Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 27

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


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.

Twenty Seven Pages Of Satyopanishad:
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Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 26

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 26
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Radha was an ardent, intimate and ideal devotee of Krishna. She represents ananyabhakti, infinite devotion, matchless and unconditional, and as we hear you speak on Radha bhakti we get lost in the ecstasy of devotion. Would you please tell us more about Radha’s bhakti?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Textual knowledge can’t confer devotion. You can’t get it from any Guru. No friend can make a gift of devotion. It should be born in one’s own Heart. It can’t be stuffed into your heart. The devotion of the Gopis was pure and selfless. It was steady, unshakeable and unwavering. Radha was the most prominent among them. She felt herself one with Krishna, tadatmya, total identification. Radha had only Krishna trsna, thirst or desire for God, and not lokatrsna, worldly desire.

One day Krishna went to a nearby place in his vehicle along with Rukmini. All the inhabitants of the place gathered there and gave them a tumultuous welcome exceedingly jubilant. Rukmini noticed Krishna gazing intently at a person to her side. That person too was casting looks on Krishna. Krishna slowly and softly said, “Rukmini! Do you know Radha? She is an ardent devotee of mine.” Hearing this, Rukmini got down from the vehicle and rushed close to Radha and after exchanging pleasantries, invited her to spend some time with her in the palace in Dwaraka. Accordingly, on the following day, Radha went to Dwaraka. Rukmini received Radha at the main entrance and escorted her into the palace. Radha stayed with Rukmini in the palace for some time talking about Krishna and singing the glories of Krishna. They began sharing the joys of their experiences with Lord Krishna. Rukmini served hot milk to Radha so that she could be with her for some more time and talk a little longer about Krishna, as she would sip the milk slowly. But, Radha gulped the whop cup of hot milk at once. All the same, the conversation went on for some time and then Radha left the palace for her village.

Krishna returned in the evening, very much tired. He said to Rukmini “Rukmini! Look ! I am very tired and exhausted; I have a burning sensation in my feet, it is unbearable”. Rukmini noticed some blisters on His feet and wondered how and why such a thing happened to Him. Krishna then said, “Rukmini! You served very hot milk to Radha this afternoon when she came to visit you in response to your invitation, didn’t you? Radha drank the whole lot at one gulp. As my feet are located in her heart, the hot milk spilt on my feet and so you now find blisters there where I feel the burning sensation”. This was the level of Radha’s devotion.

One day to test Radha’s devotion, a Gopi gave her a pot with holes to fetch water from the river Yamuna. Radha didn’t notice that. She was constantly repeating the sacred name of Krishna as she was dipping the pot in the river. With her every utterance of Krishna’s precious name one hole after another got cemented. The pot never leaked and Radha brought home a pot full of water. That was the height of her devotion!

In the very name Radha: ‘R’ signifies ‘Radha ‘, ‘A’ is Adhar or foundation, ‘D’ signifies Dhara or continuous, uninterrupted flow and the next ‘A’ means Aradhana or worship. Her devotion was unflinching like a dhara, continuous flow like oil.

As Radha repeated the name of Krishna, Krishna also thought of Radha repeatedly. This is the link and the intimacy between a devotee and his or her personal God or Deva.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We have now understood from your divine message that the Pandavas could face problems and withstand troubles and tensions because of the infinite grace of Lord Krishna. It is most gratifying to note God’s concern and love for His devotees. Kindly give us a notable instance.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Yes, Yes, and Yes. This is the truth of truths. It is not wholly correct to say that God loves. No.

God is Love,
Love is God,
Live in Love.

How? You may at the most love one or two. But, if you become love, if you are love itself, it becomes infinite and you love all. So, don’t become a lover but be love itself. You can realise God only through love, as He is the embodiment of love. You can see the moon only through moonlight. Similarly, through love, you experience God who is love and thus enjoy bliss.

The Pandavas could face all difficulties because of the blessings of Lord Krishna. It was their unconditional love for and surrender to Krishna that made them accept every dangerous situation or every challenging moment as His will and blessing. Krishna was ready to do anything to save them from all kinds of disastrous situations.

The Pandava brothers along with Draupadi and Kunti were in exile. One evening, Dharmaja and Draupadi were taking a stroll in the forest and saw a big fruit lying on the ground. They thought that its size was so big that it could be divided among all of them for their dinner. Draupadi went close to that big fruit and tried to pick it up, but in vain. Then Dharmaja assisted her in lifting the fruit, but met with the same result. Both of them were exhausted. In the meantime, finding that Dharmaja and Draupadi had not yet returned, Bhima and Arjuna, one after the other, went in search of them and located them. They too extended their helping hand in lifting the fruit and failed. Finally, after some time, Nakula and Sahadeva joined them and all of them together could not move the fruit. Then, they noticed something moving just under their feet. It was all black hair spread wide on the ground like a carpet. They lifted their heads, looked around and noticed that these long hair were those of a sage seated in penance at a distance. The sage was none other than Romarshi. (‘Roma’ means hair, and ‘Rishi’ means sage).

The sage was just about to open his eyes. He was doing penance for a long time for this fruit which would make him free from thirst and appetite: The Pandavas happened to be there near the fruit and were trying to take it home. They felt guilty and were afraid that the sage might curse them. Draupadi immediately prayed to Krishna wholeheartedly seeking His divine intervention to save them

Krishna appeared in front of her, enquired about the problem, and said, “Look Draupadi! It is true that I come to the rescue of my devotees, but am also a rshimanasasancari, dweller in the hearts of devotees. What you have done is wrong. Romarshi did great penance for this fruit which you wanted to take away. In a fit of wrath, if the Rishi curses you, how can I help you?” Then Draupadi fell at Krishna’s feet and said, “Oh Lord! We are left with none. But for you, we wouldn’t have survived like this. We admit our mistake. Please pardon us and save us from the danger of the sage’s curse.” Then Krishna said, “Alright! But, note one thing. Act strictly according to my instructions. Now, I will go and be with Romarshi and begin conversing with him. You come there exactly ten minutes later.”

Krishna went to Romarshi, who received Him with all devotion and sincerity saying, “O Lord! It is we who should come to you. All our penance and austerities are meant only to reach you. How shall I estimate my good fortune now? The Lord himself has come to see me!” Krishna started talking to him and spent ten minutes, when the Pandavas arrived there. Then Krishna prostrated in front of every one of them including Draupadi : Watching this, Romarshi concluded that these Pandavas before whom even Krishna prostrated must be Rishis of the noblest and highest order. Then Romarshi too prostrated and did namaskar to the Pandavas as Krishna did. Thus, his anger was pacified. He cooled down. He couldn’t curse those whom he had reverentially greeted.

This anecdote speaks volumes of the unfathomable love of God for His devotees and of the extent to which He would go in order to protect them. But, it is needless to say that the devotee should also be worthy of his compassion.

The Mahabharata War was going on. Bhishma took an oath that he would kill the Pandavas the next day. Draupadi was grief stricken on coming to know of this oath of Bhishma. She prayed to Lord Krishna in anguish and the Lord took pity on her. Out of compassion, He visited her that night itself. It was almost late in the night. On the battlefield, in a tent lay the aged Bhishma, greatly disturbed. He was restless and couldn’t sleep. He was feeling repentant over his vow because the Pandavas were on the side of justice and righteousness. He began pacing up and down outside the tent, engrossed in deep thoughts of regret.

Krishna walked towards the tent where Bhishma was staying. He signalled to Draupadi to fall at the feet of Bhishma. She exactly did so. Noticing that it was a woman who touched his feet, Bhishma blessed her with the words, ‘dirghasumangali bhava – May you have a long, happy married life.’ As he bent down to see who had touched his feet, he found Draupadi there. He was taken aback. A big question arose in his mind. How could he kill the Pandavas having just now blessed Draupadi with a long happy married life?

Bhishma saw Krishna standing there on one side, and said, “Lord! This is your master plan. Things happen according to your divine will. You can do and undo things. We are only instruments in Thy Hands. Lord! What is the bundle you are carrying? You have wrapped something in cloth and are carrying it. May I know, my God, what it is you are carrying?” Krishna said, “Bhishma! This is a late hour of the night. You are an aged warrior. You must have been very tired and trying to rest. I didn’t want your sleep to be disturbed by the sound of the footwear of Draupadi. Therefore, I wrapped her sandals in a piece of cloth and carried them and that is what you have seen.”

This is what bhaktaraksana, safeguarding and protecting devotees is. God will go to any extent to fulfil His promise. There is no doubt about it.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! The incarnation of Krishna is called the perfect incarnation. Then, how is the incarnation of Rama to be viewed? What is the difference between the Lord’s two incarnations? In offering them worship, is there a difference of rank or status? Kindly oblige us with a clarification.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Rama referred to Himself as Dasarathatmaja, son of Dasaratha, and declared Himself to be a human being. The very purpose of the Lord’s descent as Rama was to present the Ideal Man, and to demonstrate the sacredness of humanity. Even so, there were not lacking many who knew the divinity of Rama. All the great sages understood this great drama being enacted then. Vasishtha confided to Dasaratha: “O King! I have not come to your court merely to be your priest. The Lord is soon to take birth in your family. I have joined the court to enjoy to my heart’s content. His pranks, His amusements, and His sweet speech.” As for Visvamitra, he taught Rama and Lakshmana the powerful charms of bala and atibala, gave them an inexhaustible quiver, and as a benefactor of humanity initiated them into the Gayatri mantra. He knew full well the nature of the incarnation of Rama. Other great sages like Agastya, Bharadvaja, Matanga, and Sarabhanga were fully aware of Rama’s divine identity. It was Sarabhanga who directed Rama and Lakshmana to Sugriva then residing in Kishkindha, adding that he would help them in the search for Sita. Accordingly, Rama and Lakshmana proceeded to Kishkindha. Sugriva and his retinue noticed them from a distance. Sugriva who had earlier run away unable to bear Vali’s blows suspected that Vali might have sent someone to attack him again, and was terrified. He sent for Hanuman and ordered him to discover the truth. Following Sugriva’s command, Hanuman approached Rama and Lakshmana in the guise of an old Brahmin. With due respect and decorum and apt choice of words; Hanuman, indicated his true nature and background. In return, he came to know how and why Rama and Lakshmana arrived in Kishkindha. You may ask me why Hanuman had disguised himself as a Brahmin. If he appeared, he thought, as the monkey he was, they might not heed his words. However, he had given them the facts, hadn’t he? There is no hidden evil design in this. Rama often referred to himself saying. again and again, “I am a man”, “I am the son of Dasaratha”, and so on, pointing out thereby the new ideal for man.

But with Krishna, it is altogether a different story. Saying, mamanusmara yudhya ca, Thinking of me, fight; manmana bhava madbhakto madyaji mam namaskuru, Keeping me in your mind, become my devotee, offer sacrifices to me, bow down to me; yogaksemam vahamyaham, I look after their welfare; Krishna unmistakably affirmed in the Gita His divinity in a variety of contexts. These are the specific differences between the two incarnations. Men should conduct themselves in the path of Rama and lead their lives as Krishna had instructed. All names belong to the Lord as do all forms. There is no place or thing in this universe that is not divine. Therefore, you may worship in any way you wish, when you do so wholeheartedly, with a broad outlook and wide sympathy. Whatever the course of the river may be, its destination is only the sea. In this way you should understand that all forms of worship and spiritual exercise reach the one God.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! All your discourses are value-oriented and nectarine. We notice today ‘gratitude’ a noble value, totally missing. How do our ancient epics depict this value?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The Ramayana depicts this noblest value, gratitude, in an excellent manner. Samudrudu (Ocean God) owes his existence to Sagara, a King of the Surya dynasty. Rama was also of the same dynasty. So, Samudrudu was very eager to express his sense of gratitude to Rama by participating in the mission of rescuing Sita. The opportunity to serve Rama came his way when Hanuman was proceeding to Lanka in search of Sita across the sky and over the mighty ocean.

Samudrudu approached Mainaka and said, “Look, Mainaka! You are a mountain hiding yourself in the sea. I am sure you haven’t forgotten the old days when all the mountains had wings and could fly anywhere and everywhere till Indra had clipped their wings in response to the prayerful calls of people for help. Do you remember that you alone were saved from this disgrace because of the intervention of Vayudeva, windgod to help you out? Well, his son, Hanuman, is now passing this way to Lanka over the ocean where you are lying. Now is your opportune moment to express your gratitude to his father. Please pass on to him the secret of killing Lankini. Lankini is the female demon guarding the entrance of Lanka. The secret is that if anybody slaps her on the cheek, she will have an instantaneous death. She knows that she will die in this way when a monkey finds its entry into Lanka which will soon be followed by the fall of Lanka and the death of Ravana.”

Mainaka accordingly took the opportunity and rose from the sea and prayed to Hanuman, “Oh! Lord! Your father Vayudeva helped me, or else I would have lost my wings. Hanuman! Please take rest here. Have some fruits and then proceed. Let me also tell you how to kill Lankini, the demon guarding the gate of Lanka. Slap her on the cheek. Only then according to a curse, she will die”. Hanuman said, “Mainaka! I won’t eat, drink, or take rest even for a moment until the task assigned to me by Rama is completed. However, I appreciate your gesture of gratitude.” Thus, both Mainaka and Samudrudu expressed their gratitude. They are the ideals for everyone to emulate.

There is also another episode in the Ramayana. Vali abducted Sugriva’s wife, Ruma. Rama killed Vali and restored to Sugriva his wife and kingdom. In order to express his gratitude to Rama for all this, Sugriva offered to provide an army of vanaras, monkeys, to Rama on his march to kill Ravana and other raksasas and rescue Sita. But as ill luck would have it, he was delayed in his mission. Rama sent Lakshmana to remind Sugriva of his promise.

Full of fury Lakshmana went to Sugriva. Watching the seriousness of the situation, Sugriva sent Tara to speak to Lakshmana. She said, “This is the rainy season, and, it is coming to a close very soon. By the time you go back, you will find three crores of monkeys ready to assist you to fight the rakshasas in Lanka. My husband, Sugriva, has not forgotten the promise given to Rama. He is not ungrateful to Him. Swami Lakshmana! Don’t you know how a couple feel sad because of separation from each other! You have been seeing your brother Rama feeling sad due to separation from his consort Sita, Our position was also like that till recently. We felt miserable because of separation from each other. Only now, by the grace of Rama we are spending our time together happily. This does not mean that we have forgotten the promise made to Him. Sugriva is not of that type.” These words of Tara pacified the anger of Lakshmana.

Sugriva stands for gratitude. It is the worst of sins to forget the good done to you. A dog is a good example of gratitude. If you give a morsel of food to a dog, it will never forget you. Should you not be grateful to Swami, who is taking care of you, as we say like the eye your eyelid every moment of your life? Swami never wants or expects anything from you. These values I have spoken of are for your own good.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Pardon us for misunderstanding the scriptures. We feel that certain statements are contradictory to each other, and we are at a loss to know what is to be accepted and what is to be rejected. One scripture says ‘brahma satyam jaganmithya’, ‘God is truth while the world is illusion’. You said, “There is no maya.” How are we to understand the scriptural statement in the light of what you have told us about maya? Moreover, the same scripture says; ‘sarvarn visnumayam jagat,’ ‘The whole Universe is Divine.’ Then, what and where is delusion or maya! Of the two statements, contradictory to each other, which one is true?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Both the statements are equally true though they seem opposed to each other. The whole mistake lies in your understanding or rather your misunderstanding. They apply to your own mental state; your experience determines your own level of understanding the truth.

Here is an example for you. Suppose I ask you “When did you come?” your reply would be, ‘Just now. Swami!’ Isn’t it? Analyse your answer. When you said, “I have come just now”, what is it that has come here? Your “I”: does it refers to yourself or to your body? You have identified yourself with your body. You think, you are the body. So, the one that has come now is your body (you are the body feeling). Later, you start complaining, “My leg is paining”, “My head reels” and “My hand shakes”. Examine these statements clearly. You say “my leg”, “my hand”, “my head” and so on. Now, put a question to yourself, “who is this my?” When you say, “This is my hand”, it means you are different from your hand. You are different from the limbs, senses, etc. You are the owner or master and all the rest are instruments. In these statements, you indirectly or unconsciously convey that you are not the body. Earlier, when you said, “I have come now” you meant the body and now when you say “my leg”, “my head”, you mean you are different from your body.

Similarly in sadhana when you view from body identification from the dualistic standpoint, the first statement, brahma satyam jaganmithya , is true (body identification – I have come now). But, when you speak from the atmic view, spirit, or nondualistic approach, your second statement that you are different from your body (my leg, my hand, my head, etc.) is true.

So, the truth conveyed in ‘sarvam visnumayam jagat’ holds good. You have to understand the statement in this sense. You should never consider the statements of our scriptures as contradictory to each other. They are stated to meet the needs of people of different mental levels.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! After listening to your divine discourses and sweet conversations, we realise that what we heard till now from other sources were distorted versions, misrepresentations, and wrong interpretations of facts concerning Lord Sri Krishna. You reveal so many inner secrets and subtleties. We pray to you to tell us some more details about our Lord Krishna.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The divine miracles of Krishna are most wonderful, mysterious and inscrutable. Each of them has a meaning and a message, conveys an ideal to uphold, and is full of nondual and absolute bliss.

You know how His foster mother, Yasoda, fondled and caressed Krishna. All the womenfolk from the neighbourhood complained of His stealthily snatching away butter from their homes. Yasoda said to Him, “Oh Krishna! Why do you eat secretly from other people’s homes? See! How they are complaining? Don’t you like the butter in our home? Why don’t you eat our own homemade butter? How is it that you find the butter of other houses tastier than ours?” Krishna said, “Mother! I never went anywhere. I never ate any butter from anybody’s house. You look into my mouth and smell it, if I have eaten any.” While he was talking like a tiny tot in all innocence, Mother Yasoda was lost in a state of bliss with beatific smiles beaming on her face. One day she couldn’t control her anger on listening to the complaints against him. So, she decided tie him up to a pole. But, is it ever possible for you or anybody else to bind God? She was frantically searching for Krishna all in vain. She noticed the footprints of Krishna with curds and butter on them. Then she decided to follow the footprints and ultimately caught hold of Him. Here is an important point for all of you to carefully note. Yasoda could trace Krishna by following His footprints. Similarly, you can be close to God if only, you follow the path of His divine command. So, I keep telling my students, “My life is My message.” Repeatedly I also tell them, “Follow the master, your God. You can reach God through love as He is love.” This was the message of Krishna.

One day in an attempt to catch Krishna, Yasoda was holding butter in one hand and a stick in the other, hiding it behind her back so that Krishna would come near her drawn by the butter giving her a chance to beat him with the stick. Similarly, I have in one hand the butter of education offered in our institutions and a stick of vigorous training in the other: As they come here for education, I train them to become the ideal youth of our society. This is my Master plan.

One day Krishna noticed a woman drawing water from a well. She filled up two pots and was trying to carry them on her head, one on top of the other: She was finding it difficult to balance one pot above the other all by herself. She said to Krishna, “Krishna! Will you please help me? I’ll lift one pot myself and place it on my head and you please put the other one on top of it. Then it will be easy for me to carry the waterpots and go home from here.” Krishna said, “No, I won’t do it”. The woman, however, managed with great difficulty to help herself and returned home. She saw Krishna standing there willing to help her. She said, “What, Krishna! When I asked you a few minutes ago to help me in putting these pots on my head to bring them home, you did not oblige me. Now, without my asking you for help, you are ready to help me. Well, I don’t understand you.” Then Krishna replied, “Look! I don’t put loads of burden on anybody at anytime. I will relieve you of the heavy weight of the load you are bearing now and make you feel light. Do you understand me?” From this illustration you can understand the secret of divinity that helps you to get relief from your burdens. That’s why I say, “Come here with head-loads of problems, difficulties and anxieties. Unload them here at My feet. Be light and go back with ananda.”

This is how every episode in the Bhagavata conveys a message. Though Sage Vyasa composed as many as eighteen puranas and the celebrated epic Mahabharata, besides compiling all the Vedas, he had no peace of mind until he wrote the Bhagavata as advised by Sage Narada. Bhagavata teaches man the nine paths of devotion. We should read and listen to the various stories narrated in this immortal book.

In fact, the very word ‘Bhagavatamu’ has an inner meaning; ‘Bh’, denotes ‘Bhakti’, ‘Ga’ denotes ‘Jnana’, or wisdom, ‘Va’ denotes ‘vairagya’ or renunciation, ‘ta’ denotes’ ‘tattva’ or Divine principle, ‘Mu’ denotes ‘Mukti’ or liberation.

Bhagavata is not merely Bhagavata Katha, story of God. It means ‘bagavatam’ (Telugu) meaning, ‘We shall become good’. You should know its inner meaning; conduct yourselves accordingly, and work for your liberation.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Bhagavata, besides extolling God and His divinity, also deals with the greatness and nobility of His devotees. Watching devotees shedding tears in ecstasy on listening to your discourses on Bhagavata has been our experience. Would you kindly tell us, Bhagawan, the essence and the main principles embodied in this text to be followed by both youngsters and us adults, for our benefit?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There is always an intimate relationship between God and His devotees. God makes His devotees realise and experience His omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence through His divine miracles. The Divine and the Devotee are interdependent and one is meaningless without the other. Therefore, Bhagavata, while praising the glory of God, also speaks of the devotion, the spirit of surrender, the nature of the spiritual path and the sense of detachment of the devotees also.

Bhagavata proposes the doctrine of devotion with which action must be performed, thereby leading to wisdom. No intermediary can stand between God and the devotee. They are directly connected with each other. It is only your devotion that makes God confer grace on you. It can also be said that the culture of Bharat has these three main components, bhakta, bhagawan and bagavatam. God is the only refuge of a devotee. He is his wealth, life and everything.

The young boy Dhruva wanted to sit in the lap of his father. But his stepmother did not allow him to do so. He returned home heavy hearted and after informing his mother, decided to go to a forest and do intense penance. In the thick forest, unmindful of the heat, cold and rain, he undertook penance. God was pleased with him and manifested Himself before him saying that He would grant any boon he wanted. Dhruva then said, “I want you!” God responded thus: “Dhruva! You wanted one thing for which you did all this penance and now you are asking for another thing. Initially you wanted the boon to be granted to you so that it would entitle you to sit in the lap of your father. But, now you say a different thing, that you want Me. Have you not heard that your thought, word and deed should be one and the same manasyekam, vacasyekam , karman yekam mahatmanam. A noble man should see that there is harmony in thought, word and deed. First, get your desire fulfilled. Rule your kingdom for some period of time and discharge your duties in the years to come. Finally, I bless you such that everybody will remember you after you leave the earthly scene. You will remain the only glittering star eternally fixed in its own home in the sky.” This is what is meant by “The proper study of mankind is man”.

Prahlada, in spite of being thrown down from a mountaintop into a raging fire, or made to drink deadly poison, or trampled under the feet of a huge elephant, or drowned in a turbulent ocean, did not even for a short while stop chanting God’s name. He went on singing His glory unceasingly. He did not pay heed to the teachings of his gurus, Chanda and Amarka. He even went a step further when he said to his father, “You could conquer the whole world. You could control the movement of stars and planets, the sun and the moon and all others. You could control all the five elements, but you couldn’t conquer your inner foes!” When his father, Hiranyakasipu asked him where God was, he said, “You don’t doubt his presence at any point of time anywhere in the universe. God is everywhere!” Hiranyakasipu asked, “Prahlada! Is your God present in this pillar?” Prahlada replied, “Yes.” When Hiranyakasipu broke the pillar, as you all know, from there sprang up the Lord in the avatar of Narasimha.

Here you should know the inner meaning of this momentous event. A pillar is an upadhi, a vesture or body. ‘Breaking down the pillar’ means giving up the body attachment. So long as you have the body attachment, you will be full of ego, pride, possessiveness, jealousy, etc., which will blind you to the omnipresent Divinity. Prahlada’s unconditional love of and surrender to God was total.

Gajendra, the king of elephants, was caught by a crocodile, and couldn’t come out of the river. Gajendra struggled and exerted all his strength to come out of the jaws of the crocodile, but without any success. He came ultimately to a stage when he was left with no strength and energy of his own to continue the struggle. He cried out in a fervently prayerful voice to Govinda, his saviour, “Oh God! You are my only refuge, my only succour. I don’t know anyone and you alone can save me from this inextricable predicament. Who else can come at this hour to my rescue? Oh God! Save me, save me, save me!” It was then that he was saved from the jaws of the crocodile.

You should know the inner meaning of this whole episode. The river is your life. The crocodile represents your desires and sense indulgence. Gajendra, is the jiva, individual. He initially caught hold of a tree tightly with his trunk and prayed. God did not respond. It was only when he loosened the grip and lifted the trunk upward and prayed to God whole heartedly for his rescue that God saved him. You should take this episode as another instance of unconditional devotion or surrender. Sri Mahavishnu, the Lord sending his wheel called Sudarsana killed the crocodile and saved Gajendra. ‘Su’ means ‘Good’ and ‘darsana’ means ‘looks of grace’ (compassion). So, it is His grace that saves you and not your strength, power, wealth, etc. God reacts only when you surrender to Him absolutely.

Similar was the situation of Draupadi when she was humiliated and sought to be disrobed in the open court. She held her sari tightly with one hand and prayed to God, trying to save and protect her modesty. God did not react. It was only when she joined both her hands in namaskara later that Krishna saved her.

It means that the ten fingers of both her hands were brought together when she was praying to Krishna. The jnanendriyas, five senses of perception and the karmendriyas, five senses of action represented by the five fingers of each hand have to be surrendered to God by joining both the hands while we pray to God. God never favours partnership. He never accepts part-time devotion. A devotee should think of God and sing His glory everywhere all along and not merely when he is in distress and difficulties. A child will never leave its mother alone even if she beats it. It hugs its mother all the more strongly when it is beaten. Similarly, there is every need for you to cling to God and grow ever more in faith when you face difficulties. Man’s adversity is God’s proximity. Man’s calamity is God’s opportunity. You are not at all a devotee if you run away from God or lose faith in Him because of the difficulties you encounter in life. Like this, the entire Bhagavata is full of such episodes elucidating the sincerity, steadfastness, unflinching faith, total surrender and deep devotion of certain devotees of outstanding stature while at the same time glorifying and extolling the grandeur, love and compassion of God.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Sage Vyasa composed both the Bhagavata and the Brahma Sutras. Which is superior to the other?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Look! I will give an example from your own college students. You are studying B.Sc. here. You opted for the Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry group. Of these three, which one is superior to the other two? To get the degree you must necessarily study all the three subjects, should you not? Similarly, you should study the Bhagavata for bhakti (devotion) and Brahma Sutras for jnana, wisdom. Both jnana and bhakti are equally important.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! There are two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata besides the eighteen puranas. The puranas deal with various appellations and attributes of God in story form, which constitute a major part of Indian mythology. They convey to the entire humanity a universal message on all aspects of life. Kindly tell us the main principles embodied there in for us to practice in our daily life.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Sage Vyasa who composed all the eighteen puranas conveyed their essence in two sentences. ‘Paropakarah punyaya’ and ‘Papaya parapidanam.’ It is also said, ‘Paropakarardham idam sariram,’ the body is not given just to eat, sleep, drink and die. The body is not given to us just to be selfish. God has blessed you with a body to serve others. After all, what is there to be so attached to and possessive about this body? It is nothing but horribly foul and dirty faecal matter, urine and blood. It is purely temporary and with this body do you want to get everlasting results? How is it possible? How can you experience eternal bliss with the body?

Youth passes off like melting ice, clouds and mist. So, the body is like a water bubble. It is designed and gifted to render service to the poor and needy and definitely not merely for food and drink, because birds and beasts, flies and insects also secure food and drink. What is so extraordinary about you? It is enough if you don’t harm anyone else. It is the greatest help you can do. Vyasa said, serving others is punyam, or merit. It means you shouldn’t hurt anyone by thought, word and deed. Then what is papam, sin? Harming others in anyway is sin.

There is another meaning to this Paropakarah punyaya (the ordinary interpretation being service to others). Param means God. Upa means near and karah means joining. Paropakarah means coming close to God. Therefore, the greatest help you can do is to take others close to God and yourself coming close to God. This is possible through good deeds and good thoughts. Then the second statement papayapare padanam (in the ordinary sense it means that harming others is sin) also has another meaning. Param = God, Pida = One God viewed as many. The sum and substance of the statement is that it is a sin to think of one God as many. It amounts to thinking of plurality or multiplicity in the divinity.

There is only one atma spirit/soul in everyone. But if you fragment it into pieces and experience diversity, it is a sin. I very often tell my students that the essence of all the eighteen epics is “Parpakarah punyaya,” Hurt Never Help ever ‘papayapare padanam’. These two are enough for practice in your daily life, and achieving liberation.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How should we view the Epics and puranas in our spiritual path and spiritual life?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Our epics and puranas teach us many aspects of life. They speak of human values, refer to the divinity within you, and teach you the way to lead an ideal life, show you the purpose and goal of life and explain in clear terms through many anecdotes the culture of Bharat. They also clearly indicate the fall of man if he doesn’t follow dharma or the basic human values. They emphasise the need to follow and uphold dharma for both the individual good and the social. They explain vividly your true nature, which is atma itself. But today, we have people who wrongly interpret them, give distorted versions and not their real inner significance. So, none of you is taking advantage of the teachings of our epics and puranas.

In fact the epics are the records of our history and culture. They are the lights of wisdom and spiritual awakening. They connect the jiva, individual with the deva, divine. Each text is a bridge for travelling from the shore of this world to the other shore of God. Each text shows how God incarnated in human form and demonstrated to the entire mankind how life could be led in an ideal way, Himself being the director and playing the roles perfectly.

For example, in Maharshi Valmiki’s epic, the Ramayana, Lord Rama knew full well that he was God. Sages like Vasishtha, and Bharadvaja knew that Lord Rama was the incarnation of God Vishnu. But he behaved all through the Ramayana like a human being. He cried for Sita because he could not bear separation from her. The Ramayana teaches how man should behave as a son; a brother, a husband and a ruler. Its teachings also include certain norms regarding friendship and teacher-student relationship. Truth, dharma, obeying father’s command and the principle of monogamy are the lessons of the Ramayana. This is the very objective of the Ramayana and the secret behind God’s incarnation as Rama. The text teaches some of the fundamental and timeless human values to the entire race of mankind. The Ramayana shows how a person like Ravana with all his excellence in scholarship and penance, with his absolute command over his people and the splendour of his wealth ruined himself as he fell a prey to kama. This is the lesson of his life.

Then the Bhagavata show’s distinctly how anger ruins atma. A person loses his self-respect and wealth and spoils all his tasks on hand because of his hot temper. He becomes physically weak and mentally agitated due to anger. Characters like Kamsa, Sisupala, Jarasandha, and Dantavaktra lost their value, name and life due to anger. They developed hatred towards God and being overpowered by their own ego, they lost their mental balance and consequently faced miserable death.

The other epic composed by Vyasa, is the Mahabharata. The Kauravas were hundred in number. They had physical prowess, large manpower, kingdom and whole divisions of army and intelligence. But what happened to them at the end? Not even one of the hundred survived the battle of Kurukshetra. They left behind their bereaved and bewailing parents. There was none left to perform their funeral rites. What a pitiable state of things it is! Why? At the root, it was greed that was responsible for such a great misfortune. The Kauravas refused to give even half the kingdom that by right belonged to the Pandavas. Later on, they refused to give even five villages to the five brothers. This was the height of their greed. The Kauravas made repeated attempt to kill the Pandavas. That was the intensity of their greed.

While the Ramayana teaches how dangerous kama, desire and anger are, the Mahabharata shows how total destruction is the result of greed. One may have umpteen virtues and merits, yet just one evil like desire or anger or greed is enough to bring about one’s fall as has been narrated in our epics. You have to draw lessons out of the episodes narrated in the epics and puranas or the itihasas of our land.

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.

Twenty Seven Pages Of Satyopanishad:
01020304050607080910111213141516171819202122232425 – 26 – 27

Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 25

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 25
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We hear that the Ramayana shows us ideal figures even among enemies. Rivals never gave up certain values. Would you please tell us how enemies reacted towards each other in an ideal way?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The Ramayana is another name for idealism. It shows the ideal way in which you are expected to live and to realise the divinity within you. The Ramayana clearly explains the proper relationship that should exist between one individual and another individual, between an individual and his native land, and finally, between one country and the entire world. Enmity might crop up at any time for any reason. But, even as rivals you should maintain certain values.

On one occasion, some of the Rakshasas advised Ravana in this fashion: “Oh King! We are Rakshasas, kamarupa, capable of assuming any form of our choice. Why don’t you go to Sita in the form of Rama and be accepted by her?” Ravana replied, “What hopeless creatures you are! You are utter fools. In the form of Rama, how can you be as lustful as to run after a woman who is someone else’s wife? Can kama exist where Rama is? Rama has one wife, uses only one arrow to kill the enemy and keeps to the word given (one wife, one arrow, one word, truth). Don’t you know these sacred and noble qualities of Rama?” He praised the great, matchless and noble character of Rama who was his rival. Now, you also notice the generous and noble gesture of Rama too. When Ravana was on his deathbed, Rama sent his own brother, Lakshmana, to Ravana to learn from him rajadharma or righteous laws governing the administration and the people. Ravana was a great devotee of Siva with rich administrative experience.

Vibhishana, the only surviving younger brother of Ravana, was not prepared to perform the funeral rites after the latter’s death. Then, Rama ordered him to perform the last rites and even went a step further. He said that He Himself was ready to undertake the last rites for Ravana if Vibhishana persisted in refusing to do so.

You will also notice in the Ramayana how Vali died, shot by an arrow of Rama. Before dying, Vali placed all his doubts before Rama, got them clarified and finally died at the hands of Rama saying that it was his great fortune and merit to have been killed by Rama. Vali, though an enemy, praised the noble qualities of Rama. These are some of the ideals upheld by opponents in the great epic, the Ramayana.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Speaking of the Ramayana, is there a mention of things resolved by God’s grace and God’s grace alone? How did the characters manifest this in the course of the narrative?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Roughly, the Ramayana speaks of three things: papa, sapa, and tapa, sin, curse, and suffering. Of these, two can be set right only though God’s grace. What are those two? Sin and curse. In no other way can these be expiated. Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, knew that Sita was kept a prisoner in the Asoka garden and also that Ravana made her quake with fear. But, she could not set her free. In spite of realising Rama’s divinity, Mandodari could offer no solace or happiness to Sita. This was only because she regarded Sita as an ordinary woman. This is sinful. Ahalya presents an instance of the second kind. Transgressing discipline, she became a victim of Gautama’s curse: Release from both sin and curse can be had only through the grace of God. The third is misery or agony. Sabari tried to meet Rama. She spent long years thinking of Rama. Her desire to see Rama directly with her own eyes subjected her to extreme anguish. Such anguish is, indeed, penance. In this way, the Ramayana speaks of sin, curse, and suffering. One should grasp subtle secrets like these.

The demon Subahu attempted to harm Rama and Lakshmana with the help of fourteen. Which are these fourteen? These include the five organs of action, the five organs of perception, the mind, the intellect, the inner consciousness, and egoism. In that hour, Rama ordered Sita and Lakshmana to remain inside the cave. What is meant by the cave? The impregnable human heart. Thus are to be appreciated the subtleties of dharma.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Were the Ramayana and the Adhyatmaramayana written with different purposes? Many are the versions of the Ramayana. How are devotees to receive them? They are given to the repeated recital of the part called “Sundarakanda” Bhagawan, why is this so? By your grace, their authenticity is not in doubt. I wish to learn from your lips.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The Ramayana came into existence to enable man to follow the dharmas set forth as ideals, and to lead pure lives. The Adhyatmaramayana is intended to open up to mankind the experience of the divine Atma within man. In other words, Ramayana is for man, Adhyatmaramayana for the mind. Since then, a series of Ramayanas have been composed by devotees and named after them. These include Tulasiramayana, Mollaramayana, and Kambaramayana. The theme of all these is Rama Himself! ‘Purana’ is but the story of the Lord, the perfect Man, and traces his career.

As for Sundarakanda, it is full of ‘Sundara, ‘ beautiful, descriptions. Very charming are the sketches of the splendour of Lanka. Hanuman’s leaping across the ocean, the Asoka pleasure garden, and the grief of Mother Sita. As the soka, grief, of Sita came to an end in the Asoka, ‘no grief,’ garden, devotees consider the recital of Sundarakanda helpful in alleviating suffering and dispelling misery.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Today’s atmosphere is, indeed, nightmarish. There seems to be no end to injustice, disorder, unrighteousness, and falsehood. Forgive me, Swami, if my question is not proper. Kindly clarify my doubt. How much justice did prevail in the Age of the Mahabharata? Besides serving poisoned food to the Pandavas, setting fire to the house of lac, and attempting to murder them in other ways, the Kauravas denied them their rightful share of the kingdom, not even five villages, not so much space as the point of a needle. How much of the moral code or the law of the time had the Kauravas followed? How little peace was ever there in that yuga?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The distinctive dharma of the Dvaparayuga is not fully found in that yuga. The beginnings of Kali, its mode and behavioural style, are already noticeable. For the wicked conduct of the Kauravas; Sakuni is largely responsible. Heeding his advice and egged on by him, they behaved in the way they did. Undoubtedly, launching themselves on unrighteous paths is the fault of the Kauravas. Remember, all this took place in the kingdom of Dhritarashtra, the blind king. Blindness is but the failure to recognise Satya, Dharma, Santi, and Prema. Walking along the main streets one day, Dharmaraja saw a farmer transporting bags of paddy in carts. He asked the farmer, “Sir! Why are you carrying paddy in bags? You can as well leave it in the fields, can’t you?” The farmer replied, “O King! A few days ago, our paddy was stolen from the fields. That is why we are pouring it into bags and moving it into our homes.” Dharmaraja noticed there the signs of the approaching Kali yuga. On another occasion, he noticed a woman walking brazenly in the main street and conversing with a man uninhibitedly, without in the least feeling shy. He thought, “Oh! The Kali yuga is at hand.” Another day he observed the citizens hanging iron lumps at the entrance to their homes. He asked them, “What is this?” The people replied, “O King! Now that so many thefts are taking place, there is no security for our belongings, our ornaments, and our food grains. That is why we are using these lumps called locks.” Thus, even in the Dvaparayuga, the symptoms of Kali were in evidence.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We lack adequate knowledge of many important things. We have only a partial view of divinity. Hence, we tend to ignore the reality and are prone to doubt divinity. It is our misfortune that we find fault with God too, and attribute human fallibility to him. In the Mahabharata, it appears that Krishna was very partial to the Pandavas and so he did many things unbecoming of God incarnate in order to defend them. We may cite such instances as the killing of Dronacharya, Bhishmacharya, Saindhava and a few others. We pray for your comments on these misconceptions of ours and enlighten us.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: God is faultless. He is pure and unsullied. It will be the worst of sins to attribute any kind of mistake to God. Every inch of God, if it can be put that way, is selfless and whatever He says and does is for the welfare of humanity. He gives and forgives. He doesn’t want anything from anybody in return, nor does He keep anything in this world that doesn’t belong to Him? Maybe due to the effects of Kali, you see people with narrow, selfish ideals that are responsible for physical and mental agitations, and disturbances everywhere. Man today has no trace of gratitude left in him. He has gone even to the extent of ignoring his parents. He has grown demonic in his behaviour. So, it is difficult for him to recognise God.

The Kauravas were wicked and spent their lives in injustice, untruth and unrighteousness. They were full of hatred and jealousy. Out of greed and envy, they did many cruel things like poisoning the Pandavas, setting their house on fire, making them play dice where they cheated, only to end their own lives. So, they had to be checked and controlled. You know, a diamond cuts a diamond. You can remove a thorn only with the help of another thorn. A simple example here will make this point clearer to you. When thieves run away with valuables through the back door, to catch them you also should go through the back door. You just can’t say in such a moment, “What! I am the owner of the house. I can only go out of it through the main door and not the back door.” So, the back door is the only way for you to catch the thieves. Is it not so? Similarly, to catch the Kauravas, who trod the wrong path, you had to go by the same route. Krishna did exactly the same thing in order to protect the Pandavas and bring about their ultimate victory. There was little trace of selfishness in Krishna.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Krishna made Dharmaja utter the lie “asvatthama hatah, Asvatthama is killed, adding in a low tone, “kunjarah,” the elephant. This led to the death of Dronacharya. Was it proper on the part of Krishna to make Dharmaja tell a lie like that?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: This is a foolish question. As the facts are not known to you correctly, you think like that. Here, there was no mistake on the part of Krishna and there was no mistake in Dharmaja too. It was entirely the fault of Drona that was responsible for his death. Dharmaja said loudly “asvatthama hatah,” Asvatthama died and also said softly “kunjarah,” an elephant by name Asvatthama died. Dronacharya did not listen completely to what Dharmaja had said. He heard only the first part “asvatthama hatah,” Aswatthama died. Out of his attachment to his son, Dronacharya died immediately on hearing the first part of Dharmaja’s statement. He died of the shock. His attachment was the only cause of his death. So the fault finally lies with Dronacharya, not hearing patiently and completely what Dharmaja said. How do you accept that Dronacharya, who loved Arjuna more than his own son, could be prepared to fight and kill Arjuna? Being a teacher and a Brahmana for that matter, should he fight like that? So, the mistake was Drona’s only.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! In the Mahabharata, it is a pity to notice the killing of youngsters like Abhimanyu and Ghatotkacha for no fault of their own. It is justifiable if bad people are killed or punished. But, how can we account for the death of these youngsters?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The answer is very easy and simple. A small example I give you here to make you clearly understand the answer to the question. When there are a large number of mosquitoes in your house, what do you do generally? You spray some kind of insecticide like Flit all over the house or use DDT to kill the mosquitoes, don’t you? You have to notice one point here. Due to spraying poisonous insecticide, all the mosquitoes die. After all only one or two mosquitoes must have bitten you, not all of them. But, all those mosquitoes that have not bitten you also die in your operation. Similarly, in a war some innocents also die. This is natural.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We hear that Arjuna was the only one capable of breaking open and emerging victorious from the Padmavyuha, the lotus-like military formation or manoeuvre, set up as a death trap. But, Abhimanyu knew only how to get in and not how to get out of it; a fact that resulted in his death. There are some stories heard about this episode from the Mahabharata. It appears that when Narada was describing the whole manoeuvre to Abhimanyu who was still in the mother’s womb, Krishna prevented him from teaching the unborn baby the way out of the Padmavyuha! What are your comments on this story, Swami!

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The ancient literature of Bharat has many secrets to be unravelled and grasped. So, many subtle points are not known to everybody. They show the goal and the way of life. They remind you of the duties, responsibilities, and obligations you owe to the society you live in. They point out your mistakes as well so that you may correct and rectify yourself and thus experience the divinity within. Every episode or anecdote in the epics or in the religious texts in story form has a message for you.

Arjuna had, to his credit, many titles like Savyasachi, Phalguna, Partha, Vijaya, etc., that are much higher than our modern Padmasri, Padmavibhushan and other honours. Arjuna’s surrender to Krishna was total. This was the reason for his acquiring the skill to manage to come out of the impenetrable Padmavyuha. The word ‘Arjuna’ means whiteness or purity and it was the purity of his mind and heart that gave him the needed capacities.

But things were different in respect of Abhimanyu. He was challenged to fight and proceed to the battleground at a time when his wife, Uttara was pregnant, His father Arjuna was not at home and his uncle Krishna was away. Abhimanyu had much abhimana, attachment to his wife and his father. This attachment trapped him in the Padmavyuha and as such, he couldn’t come out of it and ultimately died.

Similarly, the whole world is a Padmavyuha. Our life is a Padmavyuha. Man is caught in this Padmavyuha and his sense of attachment and possessive instincts will not release him out of it. Since he had abhimana, he bore the name Abhimanyu.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! It is said that Draupadi laughed at Duryodhana in the Mayasabha, which made him revengeful and highly furious and which ultimately led to the Kurukshetra war. Will you kindly bless us with your special interpretation?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: These are words of those who do not know the reality. Draupadi was not an ordinary person. She was a queen, known for her chastity. She was the wife of the great Pandavas. It is ridiculous to say that she laughed at Duryodhana in the Mayasabha. You are mistaken if you think so. She was not of the type to laugh at people. Those who don’t know what had actually happened think like this.

On that day after taking a head bath, Draupadi was drying her hair and was about to come out of the palace through the main door. It was at that time that Duryodhana fell down mistaking the place for open ground when there was water. Watching, this, the maidservants started laughing at the ludicrous, sight. As Draupadi was coming out just then, Duryodhana saw her and mistook that she was laughing at him. In fact, she did not laugh at all. So, it was the fault of Duryodhana to think so.

There was no flaw in Draupadi. She never raised her voice at any time. Contented with whatever she had, she was never tired of serving the Pandavas under any circumstances. She was the noblest of them all. It is your foolishness to think that she laughed at Duryodhana or at any other person.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Krishna was surrounded, by eight consorts and is stated to have been associated with 16,000 Gopis, cowherdesses. It is very disturbing and embarrassing to hear of Lord Krishna’s many wives. Kindly enlighten us on this matter.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: This is what you have learnt from movies, isn’t it? Krishna of the Bhagavata was totally different from what you know about Him. It is because of such perverted and distorted versions that the number of atheists has been on the rise day by day and devotion is declining. The eternal, nondual and divine truth is viewed from the ephemeral, worldly norm and perspective. This is the unfortunate situation of the modern times. The scriptures want you to consider the world as a divine manifestation, but to take God too in a worldly way. God is free Himself, and it is only He who liberates you from bondage to the world.

Tell me, who were the eight consorts of Krishna? Every human heart is a lotus flower with eight petals. These eight petals are the eight consorts. In the human body are the seven mystic chakras. The one at the bottom of the backbone is muladhara and the seventh on the top of the head is called sahasrara. Kundalini ascends from muladhara to sahasrara, in the state of samadhi. Now, the sahasrara chakra is compared to a thousand petalled lotus. Each of the petals has 16 shades or faces. Thus, they add up to 16,000 representing the Gopis whom Krishna is said to have been associated with.

Actually, Krishna was a young boy while he was in Brindavan. All those Gopis were elderly married women. They played with Krishna, as they would with their own children of the same age group. To those Gopis everything looked filled with Krishna. The kumkum they put on their forehead was blue. They wore blue bangles and blue saris. Every article they used was blue. Why? The reason is, Krishna was blue in complexion. In their devotion to Krishna, they excelled Narada and all the other celestial singers. The Gopis had more intense love for Krishna than for their husbands. They remained in a state of joy and ecstasy singing His glory all the time. They grew immensely restless when they had even a momentary separation from Krishna. When Krishna left for Mathura, the bodies of the Gopis appeared as though they were burning and writhing in unendurable pain, due to separation from their beloved Krishna. They blamed and accused Akrura of taking him away from them. Theirs was the bliss of atma or sprit. Your feelings are worldly, physical, and narrow. Therefore, you view the sublime from the standpoint of your own sense perception. Truly speaking, none can estimate the standard, the depth, and the level of devotion of the Gopis. Their devotion to Krishna ever remains immeasurable and unfathomable to the ordinary mortal.

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.

Twenty Seven Pages Of Satyopanishad:
010203040506070809101112131415161718192021222324 – 25 – 2627

Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 24

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 24
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Vibhishana was a rakshasa, yet he was a devotee of Rama. Kindly tell us about Vibhishana?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Vibhishana’s case is one of unique devotion to Rama. God is unconcerned with your position, property, scholarship, caste and creed. What God expects and receives from you is only pure love. With devotion, you can achieve anything in this world. Only this kind of devotion transformed: A monkey known for unsteadiness into Hanuman, worthy of worship; A bird known for flipping looks into a Garuda, vehicle of Vishnu; A bull into Nandi, the vehicle of Siva; A peacock into the vehicle of Lord Subrahmanya; and A lion into the vehicle of Goddess, Durga.

What is special here is that these animals and birds, by their sheer devotion and love of God, could give up their innate qualities and transform themselves into vehicles of Gods, and are now worshipped along with Gods and Goddesses.

Similarly, Vibhishana, though a Rakshasa himself, was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, and hence, he deserved His grace. He repeatedly advised his elder brother, king Ravana, not to abduct Mother Sita, and later on, not to wage war against Rama. He also warned Ravana and predicted dire consequences he would have to face if he persisted. Yet, Ravana didn’t pay heed to his words of devotion and wisdom and the rest is the story you all know. Ultimately, Vibhishana forsook his brother, Ravana, and sought refuge in Rama. This is an instance when a devotee leaves his own brother if he stands in the way of the onward journey to God. In my opinion, Vibhishana is greater than Bhishma. Being a man possessed of wisdom, penance, devotion, determination and expertise in warfare, Bhishma even after knowing full well that the Kauravas were doing unlawful, unrighteous and mean acts, still remained with them as chief of their army, during the Kurukshetra War. He couldn’t help the pious, righteous and noble souls, the Pandavas.

Hanuman, in his search for Mother Sita entered Lanka, stepped into the bedroom of Vibhishana, and saw him immersed in chanting the holy name of Rama. He made Vibhishana aware of his presence by making loud sounds. Vibhishana opened his eyes and saw Hanuman over there. After they had acquainted themselves with each other as devotees of Rama, Hanuman asked Vibhishana, “Oh King! You say you are a devotee of Rama. You do japa, repeat His holy name. But it is not enough. Besides, chanting His name, you should also participate in His karya, His Divine mission. Have you ever visited Sita? Have you made any attempt to set her free? In what way have you helped Rama in His mission? Don’t you know that chanting His name and contributing to His mission are complementary to each other and should go together? You have not informed Rama of the whereabouts of Sita! Have you made any attempt to set her free? In what way have you helped Rama in his mission? How do you call yourself a devotee of Rama then?” Since that day, Vibhishana became a part of Rama’s divine mission.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! The part played by women in the great epic, the Ramayana is very prominent. They have been all ideals for womankind even to this day. You are matchless in explaining subtle things like this. Would you kindly tell us about the role of women in the Ramayana?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The welfare and the progress of mankind is the main objective of the Ramayana. Every female role in the epic contributes to that objective, though in varied ways.

King Dasaratha had three wives, Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. They moved very intimately with one another like sisters. They married Dasaratha only to beget children and fulfil his wish. He performed putrakamesti yaga as advised by his preceptor, Vasishtha and received yajnapayasa, sacrificial rice pudding from the presiding deity, and handed over the prasadam to his three wives. He wanted them to partake of the prasadam after their head bath. The second wife, Sumitra, kept the gold cup with the prasadam by her side, and started thinking like this to herself: “The son to be born to Kausalya would be the future king as she is the eldest queen. The son to be born to Kaikeyi also has a chance of becoming the king. According to Dasaratha’s promise, that was the condition of their union. In either case, my son has no chance, but to serve one of the two brothers whosoever becomes the king”. In the meantime, a kite dived from above and snatched away the gold cup with the prasadam inside. Sumitra was terrified. She knew the consequences of King Dasaratha’s coming to know of this incident. She also knew that the family preceptor Vasishtha would be totally upset over this. She felt very sad over losing her share of the yajnapayasam. Then the other two queens, Kausalya and Kaikeyi, consoled her and gave her half of their own shares of the prasadam. While Kausalya begot Rama, and Kaikeyi, Bharata, Sumitra gave birth to the twins, Lakshmana and Satrughna. Lakshmana followed Rama like his shadow, while Satrughna was always in the company of Bharata. The three queens lived like sisters without any differences among them. Sisterly love and affection is the lesson for the world.

Besides these, we come across in the Ramayana, three more women who also played their roles very well. They were Tataka, Ahalya and Sita. They symbolise three attributes of beings. Tataka stands for tamoguna, Ahalya represents rajoguna, while Sita is the very embodiment of sattvaguna. Here, Rama’s killing of Tataka means his total uprooting of tamoguna, bestial temperament. Wickedness and demonic qualities are tamasika in nature. Ahalya was the wife of sage Gautama. Disobedience is rajoguna. Emotion, passion, etc are rajasika in their expression. Ahalya disobeyed Gautama and so she was cursed. Rama cleansed her of her rajoguna by making her free from the curse. She lay stupefied as a boulder for years together, but a mere touch of Rama’s feet rejuvenated her. Rama accepted Sita who was the very embodiment of sattvaguna (piety, softness, goodness, and calmness). He married her. It means he accepted sattvika qualities.

The very word ‘stri’ / woman has three elements: ‘sa’, ‘ta’, ‘ra’. ‘Sa’ indicates sattvaguna, ‘ta’ reflects tamoguna and ‘ra’ denotes rajoguna. Every woman has all these three qualities. The sattvika qualities in a woman are peace, forbearance, compassion, charity, kindness, composure, and so on. The rajasika qualities in women are her sentiments and passions, readiness to sacrifice life for the family, etc, while the tamasika qualities are her shyness, reserve, humility, etc. The Ramayana, thus, conveys a message through the role of every character.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Would you kindly tell us how Mother Sita could become the noblest of women, and remain an ideal to the entire womanhood for centuries by undergoing many difficulties, trials and what not, being the divine consort of Lord Rama.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is said that the Ramayana is Sitayascaritam. The Ramayana is the history of Mother Sita as well. Sita was the daughter of Bhumata, Mother Earth, and was also Kalyanacaritra, a character reputed for bestowing welfare.

During Sita’s svayamvara (trial of suitors to win Sita’s hand), it was Lord Rama who alone could lift and break the Sivadhanus, the bow of Siva. The king of Kosala, though mighty and strong, couldn’t lift the bow. Ravana, matchless valour and strength, couldn’t even move it. Three thousand servants and ninety elephants brought the Sivadhanus to the court from King Janaka’s shrine. How could Rama lift the bow, draw the string, and then break it?

Rama was one hundred per cent pure magnet. That was why He could handle the mighty bow. Sita was also a pure magnet. During her childhood, while she was playing with a ball one day, it so happened that the ball rolled underneath the Sivadhanus. Then Sita went there, easily lifted the bow, put it aside, and got her ball back in tact. This magnetic principle is in every one of us. When an ant starts crawling on your leg, your head will come to know of it, and even while you are talking with someone, your hand will pick it up and remove it instantaneously and involuntarily.

A magnet, if it is rusted and dusty, will not draw a piece of iron. An iron piece or bar due to its long association with a magnet also becomes a magnet. This is the meaning of the Vedic verse, brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati. The knower of the Brahman becomes finally Brahman Himself. You should see that the iron of life should not be rusted by worldly desires: Otherwise, life ends up in ruins.

Sita was highly intelligent. On the eve of leaving Ayodhya, following His father’s command, Rama said to Sita, “Sita! Since I am going away to the forest, my parents will be left with none to serve and console them. Why don’t you stay back in Ayodhya and serve them until I return?” Sita responded slowly but surely like this: “When your Mother Kausalya wanted to follow you, you told her to stay on at Ayodhya and serve your father, Dasaratha. You also told her about scriptural injunctions that command a wife to serve her husband. Now, contrary to what you have told your mother, you want me not to follow you and stay behind. Evidently, you have one dharma for your mother and another for me. Is this justified?”

Then Rama said, “Sita! You will have to eat only green leaves in the forest. You won’t have delicious food for a long time. You can’t wear costly saris and jewels in the forest. Sita! Won’t you find it difficult to live under these conditions?” Sita answered; “Oh! Dear one! Why should I need all those comforts, which you don’t get there? When you don’t want any of these things, I too don’t want them. I only want to be with you and serve you till the end.” Rama asked another question “Sita! You know a forest is full of wild and cruel animals. Are you not afraid of them? Can you stay there?”

All these dissuading words of Rama were employed to persuade Sita not to follow him but to stay back. This she understood, and finally said: “So long, I was under the wrong impression that my father got me married to a brave and chivalrous man and not to one who behaves like this!” This silenced Rama, and He couldn’t speak any more. Ultimately, Rama permitted Sita to follow him to the forest. This was the intelligence and skill of Sita in the art of conversation.

Sage Vasishtha, the preceptor of the royal family, wanted to crown Sita in the place of Rama who was to go to the forest according to his father’s command. Sita said, “O Learned Sage! What is it that you are talking about? Do you ever find moonlight existing separately from the moon? Can the two, the moon and the moonlight be separated from each other? Is not Ramachandra a moon and am I not the light to follow Him wherever He goes? Can I exist without Him?”

This was the character of a pativrata, a chaste woman dedicated to her husband. It has already been noticed that Sita was highly intelligent. At the time of her wedding, she had to garland Lord Rama. As you know Rama was ajanubahu, a very tall person. Being shorter, how could she garland Him then? On this auspicious occasion, Lakshmana bent down at this very moment to touch the feet of Rama. Rama too had to bend and lift Lakshmana, touching his shoulders. Sita took full advantage of the situation and immediately garlanded Rama. Lakshmana is Adisesha, the seven-hooded serpent supporting the earth and on him Vishnu reclines. He also lifted that little portion of the earth where Sita was standing in order to raise her height.

In India, at the time of the wedding ceremony, there is the custom of the bride and the bridegroom pouring talambralu, sacrificial yellow rice grains on the head of each other alternately. Rama was the son of the emperor, Dasaratha and Sita was the daughter of another emperor by name Janaka. So, instead of sacrificial rice, they used pearls for this ritual. Sita held in her palm some pearls to be poured on the head of Rama. Since her palm looked like the petals of a rose, the pearls too looked red in colour. When she poured these pearls on the head of Rama, they started shining like diamonds as Rama was wearing a white turban. In the process, a few pearls fell on the ground. These were neither red nor white in colour and were not at all beautiful and attractive.

There is an inner significance behind all these details. The pearls, which fell on the ground and were not attractive, represent tamoguna or the trait of passivity, dullness and gluttony while the white and bright pearls shining like diamonds on the head of Rama symbolise sattvaguna (piety, calmness, equanimity). The pearls that looked red in colour in the palm of Sita represent rajogu a (emotion, passion). In other words, one who is with God Rama (purusa) is sattvika symbolised by the white colour; one who is with prakrti, nature, is rajasika symbolised by the red colour, and one who is neither with God nor with nature is tamasika.

Take another instance from the Ramayana. In the Asokavana in Lanka, Anjaneya felt very sad on seeing the plight of Sita, who was grieving over her separation from Rama. He revealed his identity to her by showing Rama’s ring and then told her that he would carry her on his shoulders to Rama and thus rescue her. Then Sita said, “Anjaneya! I am pleased with your devotion to Rama. But you have forgotten one fundamental dharma. If you carry me on your shoulders, and take me away from Lanka without the notice and permission of Ravana, will it not amount to abduction? If I allow you to do so, what is the difference between you and Ravana? Ravana too did the same thing in bringing me over here without the knowledge of Rama and he came in disguise. What self respect will I have if I allow myself to be carried by you? Shall I get a good name? Lord Rama Himself should come here, punish Ravana for the mistake he committed. Rama has, of necessity, to defeat and destroy him first. Then He should take me away from here in His vehicle most gracefully. This is what I wish.”

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Ravana’s abduction of Sita is a very heartbreaking episode in the Ramayana. How is it that Sita wanted a golden deer, which is quite an unbelievable phenomenon? How strange is it that Lakshmana who was directed to guard her couldn’t ultimately prevent the abduction. Would you please explain the significance of this episode to all of us who are otherwise thoroughly confused about its inner meaning?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: The abduction episode conveys many secrets. An incarnation of God or an avatar always sets examples for others to emulate. Every action of His is very subtle and has lots of things to teach. These subtleties are not easily understood just by going through the book.

Having left her father, Janaka, who was an emperor, having sacrificed all the riches, comforts, and conveniences due to a Queen, having left her father-in-law Dasaratha who was also an emperor, Sita decided to lead an austere life and followed Rama to the forest. She had overcome kama, desire and so she could be near Rama. But her fascination for the ‘Golden deer’ means that she had given in to kama which was the cause of her separation from Rama.

So, where there is kama there wouldn’t be Rama. Where there is Rama, kama can’t exist.

There is another lesson in this episode. Rama commanded Lakshmana to take care of Sita during his absence. Lakshmana was supposed to be there near Sita in obedience to His command. But Lakshmana could not bear the accusations of Sita and the evil motives she attributed to him. So, he left the place in search of Rama whom Sita feared to have been in danger, when she heard what she took to be the shouts of Rama, “Oh Sita! Oh Lakshmana!”

On learning about Subahu’s death, Ravana commanded Maricha to assist him in his vengeance against Rama. Preferring to die at Rama’s hands rather than at Ravana’s, Maricha disguised himself as a golden deer, thereby giving temporary success to Ravana, and to Rama’s master plan, himself being killed by Rama in the process. It was only then that Ravana came and kidnapped her finding her alone.

Therefore, the point is, in one sense Lakshmana was responsible for sitaviyoga or separation of Sita from Rama. Lakshmana repented till the end of his life his neglect of the duty Rama assigned to him. Here we can also see the master plan of Lord Rama. Maricha and Subahu were the Rakshasas who fought Rama, and in the process; Subahu got killed at Rama’s hands, while Maricha escaped and conveyed this message to Ravana. It was Rama’s plan to spare one of the two Rakshasas, at least for the time being, so that the news would reach Ravana and enrage him further against Him, so that a battle between the two, Rama and Ravana is assured.

In fact, you will also notice that earlier sage Bharadvaja who could foresee coming events extended hospitality to Rama and his retinue, Sita and Lakshmana for some time, and directed them to advance farther into the forest. Had they continued to stay for a longer period of time in his hermitage, Ravana could not have abducted Sita. There wouldn’t have been a war and the consequent death of Ravana. Bharadvaja knew full well that Rama was God incarnate, yet he directed him to proceed further paving the way for the execution of the divine master plan, viz., the killing of Ravana. This was the Divine master plan. Thus, all the episodes in this great epic convey many human values besides revealing the secrets of the Rama avatar.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Lord Rama was the very personification of satya, truth, and the very embodiment of dharma, righteous conduct. He was verily the incarnation of the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God Vishnu himself. Rama was very compassionate and he was the refuge of the forlorn. Then how is it he sent Mother Sita into exile paying heed to the words of a washerman? Does it not go against dharma and satya, the basic qualities Ramachandra is said to embody?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is your ignorance that makes you find fault with God. No one has any authority to doubt or question the ways of God. He is selfless and whatever He does and says has a meaning, and conveys a message. He is an ideal to the entire humanity. God is perfect. All His Divine deeds are meant for the welfare of mankind. Our epics cherish these ideals as human values.

You should recognise the basic truth that Rama was a king. He was prepared to sacrifice everything to uphold dharma in His kingdom. He was even prepared to sacrifice His consort Sita in protecting Dharma. This incident of Sita being sent away because of suspicion has fulfilled two objectives: first, to this day Rama is being revered as an ideal ruler; secondly, the world has come to realise the chastity of Sita.

You should also remember another point here: at the time of taking the wedding pledge, Rama solemnly declared to do everything together with Sita as expected of a householder. But in respect of matters concerning rajyapalana, ruling the kingdom, He would act only as a king, independent of all other relationships and considerations. So, Rama never said that He would follow Sita in matters pertaining to His reign. So, it was not a mistake or a lack of compassion on the part of Rama in this regard. You have misunderstood the whole episode. You don’t know the reality. Whatever Rama did, it couldn’t but be dharma.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Kaikeyi, so it goes, loved Rama more intensely than even Kausalya, his own mother. How is it then that she could ask such a boon to be granted to her by King Dasaratha that resulted in Rama’s exile for fourteen years? Was it not her mistake?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Pleased with Kaikeyi’s services to him, Dasaratha had already granted two boons to Kaikeyi of which you are aware. Dasaratha had told her that she could ask for the fulfilment of the boons according to her own wish at any point of time she would like to choose. He did not himself specify the time. It only meant that she could ask for anything at any time. So, it is the mistake of Dasaratha to have given her a blank cheque like that, authorising her to ask for anything at any time. On the other hand, had he asked her to let him know at the time of his conferring the boons what exactly she would do with them, we would have every reason to find fault with Kaikeyi for demanding such a treacherous thing. Now, it must have been very clear to you that you have to blame Dasaratha and not Kaikeyi for sending Rama to the forest.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Although Manthara and Surpanakha are the two minor woman characters in the epic, the Ramayana, both of them appear crucial in leading to major developments. What lessons should we learn from these two characters?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: In the Ramayana, Manthara symbolises anger and Surpanakha represents desire. Rama and Lakshmana were playing with a ball during their childhood. As ill luck would have it, the ball hit the hunchback Manthara. All the children playing with Rama and Lakshmana saw this and laughed so loudly that she felt terribly upset and humiliated. She thought that it was Rama who had thrown the ball intentionally and had hit her. Since that day, she grew revengeful towards Rama and was looking for an opportunity to retaliate. This made her speak all kinds of falsehood to Kaikeyi, on the day of the coronation of Rama ultimately leading to Kaikeyi’s demand for Rama’s exile and Bharata’s coronation.

Surpanakha, sister of Ravana, saw Rama in the forest and was very much attracted by his personality. She prayed to him to marry her. Rama gently and softly sent her away telling her that he was already married and that his wife, Sita, was also with him, and if she was still desirous of a marriage she could as well approach Lakshmana and marry him. Accordingly, Surpanakha approached Lakshmana with a similar plea. Lakshmana then cut her nose and ears and turned her away. Returning to Lanka, she said to her brother Ravana, “Oh! Brother! I have no words to describe the beauty of Sita. What a charming woman she is! I feel a king of your stature and splendour alone should have Sita as his spouse. After all, Rama, a mere human being, doesn’t deserve her. Brother! You should win her hand somehow or other.”

Then Ravana put her a question, “Sister! When your nose and ears were being cut off, what were you doing? Did you simply keep quiet, without resisting?” Then Surpanakha replied, “Brother! What else could I say other than keep silent at that moment? Brother! Believe me or not, I was lost totally watching the majestic beauty and divine personality of Rama all the time. I did not know what was happening.”

Therefore, it should have been very clear to you by now that Manthara’s anger was responsible for Rama’s exile. The death of King Dasaratha was a consequence. This was the sequence of events that followed the anger of Manthara. Then, how about Surpanakha? Her desire to marry Rama, which was not fulfilled, the humiliation she was put to at the hands of Lakshmana, and her report to Ravana extolling the beauty of Sita ultimately led to the abduction of Sita separating her from Rama. Was it not her desire that proved to be the main cause of all these events? So both the characters speak about the tragedy that would befall anyone who falls victim to anger and desire.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Kausalya is celebrated as the mother of Rama, and Kaikeyi has become notorious for being instrumental in sending Rama to the forest. However, we do not know much about Sumitra. Kindly describe her nature to us.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Sumitra is a distinguished woman, eminently virtuous. When Rama left for the forest, Kausalya was wailing inconsolably. Then Sumitra went to her side saying, “O Elder Sister! Why do you lament? Is it because your son Rama had left for the forest? Is not my son, Lakshmana, by his side, under no compulsion at all? Why do you still lament? Were Rama to remain here, he would be King only of Ayodhya. But living in the forest, he has become the King of the entire Bharat. I am pleased with my son Lakshmana, dedicated to the service his brother. I have two sons Lakshmana and Satrughna. While Lakshmana is serving Rama, Satrughna is serving Bharata! How blessed am I! Wherever Rama is, that place is verily Ayodhya!” So did Sumitra rejoice at her great good fortune. Such is her nobility, such her purity.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! You have shown to the world that the Ramayana presents the ideal of true brotherhood. Would you kindly tell us about this aspect of the Ramayana that indicates what brothers should be like?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: There is a secret behind the advent of every incarnation of God. God descends on earth as a human being to demonstrate how everyone should behave and conduct himself in this world in the ideal way. One such is Rama’s way of dealing with his brothers. It is supreme love that existed among the four brothers, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna. But, today we don’t find such supreme love among brothers, but the kind of love that takes them to the Supreme Court over property disputes. We can’t describe in words how furious Bharata was on coming to know that his mother Kaikeyi had been responsible for Rama’s exile. He couldn’t control his anger, and was even prepared to behead her. That was the intensity and magnitude of his love for his brother. Satrughna followed Bharata like a shadow. That was the unbreakable tie of love between them.

You know pretty well how Rama and Lakshmana were inseparable since their early childhood. They had always been together. You know what happened when they were infants. Rama was made to rest and sleep in a cradle, and so Lakshmana was put in another cradle. The two babies started crying nonstop. The three queens Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi could not make them sleep or stop crying. When Sage Vasishtha came there, the queens reported the matter to him. Then Vasishtha advised them to place both the babies in the same cradle. The moment they did so, they stopped crying and fell asleep. That was the inseparable, intimate association between the two brothers right from their early infancy.

You will also notice the anguish of Rama when Lakshmana fainted on the battlefield. He said, “In this world, you can get anything back if it is lost position, property, friends or even a wife. But one can’t get back a brother once he is lost.” Referring to his brothers, Rama said, “Bharata is the greatest of them all. He is reigning the entire kingdom from Nandigrama, keeping my padukas on the throne, repeating my name, only supporting himself on tubers and leaves like an ascetic and most anxiously waiting for my return.” We can understand here two kinds of devotion; one is Lakshmana’s devotion to the form of God, sakarabhakti, and the other is Bharata’s devotion to the formless aspect of God nirakarabhakti.

When they reached Panchavati, Rama wanted Lakshmana to build a small hut for them on a spot of his choice. Lakshmana fell at the feet of Rama and started shedding tears. Then Rama asked him, “Brother! Why are you crying? What has happened? Have I said anything that has made you cry?” Then Lakshmana said, “Rama! You want to have a hut at any place I decide. Do I have a preference, or a choice or a will of my own? Your wish is mine too. I know only how to follow you and act according to your command.” Such should be the loyalty, sincerity, intimacy and affection among brothers. This is the ideal that Rama set before you.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Do you feel that during the time of the Ramayana, there were no feuds? Sending Rama to the forest and crowning Bharata are not these plain and simple politics? Is there justice in the way Rama killed Vali? Is not abducting Sita heinous? How then can the Tretayuga be called flawless? Kindly forgive me for putting this question out of my ignorance and for crossing my limits out of my presumption. Favour us with your views on these matters.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Upholding dharma and satya, and demonstrating to the world a new ideal was the purpose of the incarnation of Rama. All the events in the Ramayana illustrate this truth. Consider the very first episode of Rama’s arrival in the forest accompanied by Sita and Lakshmana. Remember that Bharata’s objective in visiting Rama in the hermitage, along with the citizens of Ayodhya, eminent sages and the four arms of the militia is to welcome him back to Ayodhya. In this concourse was Jabali. In the conversation with Rama, he said, “O Rama! Unable to bear the prospect of separation from you, Dasaratha passed away. Now you are no longer bound by the words of your father who had sent you to the forest as Kaikeyi desired. Lord! You yourself should rule Ayodhya.” Ignoring these words, Rama turned to Bharata and remarked, “Bharata! By admitting Jabali and such others into the court, our father’s reputation was tarnished. You should not allow him access. For me nothing is greater than honouring the word of one’s father. King Dasaratha, Dasaratha the husband of Kaikeyi, and my father Dasaratha are not different from one another. You may think that our father’s death was brought about by separation from me. That is not correct. The aged parents of Sravanakumar died lamenting the death of their son felled by an arrow let loose by our father. The curse of that aged couple led to his demise. My duty is my foremost concern.” Jabali intervened with the words, “O Ramachandra! Your dedication to Truth and Righteousness are well known all over the world. I spoke these words only in an attempt to bring you back to Ayodhya.” Thus, in the matter of Truth and Righteousness, Rama’s resolve is adamantine. Rama put these ideals into practice as a stern discipline, and proclaimed them to mankind.

You referred to Rama’s killing Vali. As he lay dying, Vali questioned Rama, “O Rama! You shot an arrow at me from behind a tree? Is this fair?” Rama replied, “You are a monkey and I am a King. The chase is part of the nature of kings. They may hunt animals in the forest and kill them. Therefore, how can I be faulted for directing an arrow from behind a tree?” Vali questioned again, “Rama! You sought the assistance of Sugriva, my younger brother. So, you decided on killing me. Is this just? Had you approached me, I myself would have rendered you all assistance, would not I? Compared with my strength, Ravana’s is no equal. Then, Sugriva’s strength does not count.” Rama replied, “O Vali! I understand Sugriva’s distress. Like me who am separated from Sita, Sugriva too is anguished by separation from his wife. The root cause of my friendship with Sugriva is the similarity of our condition. It is said, fighting, matchmaking and friendship should be between equals.” Then Vali observed, “O Rama! You may well be king of Ayodhya, but this is a forest. Are we who roam freely to be punished right here?” Rama gave a fitting reply, “My younger brother, Bharata, the ruler of Ayodhya, resides in Nandigrama, and holds sway in my name. All this area is our territory, and mine is the responsibility for opposing and punishing unrighteousness and protecting righteousness. Therefore, you deserve to be punished.”

Noticing that all his questions were fully answered, Vali finally objected, “Sri Rama! We live here according to the moral code of the monkeys. Your human moral code does not apply to us. Is killing me a righteous act?” Silencing Vali forever, Rama gave an apt and straightforward reply, “O Vali! Even while claiming to be a vanara (monkey), you spoke of righteousness. So long as you are ignorant of righteousness, your behaviour need not be questioned. But you have chosen to speak of righteousness, haven’t you? Don’t you know that the wife of a younger brother is equal to one’s own daughter? Is not your action unrighteous? When you know what righteousness is, how can you fail to know what unrighteousness is? Therefore, you deserve to be punished.” In this manner, it is Rama who had made known to the world both the practice of righteousness and the importance of teaching it.

What remains then is your question about the abduction of Sita. Even this is proof of God’s compassion. Cursed to be born a demon, Ravana abducted Sita in the mode of a devotee turned enemy, vairabhakti, thereby begging Rama to kill him with His own hands and ensuring Ravana’s return to Vaikuntha into the presence of Vishnu. That he should die at the hands of Rama was his sole yearning. Such a noble love of God also is righteous. You should have an understanding capable of properly grasping the subtleties of dharma and appreciating their inner meaning.

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.

Twenty Seven Pages Of Satyopanishad:
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Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 23

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 23
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How am I to know that I am nitya, eternal? I undergo difficulties, I notice many changes all around. How can I feel that I am eternal?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: A simple illustration. There was a poor villager who had a wife and a son. He found it difficult to make both ends meet. To improve his lot, he went to another town leaving his wife and son behind to do some business there.

One day he had a dream in which he was a rich man and had five sons. After some time, he woke up. When he returned to his native village, he was informed by his wife that his only son had died as he couldn’t bear separation from his father. This man stood unruffled. Then his wife asked him, “Are you not sad over the death of your only son? What has happened to you?” The poor villager replied, “I know the tragedy. But I am at a loss to know for whom I should cry. Should I cry for the loss of five sons in the dream there or for the death of the son here?” Similarly, you should know that one is a day dream and the other is a night dream. One doesn’t exist, when the other is present, but you are present in both the states. You are the experiencer in the waking and dream states.

Then what is the difference between the day dream and the night dream? The day dream is bound by factors such as the kaya, body, kala, time, karya, action, karana, reason, and kartavya, duty. Suppose, you have gone to Guntur, and you know when, why, how. You went by bus, which took ten hours to reach your place, to share with your wife all your experiences as part of your duty. But, in a dream these factors do not exist. How do you travel and how long does it take to reach your place, while your body remains lying in the bed? Like this, there are differences between the two states, but you are present in both. So you are nitya, eternal.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! God is the creator. He should have created only happiness. Why did he create difficulties and troubles? Pardon me, Swami, for putting this question.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Without difficulties you can never get happiness. ‘Na sukhat labhyate sukham’. You do not get happiness out of happiness. No hardships end up in hardship. Without difficulties, you will never know the value of pleasure.

For instance, you are spending your time in this air-conditioned room. If the value of air-conditioning is to be known, what you should do is to come out and go round in the open space in bright day light. Even a mother would not be able to love her child, if there is no death in her family. Here is an orange fruit. This has an outer bitter skin. But within it you find sweet juice. So, both good and bad coexist. The bitter skin protects the inner sweet juice. Does it not? Another thing you notice is, a thing that gives you happiness now may make you unhappy later. Similarly, an unhappy thing now may make you happy later.

So, nothing gives you absolute happiness or unhappiness. See, a woollen coat in winter makes you happy, but in severe summer it makes you unhappy. Does it not? So also a heater in winter makes you warm and happy. But, in summer the same heater makes you very uncomfortable and unhappy. Does it not? Therefore, happiness and unhappiness depend on the time, circumstances and position. Pleasure is an interval between two pains. Pain is an interval between two pleasures. If you think of the difficulties and the intensity of suffering in times of sadness the pain doubles. In bad times, you should think of those days and moments when you were happy. Then, the intensity of suffering decreases.

You should face all the difficulties as tests of God. A devotee should welcome troubles which are the tests of his devotion and faith. How do you expect a student to be promoted to the next higher class without facing a test? Otherwise, he has to remain in the same class. Can a doctor diagnose his patient’s disease, prescribe medicine and treat him without testing? How do you expect crude gold to shine unless it is burnt, hammered and polished so as to be shaped into an ornament? But, if you set some precondition that the gold should not be hammered or burnt and yet you want a shining jewel, will the goldsmith ever be able to make it?

You also know how you get sugar. The sugarcane must be crushed and the juice must be heated and processed so as to make sugar. Otherwise, it is impossible to extract sugar. You know how an earthen pot and a slate are made: The clay must be burnt repeatedly in order to transform it into a pot which you lift and carry on your head. Before the clay is made into a pot, it is trodden and trampled by anybody and everybody. The pot does deserve a place over our head because the clay has allowed itself to be burnt and processed. So, you should not be afraid of difficulties in life.

In the epic Mahabharata, Kunti prayed to Krishna to give her sons and herself more and more difficulties so that they would think of Him unceasingly and fervently. Hence, both good and bad are created by God for your redemption and liberation.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! From where has evil come? Do you say that the mind is the source? Then, what is it that transcends both, good and evil? How is evil to be eliminated? Swami alone can explain this with felicity, None else can. Kindly enlighten us.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Evil is not related to the mind. Rather it stems from samskaras, previous accomplishments.

The mind is full of thoughts. That is why it is said, “sankalpavi kalpatmakam manah”. The mind is essentially determinations and negations. Being hard like wax, the mind softens with a little heat. In that state anything and everything sticks to it. When wax is thrown into fire, it melts completely. Attachment and hatred stick to the mind only when it is in the soft state. When the mind is melted away, nothing sticks to it. Then how does the mind melt away completely? Even as fire melts away wax completely, jnana, supreme wisdom, melts away the mind..

Atma is beyond good and evil, and nothing can touch or injure it. Being a witness, Atma transcends duality. Notice this little example. The lotus flower blooms in water and mud. Without these, there is no way it can exist. But, neither water nor mud sticks to the lotus. Mud represents samskaras of past lives, and water, the fruits of present actions: The flower of the soul is beyond past and present.

Desires which are bounde by time constitute nerpu (Telugu), skill or craft, while Divinity mined from the recesses of the heart is kurpu (Telugu), arrangement or synthesis. In other words, nerpu is pravrtti, outward oriented, and kurpu is nivrtti, inward oriented. If ‘nerpu’ is a matter of the mind, ‘kurpu’ is a matter of the heart. A small example. For irrigating the fields, an etam or waterlift is used. It bails out water. A long wooden beam is laid across a well with a heavy stone tied at one end with a rope, and a bucket hanging from the other end. When the bucket goes down deep into a well or a canal, it gets filled with water. At that time, the heavy stone goes up as in a see-saw or a balance. The stone represents desires, and hence the heaviness. This is nerpu or previous accomplishment. But, the bucket is not like that. It sinks deep into the well of the heart, and fills itself with the water of divinity. This is kurpu . Are there any games without a ground to play them on or a song without a rhythm to it! The bird comes out of the egg, and the tree from the seed. Likewise the nature of atma and humanness are reciprocal, and supplement each other. Then, not taking note of evils is the way to do away with them. Consider them illusions. That would be fine.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Kaikeyi had sent Rama to the wilderness on the eve of his installation as the crown prince. What was Rama’s attitude to her? Generally, it would be one of hostility, wouldn’t it?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Rama is the embodiment of Dharma, the embodiment of Tranquility. Under no circumstance did he hate Kaikeyi. It was only after bowing down at her feet that he left for the forest accompanied by Sita and Lakshmana. Longing for the darsan of Rama, Bharata too proceeded to the forest, accompanied by feudatory kings, the army, citizens of Ayodhya, and the sages. Falling at Rama’s feet, he sought to be pardoned, and prayed to Rama to return to Ayodhya and rule the Kingdom. Kaikeyi stood pitiably to one side. Rama surveyed the gathering. Right away Rama addressed Bharata with these words: “Bharata! Has mother Kaikeyi arrived? Where is she?” Turning to her, Rama bowed at her feet. Her words, like the prelude to a great drama, had inaugurated the mission of the incarnation. Had she not expressed her desire as she did, the events of the Ramayana would not have taken place. She auspiciously initiated the work of the Divine Master Plan. Rama, indeed, knew this. Then, what scope is there for hostility and hatred?

Moreover, in this context, Rama had to uphold another dharma as well. At the time of Kaikeyi’s wedding with Dasaratha, her father, the king of Kekaya had made known his desire: “O King Dasaratha! You have contemplated marriage with my daughter, Kaikeyi, in order to have progeny. Then, it is her son, who should become king, your successor, shouldn’t he? Is this acceptable to you? If your queens Kausalya or Sumitra give birth to sons, Kaikeyi’s son would lose the right to kingship, wouldn’t he?” King Dasaratha listened to this wish, consulted Kausalya and Sumitra in the matter, apprised them of the implications, and won their approval. Then, Kausalya remarked: “After you had promised that Kaikeyi’s son alone would become king of Ayodhya, even if we were to conceive and give birth to sons, they would never act contrary to their father’s word of honour. None assuredly would be born in our dynasty but those who accept respectfully the fulfilment of their father’s wishes.” Accordingly, for Sri Ramachandra the practice of dharma and the fulfilment of his father’s wishes were supreme. Therefore, Kaikeyi’s wish is lawful and righteous. This was not unknown to Rama.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Is it right on the part of Rama to kill Tataka, a woman?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Rama embodies Dharma. Along with Lakshmana, He went to the forest led by Visvamitra only to destroy the demons. Defiling yajnas and yagas and killing great sages, these demons turned hermitages into cremation grounds. In fact, the very purpose of Visvamitra’s request to Dasaratha, viz., sending Rama and Lakshmana to the forest, was the destruction of the demons. The sage, if he so desired, could have himself put an end to the demons. But, as he was under the vow of yajna, he was prohibited from resorting to violence. Moreover, the mission of the incarnation of Rama awaited fulfilment. Everything has to proceed according to the Master Plan. The actions of the demons were extremely cruel. In order to wipe out this pitch of cruelty and to protect dharma, the demons had to be destroyed. Tataka may be a woman. But, her actions were demonic, weren’t they? Therefore, killing Tataka was just and fully in consonance with righteousness.

In this matter, whether the agents of wickedness are men or women is immaterial. What is crucial is the usefulness of their deeds. Because of his unrighteous conduct, Vali the king of the monkeys, though a male was not spared, was he? Tara did advise Vali: “Lord! Sugriva was only a few days ago mortally wounded and fled. How come he is now brave enough to challenge you? He has the support of Rama, don’t you know? Rama is, indeed, no ordinary man. Though you are very valiant, Rama is bent on assisting Sugriva and killing you, because of your unrighteous deeds. Seek refuge at Rama’s feet!” Vali paid no heed to her words, and fell a prey to Rama’s arrow. Thus, the primary criterion is restoration of Dharma. Gender is irrelevant.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Pardon me and treat this question as arising from the influence of modernity. Our society regards Sita and Rama as the ideal couple. Now, kindly do not get angry. What happiness was there for this couple? Only troubles, for sure! How can this be ideal matrimony?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: That ideal can be put in a nutshell. Not once did Sita transgress Rama’s command; likewise, not once did Rama oppose Sita’s wish. This is ideal matrimony. You may have in mind the abandonment of Sita on the report of a washerman’s words. Is it not possible that, in the kingdom there may be others besides the washerman who entertained doubts about the chastity of the virtuous Sita? Those were the words uttered by the washerman. Many others may have felt the same way. The episode of Sita’s ordeal by fire serves only to proclaim her chastity to the world. Rama knows all things. He is omniscient.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Millions revere the illustrious characters in the itihasas of Bharat, for these have stirred their hearts, inspired their devotion, and offered them refuge. When, taking pity on us, you explain these figures, they appear so novel, and awesome. They come alive, swaying our hearts with their nobility and majesty. I have a question. At the end of the Great War, Lakshmana proposes to Rama that they should settle down in the golden Lanka Kingdom saying, “Bharata is ruling Ayodhya, elder brother! Let us make this charming Lanka our permanent abode!” Is Lakshmana infatuated by riches and pomp?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Not at all. Kaikeyi desired that Rama should be sent to the forest. There was no need for Lakshmana to accompany him. Voluntarily Lakshmana gave up royal pleasures and luxuries, and left behind his noble wife, considering serving Rama day and night his chief duty. Therefore, Lakshmana stands as a symbol of total surrender. This proposal of Lakshmana to rule Lanka is significant for it had occasioned Rama’s response, a clear message to humanity. Rama countered Lakshmana’s suggestion with these words: “janani janmabhumisca svargadapi gariyas – mother and motherland are greater than even Heaven”. Even if your mother is ugly, does she cease to be your mother? Just because she is beautiful, does a stranger become your mother?

Lakshmana’s suggestion bore fruit as Rama’s vitally patriotic message to the world. Is it not Lakshmana’s proposal, “Ramachandra! Now you can rule golden Lanka, can’t you?” that prompted Rama to hold up an ideal for the world to emulate? It happened just this way, and not as though Lakshmana was ever infatuated by riches and luxury.

Lakshmana’s devotion to Rama is unbounded. Once, Lakshmana saw at some distance from their hermitage a column of dust rising to the sky. Lakshmana climbed a tree close by, and noticed far away Bharata at the head of an army with its four units infantry, cavalry, elephants, and war chariots. He said to Rama, “O elder brother! Not content with sending us to the forest, Bharata is coming even to this place contemplating harm to us and bringing along all four arms of military might.” Rama gently remonstrated Lakshmana for his remarks and explained that Bharata was coming in a procession with a prayer to Rama to take back the kingdom. In this situation, you may get the impression that Lakshmana is quickly incensed. Such a conclusion is not fair. To pray to Rama to take back the kingdom, could not Bharata come alone? Why should he be accompanied by a huge army with its four arms? This is what roused Lakshmana’s suspicion, and not his hasty judgement, as you may suppose. But that was not Bharata’s fault either. When he set out to pray to Rama to rule Ayodhya, the rishis, the armed forces, and several leaders followed him for the darsan of Rama. Thus, Bharata is not to blame. Today, it is very necessary to appreciate rightly the characters drawn in our epics and puranas, their motives, the wellsprings of their action, as well as their grandeur, solemnity and generosity. You should not ascribe your attitudes to those characters.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! I do not know anything about Satrughna, except listing him in the names of the brothers: Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna. Kindly narrate to us at least one episode concerning his character.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Satrughna was distinguished as much for his valour as for his righteousness. His devotion to the master was of an extraordinary order. His fraternal love was exemplary. You know well that Lakshmana’s name stands next to Rama’s. That is why their names are treated as a compound word, “RamaLakshmana”. Similarly, Satrughna was always by the side of Bharata such that the expression “BharataSatrughna” gained currency. Just as Lakshmana served Rama with unswerving devotion, even so did Satrughna serve Bharata.

Satrughna bore immense love for Rama. Here is an instance. Along with Bharata, Satrughna returned to Ayodhya. This incident took place when they left the kingdom of Kekaya, their maternal uncle. Learning that Kaikeyi was responsible for sending Rama to the forest and for planning Bharata’s coronation, he was heartbroken. He also came to know that it was the evil counsel of Manthara that made Kaikeyi ask Dasaratha to fulfil the two boons. Enraged, he cast a look of unbridled wrath at Manthara who happened to be passing that way. At that hour Manthara was very happy. News of the crowning of Bharata, her Queen’s son, had sent her into rapturous joy. Satrughna saw her walking all smiles, dressed in very rich finery, and sporting a variety of ornaments. Striding towards her, he gave vent to his anger by kicking Manthara in the waist. She fell down and her necklace of diamonds and pearls scattered on the floor shone like stars in the sky. Meanwhile, Bharata arrived on the scene. He said, “Dear brother! Treating women cruelly like this, Rama does not approve. Actions like yours do not, in the least, please Rama. Calm down.” Such was Satrughna’s love.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! In the Ramayana, the role of Hanuman is very prominent. He is the best example of dasyabhakti, devotion of loyal servant, one of the nine paths of devotion. We are so fortunate to hear from you about the devotion of Hanuman. Would you kindly tell us how modern youngsters can emulate his example?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Hanuman is known for physical strength, intelligence, perfect character and scholarship. Yet, do you know what he said when he entered the court of Ravana. While introducing himself, he said, ‘dasoham Kosalendrasya, I am a servant of Rama’. The position of a servant of Rama was a matter of pride and prestige for Hanuman.

Rama asked the vanaras as to who among them could cross the ocean and go in search of Sita. One of them said that he would be able to cross 10 kilometers, another said 40 kilometers and so on but none could say he could jump satayojana, 100 kilometers across the ocean. Then Rama asked Hanuman, “Can you do it and successfully return after finding out where Sita is?” Then Hanuman replied, “Yes, I will.” Then Rama asked, “Hanuman, you have had no experience of jumping across a vast sea. You have never seen Sita earlier to identify her now. Then how do you say so confidently that you can cross the mighty ocean in search of Sita in Lanka, find her and then return?” Hanuman replied, “Would you not give me the needed strength, capacities and abilities to fulfill the mission you have assigned to me and then command me to fulfill it? With your blessings and invincible will; wouldn’t I accomplish what I am supposed to?” Such was the intensity of his devotion.

Youngsters should follow God’s command unhesitatingly. They should never doubt, question, disobey, or criticise it. Strict obedience to the divine command is called surrender. When you develop this kind of surrender to God, you are bound to succeed.

While crossing the ocean, Hanuman displayed courage and valour par excellence due to his deep devotion to Rama. Mount Mainaka prayed to him to rest on his peak for some time on the way to Lanka. Mainaka wanted to take this opportunity in order to express his gratitude to Vayu, the wind God, father of Hanuman, who had saved him earlier. But Hanuman, politely rejected the offer, telling him that he wouldn’t rest until he had completed the work assigned to him by Rama and that he would oblige Mainaka on his return from Lanka. He, thus, gave top priority to Rama’s mission.

It was the confidence born out of his devotion to Lord Rama that made him cross a vast ocean. Following His command he won the grace of Rama. Normally, a monkey is noted for its unsteady and wavering mind, but by surrendering to Rama, Hanuman’s mind became absolutely steadfast, fixed firmly in devotion to his duty and that is exactly why he is worshipped today as Hanuman.

At the time of his coronation towards the end of the epic, Rama was distributing gifts to all His subjects. But he did not give any present to Hanuman. Then Sita softly asked, “Lord! Have you forgotten Hanuman? How is it that you have not given him any gift?” Then Rama smiling said, “Sita! It is true. I want you to present him any gift of your choice”. Then Sita gave Hanuman her own pearl necklace. But Hanuman started biting every pearl in the necklace, breaking it off, bringing it close to his ear and then dropping it on the ground. Watching this, Sita said “What! Hanuman! You have not given up the habit of a monkey. What are you doing with the pearl necklace I presented to you?” Then Hanuman said, “Mother! No doubt; you have given me a most precious pearl necklace, but I want every individual pearl of the necklace to resonate with the sound of my Lord Rama’s name. So, I am testing every one of the pearls by breaking it first keeping it close to my ear to find if the sound of the Lord’s name is heard. I am throwing them out one after another as I don’t hear His name in any of these.” Nothing in this universe is more precious than the sacred name of God, Rama.

The whole assembly was adjourned for the day. Rama was retiring to his bedroom and Sita was following him. Lo and behold! Hanuman too was making his way towards the bedroom. Rama then said, “Hey Hanuman! What are you doing here?” Hanuman said, “Lord! Sita is following you. So I am also coming to you.” Rama said, “Anjaneya! Look! Sita has vermilion, on her forehead that qualifies her to get into my bedroom”. At this, Anjaneya left the place and returned after some time. He went round all the shops, collected kumkum, applied it all over his body and returned and stood in front of Rama. He said, “Oh Lord! Just for the simple reason that Mother Sita has a dot of kumkum on her forehead, you qualified her to enter your bedroom. Now; here Look! I have this sindura all over the body. What do you have to say now?” That was the standard of his devotion and the determination to be with God always.

On another occasion, the three brothers of Rama met, discussed for some time and distributed among themselves all the duties they had to do personally in attending on Lord Rama. Hanuman noticed all this and finding that he was left out with any duties to his lord, he softly asked them, “Sir! When the lord yawns, there is a need for someone to click fingers and make a snapping sound befitting His royal status, we do not know when he would yawn, so I should be with him throughout”. So, Hanuman had to be in the company of Rama while his brothers could attend on him according to duties they had taken upon themselves at different times. Thus, Hanuman was the very personification of humility, devotion, discipline and surrender.

He had all the purity to be with God. He did what he thought and said. In him there was perfect harmony of thought, word and deed. He decided to go in search of Sita, he said so, and started at once. His decision, declaration, and implementation were in total agreement and unison. This is what is meant by “The proper study of mankind is man.”

Manasyekam vacasyekam karmanyekam mahatmanam is the unmistakable feature of a man of character: unity in thought, words, and deed. But manassanyat vacassanyat karmanyanyat duratmanam, in a wicked person there is disharmony. What he thinks, says, and does are never in agreement with one another.

Hanuman said to Rama on another occasion, “Oh Lord! If I view you as my ‘King’, I am your ‘servant’. If I consider myself a ‘jiva’ – an individual entity, you are my ‘deva,’ God. If I am atma, conscience, you are ‘consciousness.’ As both of us are only one, aham brahmasmi.” So by embracing dasyabhakti, the path of a loyal servant’s devotion with intense steadfastness, Hanuman passed through these three stages and ultimately experienced unity with God. When he felt that he was a servant of Rama the King, he was passing through the state of dualism. When he found himself as an individual, with Rama as his God, it expressed qualified nondualism, and finally when he found unity with God, he experienced nondualism.

In Lanka having entered the palace of Ravana, Hanuman had to see many a woman fast asleep, as he had to identify only Mother Sita. Such was his reverence for every woman as if she were his own mother. This was the crest or crown of his character. Hanuman was the embodiment of devotion, the personification of humility and the very symbol of sincerity and obedience. All youngsters today should take him as their ideal.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Ravana was the grandson of Pulastyabrahma. He was an ardent devotee of Siva. He was a great scholar in all the Sastras and the Vedas. Above all, he was a valorous warrior and an expert in archery. Such a person was reduced to total ruin. What could be the secret behind his fall?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Viewed spiritually, Ravana’s destruction at Rama’s hands teaches you that in spite of your physical strength, the strength of your intelligence, the strength of a large army, the strength of your wealth, the strength of your deep penance, if you become a victim of desire of a low order or lust, you will ruin yourself totally.

There is another inner significance to this event. At the gate of Vaikuntha, heaven, were two guards by name Jaya and Vijaya. They were discourteous to two sages, Sanaka and Sananda who came to visit Lord Vishnu. They cursed the two gatemen and consequently they had to leave Vaikuntha. Then, they prayed to be pardoned and begged them to suggest a way out. As atonement, the sages counselled them to opt for three births as rakshasas, living in utter hatred of Lord Vishnu and dying at His hands, paving thereby the way for their early return to heaven. Thus, Jaya and Vijaya were reborn as the rakshasa brothers, Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu, Sisupala and Dantavaktra, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, spent their lives in bitter enmity with Vishnu, and died at His hands: This enabled them to reach their original place in Vaikuntha.

Ravana’s acts should be viewed in this context. If he entertained any bad motives in abducting Sita, how is it that he did not touch her all through the period of her stay in Lanka? Unless he abducted Sita, Rama wouldn’t fight with him. So, to fight Rama in open battle was the only way for Ravana to die at his hands. The climax of the Ramayana, the victory of Rama and the death of Ravana, indicates how Ravana’s heart pined for his lord, Rama.

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.

Twenty Seven Pages Of Satyopanishad:
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Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 22

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


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.

Twenty Seven Pages Of Satyopanishad:
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Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 21

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


Satyopanishad – Upanishad Of Sri Sathya Sai – Part 21
Anil Kumar Kamaraju Questions Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We know that we should cultivate good qualities right from our childhood. But, now, at this hour, how are we to cultivate them?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: First of all, you should fully realize the need to acquire good qualities and cultivate them sincerely. You should also know to what exalted heights of nobility they would take you. Then you should find out your own faults. The day you shed your bad qualities, you can fill your life with good qualities, just as you fill a tumbler with milk after emptying the water inside it. Otherwise, if the tumbler still retains water inside it, it will not be possible to fill it with milk. So, always remember that the removal of immortality is immortality. First, begin the process by correcting yourself.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Many people emphasise theimportance of character. But, they interpret character in many different ways. So, what exactly is character? Let us know from you.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Character is the most important thing. Life without character is like a pot full of holes. Water can never be retained in a pot with holes. So, the essential human quality will never be retained in the life of a person without character. This is what Prahlada too remarked. One day he saw a beautiful lady leaving his palace. He asked her, “Who are you?” She said, “I am your kingdom”. He kept quiet. After some time, he saw another very beautiful woman coming out of his royal palace. He asked her, “Who are you?” She said, “I am your wealth”. Again, he kept quiet. After some time, he saw an angel coming out of his palace. He asked her, “Who are you”? She responded saying, “I am your reputation.” He kept quiet. This time, he saw a woman with a brilliant face and with heavenly effulgence all around her, the like of whom he had never seen before, leaving his palace. He asked her, “Who are you?” She said, “I am your character”. Immediately Prahlada fell at her feet and repeatedly pleaded with her not to leave his palace. She obliged him and went back. The others (reputation, wealth and kingdom) immediately followed her. Therefore, where there is character, the rest will follow automatically. So, I often tell our students:

Politics without Principles
Science without Humanity
Commerce without Morality, and
Education without Character
Are not only useless but also dangerous

I repeatedly tell you:

The end of Education is Character,
The end of Culture is Perfection,
The end of Knowledge is Love,
The end of Wisdom is Freedom.

What is character? Perfect harmony in thought, word, and deed is character: manasyekam vacasyekam karmanyekam mahatmanam. Whatever you think, say it and do it. Your thought, word and deed must be one and the same. This is character. Manassanyat vacassanyat karman anyat duratmanam, it is only the wicked that think, say and act differently. This was very well demonstrated by Hanuman in the Ramayana. Rama commanded him to go in search of Sita, crossing the mighty sea. He did so with His infinite blessings. Given this divine assignment, Hanuman said, “Yes” and immediately jumped from the top of that Mahendra Mountain.

Here three points are to be noted. Hanuman decided to do his Lord’s bidding. This decision is the first thing. Then he declared on the mountain top of Mahendra that he was proceeding on His mission. This declaration is the second thing. Thereafter, immediately he started his journey flying across the sky over the sea. Action followed the declaration. This is the third thing. In Hanuman, we find these three, ‘decision / thought’, ‘declaration / word’ and ‘action / deed’ or the three “H’s”: Head, Heart and Hand in perfect harmony and integration. This is Character.

There is another important thing you should always keep in mind to guard your character. I give you ‘Watch’ as the ‘watch-word’. Here every letter has a message and an instruction. ‘Watch’ is a word with five letters. The first letter ‘W’ stands for the ‘words’ that we use. So, ‘Watch your words’. The words should be filled with truth. You speak truth. So, watch that your words express truth. The second letter is ‘A’ which stands for ‘action’. ‘Watch your actions’. They should be dharmic. The third letter is ‘T’ and represents ‘thoughts’. ‘Watch you thoughts’. They should be calm, never disturbing and agitating. So, let your thoughts be of santi. The fourth letter is ‘C’, ‘Watch your character’. Throughout your life, your character should be perfect. This is possible if you have pure prema. Love will make you achieve everything in this world. Human character is based on selfless, pure and divine love. The fifth letter is ‘H’. It represents ‘Heart’. ‘Watch you Heart’. ‘Heart’ in Sanskrit is hrdaya. This is hrt together with daya. ‘Daya’ is compassion. The one with ‘daya’ is hrdaya. Where there is violence, there is no daya, compassion. You should not be violent in your words, thoughts, or deeds. You should not harm people by your looks, words, thoughts and actions. You can watch your Heart with full understanding of your thoughts, words, and deeds so that your Heart is full of ahimsa. Ahimsa can be achieved by understanding.

So the five letters of this word ‘watch’ represent Satya (w-words), Dharma (A-actions), santi (T-thoughts), Prema (C-character) and Ahimsa (H-heart). These values constitute ‘Character’. It is character that takes humanity to Divinity. Without character, a man falls to the level of a beast. In certain respects, even animals are much better than human beings as they have a season and a reason for their behaviour.

We can view character from two angles. One is Individual character and the other is National character. Individual character emphasises the code of conduct. The second is National character. Everyone is to act in the national interest. Today, we have leaders with neither of the two, or both missing. This is the cause of the present sad plight of the country. When students have these two, they will mould themselves into ideal citizens of the country. Nitiye jati, adi vadilitivo koti kante hinudavu:

A true nation should have character. Without that, you are worse than a monkey. So character is most essential and prevails when there is total unity and harmony in the 3H’s, as I often say for our EHV. (Education in Human Values) programme, ‘Head / word’, ‘Heart / thought’ and ‘Hand / action’.

Question) Anil Kumar: Bhagawan! We are indeed very grateful to you for telling us so clearly and vividly the way we should view life in general. What are those essential qualities you wish we develop?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Unless the foundation is strong, a building cannot stand firm and last long. So, the foundation is very important. You can construct any number of floors basing on a firm foundation. Self confidence is the foundation. These days many do not have self confidence. They do not even attempt to do anything worthwhile as they have no confidence in themselves. How do you expect them to be successful? If a person has no confidence in himself, what can be done for his progress? On the foundation of self confidence are erected the walls of self-satisfaction. A man with self confidence alone can have selfsatisfaction. A man without confidence can never have satisfaction in his lifetime. So, the walls of self-satisfaction rest on the foundation of self confidence. Then the roof must be laid. Self-sacrifice is the roof. Gaining satisfaction out of confidence, one prepares oneself for sacrifice. You cannot live in a building without a roof. The roof rests on walls, and the walls, in their turn, stand on the foundation. Then, we live in the house. Life in such a house is self-realisation. So, everyone must develop these four “S’s”: Self-confidence, Self-satisfaction, Self-sacrifice and Self-realisation.

You need to cultivate three “D’s” also. You must know that a VIP, like the Rashtrapati, the President of India will always be followed by two bodyguards one on either side. The first ‘D’ is duty that stands for Rashtrapati. He is accompanied by two D’ s one on each side, ‘discipline’ and ‘devotion’. To discharge duty ably, discipline is very essential. Without discipline, you will never be successful.

Normal body temperature is 98.4. One’s normal blood pressure is 120/80. If there is deviation from the normal rate, you are sick. Changes in blood pressure lead to heart complaints also. So, our body is a limited company with all the systems working in strict discipline. The eye can see the intensity of light only up to a certain limit. If it crosses the limit, the retina of the eye gets burnt. Similarly, the ear also can hear sound to a certain extent, and if it is exceeded, the eardrum breaks. This is the lesson in discipline that the body teaches.

The second thing that is required for performing one’s duty is devotion. Devotion is Love.

Duty with Love is Desirable,
Duty without Love is Deplorable,
Love without Devotion is Demonic,
Love without Duty is Divine.

Everybody must be devoted to duty with discipline.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We have to work for our own moksha. But, how can we develop spiritually the basic human quality? Will spiritual awareness help us to be more human and ultimately experience the divine?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Today, everyone appears to be a human being by virtue of having a human body. But, it is by virtue of your behaviour and nature that you are a human being. You should be a human being. You seem to have forgotten the value of human life. Kaya, the body, kala, time, karma, the action, kartavya, duties, and karana, the purpose of life are all either misused or misdirected or wasted. Though there is considerable progress in science and technology, the basic human values are lost. Everywhere there is the atmosphere of fear, anxiety, tension or insecurity or agitation and restlessness.

To cultivate human values two qualities yama, restraint and niyama, regulation and the five principles ahimsa / nonviolence, satyam / truth, asteyam / not coveting others’ property, aparigraham / not accepting or expecting anything from anybody and brahmacaryam / celibacy are essential.

Ahimsa does not merely mean refraining from killing or hurting anybody. By thought, word, or deed, no one should be hurt or pained. This is true ahimsa or nonviolence. If you are harsh to anybody, it is violence. If you harbour evil thoughts towards anybody, it is violence. If you cast bad looks on anyone, it is violence. Therefore, non-violence means not causing harm to anyone and not hurting anybody either by thought, word or deed.

Then, the second principle is satyam, truth. In the ordinary sense, you think that truth is telling exactly what you see, hear, and know. This is worldly truth. Even scientific laws are not constant. They change from time to time with new inventions, discoveries, observations and experiments. They may be called scientific truths, or material truths. Newspapers convey facts and not truth. Then what is truth? That which is permanent, eternal and changeless is satyam, truth. Truth is God. You should speak truth in an acceptable and pleasing way.

The third principle is asteyam, you shall not covet others’ property. You shall not steal. Asteyam in the true sense means not entertaining any thought to own or possess others’ property or that which doesn’t belong to you.

The fourth one is aparigraha. Don’t expect anything from anybody. Don’t accept anything from anybody. But, you can accept things from your parents, Guru and God. You should not bother or pester your parents with demands they cannot afford to meet. You should accept wisdom and grace from your preceptor. But from God you must accept anything He gives you. Therefore, you are not permitted to receive anything from anyone. You should not be become rnagrasta / indebted to anybody. Give, but don’t receive.

The fifth principle is brahmacarya, celibacy. Brahmacarya doesn’t mean remaining unmarried. A brahmacari is one who treads the brahmamarga. Cariyuncuta (Telugu) of Brahman is brahmacari or a celibate. Harmony in thought, word and deed is brahmacarya.

Then, there are five niyamas. They are tapas / penance, saucam / cleanliness, santosam / contentment, svadhyayam / scriptural reading, and isvara pranidhanam / dedicating all deeds to God.

Saucam includes both outer and inner cleanliness. It is not enough if you are clean outwardly, taking bath everyday and wearing ironed clothes. You should be clean inwardly also. Attachment and hatred usually pollute your mind. You should see that the mind is not polluted by these two evils. Therefore, both outer purity and inner purity are necessary.

The second niyama is tapas, penance. Tapas does not mean that you should run away from home leaving behind your property. It doesn’t mean that you should break your family ties and go to a forest or stand upside down with your head on the ground and the legs up above. No, true penance means saying what you think and doing it accordingly. In other words, the three H’s “Head, Heart and Hand” should be integrated by thought, word and deed. Giving up bad thoughts and deeds is penance. Pining for God or yearning for God is penance. Purging your heart with sacred thoughts is penance.

The third niyama is santosam. You are under the impression that by fulfilling your desires, you will be satisfied and happy, No. Contentment lies in putting a ceiling on your desires. Too many desires make your life miserable. You may offer any number of objects and any amount of material to fire. It will burn them all to ashes. Fire never says “no” or “enough” at any time. Like that, desires also have no limit.

The fourth niyama is svadhyaya or study of the Holy Scriptures. You should read everyday one Holy Scripture. This is called parayana, worshipful reading of a religious book everyday. This cleanses your mind to some extent.

The fifth one is isvara pranidhanam. God is in you in the form of your conscience. You should satisfy your conscience. This is most important.

Thus the five yamas and the five niyamas will help you achieve the objectives or goals of life purusarthas and sustain your human values making you a true human being.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Our ancients gave top priority to satya, truth. It is not so now. Is satya so very important?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: It is remarked that of all the values of life satya, truth is the highest, Satyannasti paro dharmah. All have truth as the basis. God is truth. The entire creation came into existence from that truth and will ultimately merge in truth.

So, understand that God is truth and that truth is God. So, live in truth. Truth is the foundation of righteous conduct and the route to peace, which will make your life one of love.

Why is the history of Harischandra remembered till this day? Because he adhered to truth at any cost even sacrificing his wife, son and kingdom.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! We do not have a precise idea of what dharma is and we are not able to conduct ourselves according to the little knowledge we have. Scholars expound dharma in a variety of ways. They designate one thing as dharma in one context and quite another in a different context. This adds to our confusion. Kindly explain dharma to us.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: What our elders and scholars had taught about dharma needs to be understood correctly. You should not hastily conclude that their views are contradictory. Take for example the dictum, satyannasti paro dharmah. What is to be chiefly noted here? The dictum means, ‘There is no dharma higher than satyam,’ and more too. The deeper meaning is, ‘the foundation of dharma is satyam.’ Now consider another dictum, ahimsa paramo dharmah. What does this mean? Earlier it is satyam which is said to be the foundation of dharma. Now, ahimsa, absence from violence, is called the highest dharma. Now ahimsa does not mean only refraining from violence. Harming none through word, deed or thought is true ahimsa. Here, it is seen that satyam has been touched upon obliquely. Satyam knows neither fear nor wrath. Satyagraha is not a hapy compound word. Where there is satyam, wrath does not exist. Satyam does not inflict pain. One, who is rooted in satyam, cannot undertake violence. Rather he considers ahimsa as his dharma. It is also said, vedokhilo dharmamulam. Veda which desribes yajnas, yagas and other rituals treats their performance as dharma. It is our duty to perform the deeds enjoined on us by Veda. Here, you have to consider dharma from the perspective of duty. You have to perform your duty, fulfil your obligations. Therefore, it is said, kartavyam yoga ucyate. In the verse from Gita, svadharme nidhanam sreyah, paradharmo bhayavahah, you have to realise that “svadharme” refers to atmadharma. On the other hand, the dharmas of the four castes and of the four stages, of life are matters of birth. The population of the world is a mixture of black, white, yellow, and brown hues and these are to be found in all countries. The dharmas of the four stages of life brahmacarya, garhastya, vanaprastha, and sanyasa are to be viewed as four kinds of steps, four processes of sadhana to reach Brahman, after performing the deeds enjoined as one’s duty. Thus, dharma is very subtle. The life force of satyam resides in utterance as does that of dharma in practice or action.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! Transformation of Man, how does this come about?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Actually transformation of man is transformation of mind. You wrongly tend to call it transformation of the heart. The heart is not the physical heart located in the left side of the chest. The spiritual heart is quite different and is all-pervasive. This is existence of awareness, and is not subject to change. Transformation of the mind is truly important, for only the one endowed with mind is to be called Man. An individual passes away, but his mind survives. That is why it is said, mana eva manus yanam, karanam bandhamoksayoh. The mind alone is the cause of bondage or release of men. When the mind reaches out, as it does in the Pravrttimarga, it gets saturated with desires, ideas, and worldly concerns. But when it is withdrawn in the nivrttimarga, all these are subdued. This state is called amanaskam, disinterestedness, and facilitates the experience of peace and joy. This is what is meant by transformation of the mind. Then alone is transformation of men possible.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! How are we to comprehend the three-fold path, karma, bhakti and jnana?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: You study your own wrist watches. Every watch has three hands the second, minute and hour, hasn’t it? The second hand should go round sixty times for the minute hand to move one place. Then the minute hand should go round sixty times for the hour hand to move to the next place. Here the second hand is karma marga, path of selfless action. The minute hand is bhakti marga, path of devotion, while the hour hand is jnana marga, path of wisdom.

I will give you another example. Most of you travel by train as you go home for vacation. You have three ways of reaching your destination. You can board a train, an express train that takes you to your place straight. You can also get into a train where the coach in which you are seated will be connected to another train at a railway junction. It is a through carriage and so you do not have to get down anywhere in between and change. Then there is another way. You catch a train and travel some distance, get down at a junction, and board another train to reach your place. This is a passenger train.

These three ways of journey hold good in the spiritual path as well. The path of selfless service, karma marga is travel by a passenger train. The path of devotion, bhakti marga is travel by a through carriage where the carriage will be connected without your having to get down, to another train. Finally, the path of wisdom, jnana marga, is an express train that takes you straight to your destination.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! It is said that we cannot escape from the consequences of our actions. It means we are responsible for both the good and the bad we experience. The fruits of our actions, thus, are inescapable. Then, how does devotion to God help us? Why should we be devoted to God at all?

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: God created the whole world and gave it to man to be happy and to utilise it freely. But, however, he gave it on one condition. “Oh Man! You do whatever you want, but be prepared to face the fruits of your actions. You cannot escape from the consequences of your actions. In full knowledge of this, from now, you can enjoy and do whatever you wish to in this world.”

So, for both good and bad, your actions are responsible. Then why should you be devoted to God? How does it help you? You may decide to raise onions or jasmines in your field according to your own liking, but you must pay the tax for utilising the land accordingly. Similarly the tax of the result of your actions is inescapable.

However you note one thing here. You pay income tax. You have to pay it proportionate to your income. There is no way out. But there is a provision for exemption. Be sure it is not definitely tax evasion. If you have paid some amount as premium to the Life Insurance Corporation, if you have paid some amount towards Provident Fund, you are eligible for some exemption out of the total tax payable by you. So, your taxable amount is reduced. Similarly, spiritual practices like daily prayer, service activity, meditation, worship, help you to reduce the intensity and magnitude of the consequences of your past actions which you face, karmaphala. They give you the courage and forbearance needed to endure the suffering.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! God is omnipresent. There is no place or object or person without divinity. All names as you have said are His. You have also said that all forms are His. In such a case how are we to comprehend, visualise and experience God.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Atmavat sarvabutani, eko vasl sarvabhutantaratma. Our scriptures say that God is the only one without a second. He has manifested Himself as many according to His will. ‘ekoham bahu syam,’ the one becoming many, everything is divine. The plurality or multiplicity or diversity is due to name and form.

You will notice that ‘jnani,’ the one who inquires, ‘jneya’, the one to be known and ‘jnana’ knowledge are one and the same. This is called ‘triputi’, trinity. Everything is out of that primordial principle of atma or consciousness.

The gross body, sthula, the subtle body, suksma, and the causal body, karana, of everyone are out of the atma only. You know the tamarind fruit. Its outer green covering, (physical, gross, sthula ), the middle soft pulp (subtle body, suksma), and the inner hard stone like seed (astral body, karana) are formed out of the original seed only. It is the seed that forms another seed in the times ahead. So, all the three are only atma.

I tell my students often, ‘You are not one, but three: the one you think you are (physical body), the one others think you are (individual mind), and the one you really are atma, conscience.’ You are born with a question, koham ? (Who am I?) If the reply is aham dehosmi , I am the body, it represents the first step, the one you think you are. To the same question koham, if the answer is aham, I am an individual jiva, it represents the second step, the one others think you are. But to the question koham, if the answer is aham brahmasmi, I am God, it conveys the real truth, the third step, the one you really are. This is your real nature.

It is the same atma that exists in all the three stages, jagrata, waking, svapna, dreaming and the susupti deep sleep. Atmavaisvanara plays all the three roles. Atmavaisvanara in the waking state operates in association with the body, the mind and the intellect. Atma functioning in the waking state may be called visva. Atmavaisvanara, functioning in a dream state, monitors the mind only. There is no body in the dreaming state as it lies on the bed. The entire thing is the creation of your mind only and the mind creates you when you pass through dream experiences. This atma of the dreaming state is known as taijasa. The third stage of deep sleep susupti also has the very same atma as in the previous two. In susupti the body, mind and intellect do not exist. Atma remains as an experiencer called prajna. So Atmavaisvanara left to itself is a pure, unsullied, unpolluted, eternal and immortal truth in the state of the ultimate turiya , expressed in the three levels of consciousness. In the waking state it is visva, in the dreaming it is taijasa while in deep sleep it is prajna. These are merely names given to the same atma in these three states, just as you know an actor playing three different roles. An actor by name Mallaya (equal to Atmavaisvanara, turiya state) plays the role of Dharmaja in one scene, visva, waking state, Arjuna in another scene, taijasa, dream state, and Bhima in still another scene, prajna , deep sleep state, while Mallaya (atma) remains the same basically.

So. in this universe everything is essentially atma. The five elements, the five senses of perception, the five senses of action, the five life breaths, the five life sheaths and the body constitute one wide area or realm called bhutakasa. The impact, influence, and effects of all these components of the sphere of bhutakasa (drawn from the outer world) are contained in or imprinted on a small sphere or field called chittakasa , viz. the mind, citta. But then there is atma which monitors and operates through the body, mind, intellect, the sense of ego (I-ness) known as cidakasa. These three are equivalent to the gross (sthula bhutakasa), the subtle (chittakasa- suksma) and the casual (cidakasa-karana) forms.

This is what Christ also said in his first statement, “I am the messenger of God”. This is dualism, dvaita. The next statement of Jesus was, “I am the son of God.: This is qualified non-dualism (visistadvaita).

Finally on the cross, Jesus said, “I and my Father in Heaven are one”. This is non dualism. In the Persian language too it is first said, “I am in the light”, which is the state of dvaita, dualism. Later it is said, “The light is in me”, which is qualified visistadvaita , nondualism and finally, it is stated, “I am the light”, which is advaita, nondualism. We can find in all these states unity in diversity. If you identify yourself with the body (aham dehosmi ), it is the one you think you are or, what Jesus said, ‘I am the messenger of God’ or it is bhutakasa which is dualism, dvaita. If you think you are an individual, jivi, the one others think you are or aham jivosmi, it yields the same meaning as in Jesus’ statement, “I am the son of God,” or the Persian declaration, “The light is in me” or chittakasa, qualified nondualism. But the final experience lies in knowing what you really are, aham brahmasmi, the same as what Christ said “I and my Father in Heaven are one” or the Persian declaration, “I am the light”, or cidakasa which is nondualism.

This is the one to be known and experienced. Hanuman said the same thing to Rama, “Oh! Rama! If I think I am the body, I am your servant; if I think I am an individual soul, jivi, you are my God, and if I think ‘I am atma’, you and I are one.” This is the path of enquiry that leads to the discovery of one’s true svarupa.

Question) Anil Kumar: Swami! God’s creation is absolutely good. Then, from where do we get anything bad in life? When there is nothing bad in your creation how can there be bad actions at all? Or do you say that there are both good and bad in your creation? Kindly clarify this doubt.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Creation is absolutely pure and good. There is no trace and scope for the bad to exist in God’s creation. It is only the factor of time that makes you take things as good or bad. You eat today a phalam, good fruit. Tomorrow, the very good fruit that you have eaten today transforms itself into malam, faeces. Is it not the same fruit? Is it not time that has brought about the change? Therefore, good and bad are present from your point of view. But to the divine both are the same as he is nondual.

God created everything for you to enjoy. It is in use that good and bad arise. For example, you brought all the necessary provisions from the market and kept them in the kitchen. It is now left for you to cook properly with these provisions. The taste depends on the way you cook, how and in what proportions you mix the provisions: You have the needed utensils and the material. Now it is up to you to cook your food properly and make it a delicacy. Similarly, God has given you everything. Good and bad depend on the way you use the material given to you.

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.

Twenty Seven Pages Of Satyopanishad:
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