts an end to ajnana of very long standing.
This ajnana is really darkness, ignorance, illusion, and delusion. You may have your ears pierced with rings, wear bangles on your hands, or have a necklace round your neck. Now, the knowledge that all these are made of gold is jnana. Visualising these as ornaments and noting their names and shapes, their diversity, is an illusion, a delusion. Enjoying gulabjamun, basundi, jangri, laddu and so on as sweetmeats is ajnana; considering them all as sugar is jnana. Remember, cattle feed on grass and you eat rice.
Humanness consists in not permitting re-entry to evil, once you know it to be evil. The fundamental recognition that hunger and thirst are common to all mankind is Divine. Thus jnana, as it is Divine, integrates all things. Conversely, by whatever name it is called, illusion, delusion, avidya , bhranti, bhrama, maya, ajnana is the force behind shattering and breaking into pieces, the force of disintegration.
The man who possesses jnana behaves in private as he does in public. He has no use for stunt, exhibition, or hypocrisy.
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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