|Date: 23 Nov 1999||Occasion: 74th Birthday||Place: Prasanthi Nilayam|
Embodiments of Love!
The Vedas, the very source of all spiritual principles, have been enlightening the whole world from ancient days from this holy land of Bharat (India). TheVedas are the very forms of God. Divinity resides in all, living and non-living things. Anoraneeyaan Mahatomaheeyaan --from the microcosm to the macrocosm, the entire universe is pervaded by Divinity. This viswa (cosmos) is the form of Divinity. From dawn to dusk, we experience this form of the Divine, and yet fail to realize this fact. All that your eyes see are forms of the Divine. All the sounds you hear are equally pervaded with Divinity. Even the thoughts in your mind are forms of the Divine. The bliss that emanates from the heart is also Divine. When everything that is seen, heard, experienced and enjoyed is Divine, how foolish it is to search for God elsewhere. You are seeing God in the form of the world every moment. Since you lack divine feeling, you see God as the world, instead of seeing the world as God. Once you understand that Viswam Vishnu Swarupam (the universe is the form of Vishnu), you will certainly be able to see the world as God. Yat Bhaavam Tat Bhavati (as is the feeling, so is the result).
Divinity pervades the entire cosmos. Do not have the feeling
that God is present in one place and not in another. He is everywhere. Wherever
you search for Him, you will find Him there. But you should give up worldly
feelings and fill your vision with divine feelings. Only then can you understand
and experience the Vedic dictum, Sarvam Vishnumayam Jagat (the
whole world is pervaded by God). Do not limit God to a particular name and form.
He exists in all beings and all forms as Atmic principle. In fact, it is
the power of the Divine that makes you see, hear, talk, experience, and enjoy. In
that case you may ask whether difficulties, worries and misfortunes are also
Divine? Yes indeed! They too are forms of the Divine.
Here is a small example. Lord Narayana protected Prahlada, who constantly chanted His name and contemplated on Him. But he became the Lord of Death for Hiranyakasipu who had no God consciousness and led a worldly life. So, both God and Yama (Lord of Death) are one and the same. He acts according to the feelings of the individual. Even the evilest of men have some good in them. This goodness is the aspect of Divinity in them. The Upanishads say, Easwarah Sarva Bhoothaanaam (God is the indweller of all beings), Isavaasyam Idam Jagat (God pervades the whole world). Do not be misled by terms like Atma, Brahma, Easwara, Vishnu. These are all synonyms of one and the same Divinity.
The term Bhagavan stands for Divinity. What is the inner meaning of this word? The syllable Bha stands for effulgence, ga for one who gives and van means one who is capable. So,Bhagavan means the one who is capable of spreading light and effulgence to the world. This Divinity is latent in you. The principle of Atma is one and the same in all, be it a yogi (renunciant), a bhogi (pleasure- seeker), a jogi (itinerant renunciant) or a viragi (dispassionate one). It is present in theists and also in atheists. But, you are unable to recognize this all-pervasive Divinity. You are undertaking various spiritual practices limiting Divinity to a particular name of individual preference. Spiritual practices should confer the awareness that Divinity is all-pervasive. Just as fire is needed till the rice is cooked, so also the spiritual practices are needed till you realize the innate Divinity.
Even if you sow seeds, how can you expect crops if there are no rains? Even if there are rains, you cannot expect crops if you do not sow seeds. Likewise, both human effort and Divine grace are needed to achieve success in any endeavor. Though butter is present all over the milk, one cannot see it, unless one curdles the milk and churns it. Likewise, though Divinity is all-pervasive, one cannot experience it, unless one makes appropriate efforts. Human effort can be compared to churning of milk. Once the butter is separated from the milk by churning, it will not get mixed with milk again. If you partake of the churned butter, your entire being experiences it. Likewise, you will become one with Divinity once you have experience it.
Before partaking of food, you offer it to Brahma by chanting the following sloka (verse) from the Bhagavad Gita:
Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmagnou Brahmana Hutham
Brahmaiva Thena Ganthavyam
Where is Brahma? He is very much present in you. That is why you get the reply immediately from within:
Aham Vaishvanaro Bhoothva
God is present in you in the form of Vaishvanara. He digests the food that you partake of and distributes the essence to all parts of the body. God, who is present within is called Vaishvanara and the all-pervasive Divinity is known as Vishnu. Devotees attribute different names and forms to God based on their feelings, but God is one. Worship Him with the feeling that He is not separate from you. He is in you. He is the embodiment of love. He will manifest from within only when you develop pure and selfless love. Spiritual practices done without the principle of love is useless. Some people sit hours together in meditation, but are unable to experience Divinity because their mind is unsteady. Instead of wasting time in this manner, better that they do some useful work. God is the embodiment of time. So, do not waste time. Sarvada Sarvakaaleshu Sarvathra Hanchinthanam, think of God at all places, at all times, under all circumstances. Pure and selfless love is the only way to attain Divinity. Fulfillment of worldly desires will confer only temporary happiness. So, put a check over your desires. Your goal is permanent and eternal bliss. It is within you and can be attained only through love.
Every cell in your body contains the details of your whole being. In effect every cell in your body holds your whole form. There are billions of cells in your body. While your form is immanent in each cell and in each limb in the microcosm, your body is your own macrocosmic form. In the same manner each one of you is the cosmic divine form (Viswavirat Swarupa). To fully appreciate this reality needs some effort.
You go to a village to see your friend, but you do not know his address. How can you expect to meet him unless you know his correct address? Here is another example: Many people have gathered here now. You want to meet a particular boy. You say that he has put on a bush coat, a pant and has got a good hairstyle. But this information is not sufficient to trace the boy, because there may be many boys in this crowd who fit this description. Instead if you announce his name, say Ramakrishna, from the stage, immediately he will get up from the crowd. It is the name that leads you to the form. That is why the ancient sages and seers started namachinthana (continuous contemplation on the Divine name) to have the vision of God. They undertook various spiritual practices with total devotion and earnestness. Do not dismiss this effort as meaningless.
The other day, I spoke about Bhavani-Shankara. Bhavani symbolizes earnestness, and Shankara stands for faith. You can achieve anything in life if you have earnestness and faith. Since this world is the very form ofBhavani-Shankara, it is called Ardhanaareeshwararupa (Androgynous). It is based on this that we use Srimati to address ladies and Sri to address gentleman. The ancient sages and seers said, Sraddhavan labhate jnanam --wisdom can be attained only through earnestness. You should consider (viswasa) as your life breath (swaasa).
God has many names and forms. Sambhartha and Bhartha are two of those names of God. Sambhartha is one who creates everything taking nature (prakriti) as the means and Bharta is one who sustains and protects the creation. Telugu speaking people use this word for husband, but it actually means master, sustainer, and protector.
Today, you are wasting your time by not making any effort to know Divinity. Out of 24 hours in a day, allot 6 hours for personal work, 6 hours for social service, 6 hours for sleeping and the remaining 6 hours for spiritual practices like japa (soft repetition of the name), dhyana (meditation) and yoga. Some people say they do not have time to think of God, but they waste hours together in mundane matters. Life becomes meaningless if you do not think of God. Body is gifted to make proper use of time. Body will be sanctified only when it is used for sacred activities. You should understand the relationship between body (kayamu), time (kalamu) and responsibility (karthavyamu). Do not waste even a single moment. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to contemplate on Divine Mother day in and day out. Before going to bed, he would feel sad thinking that another day had passed without the darshan of the Divine Mother. He used to think, "Perhaps my heart has not become ripe to deserve the Divine grace. What is the use of eating an unripe fruit? So, I shall ripen my heart and offer it to Mother." That is the true spiritual practice in its subtle essence.
A student cannot be promoted to a higher class if he is not
subjected to test. One does not get a job unless one passes the test and
interview. Similarly, God tests a devotee for his welfare and progress. Test is
Even Narada, who always used to sing the glory of Lord Narayana, was
subjected to test by Lord Narayana. He said, "Narada, have you tried to
understand the mystery of My creation? I created the five elements. This entire
cosmos is made up of these five elements. Which of these five elements is most
important?" Narada replied, "How can I not know this, my Lord? I have cognized
everything in this creation. If I cannot understand this truth who else can?"
The Lord then asked, "Which among the five elements is the most important?"
Narada replied, "Water is most important, for three-fourths of the earth is
enveloped by water. Land is only one-fourth of the earth's surface." Narayana
remarked, "But, the sage Agastya drank up the ocean in a single gulp. So, is
Agastya greater or water?" Narada replied, "You are right my Lord, Agastya is
greater than water." Narayana asked again, "But, this Agastya is a tiny star in
the sky (akasa). Now is this star greater or the sky?" Narada replied,
"It is the sky that is greater." The lord agreed and said, "Your understanding
is correct. The sky indeed is greater.
In His incarnation as Vamana, the Lord asked for three steps from king Bali. And in the course of taking the gift of three steps, Vamana assumed the form of Thrivikrama and covered the entire earth in one step, and the space from the earth to the sky in second and there was no room for the third step. King Bali had to offer his head for the third step. So now, is God great or the sky?" Narada replied, "Swami, when the mere foot of the Lord covers the entire sky, how much greater His full form would be? God indeed is greater." "God, who envelops the entire cosmos is imprisoned in the heart of His bhakta (devotee). So now, is the heart of the devotee greater or God?" asked Narayana. Narada replied, "Indeed, the heart of the devotee is greater".
Narayana replied, "I am a resident of your heart (Hridayavaasi). I am a prisoner of your heart. I have no freedom and have to go along with the desires of My devotees." But no one can decide the functions and activities of God. Such questions of the actions of God are futile. When everything is pervaded with God, what is there that he is not capable of doing?
There is no constraint of time, place, distance or complexity to the actions of God. There is no creature that can impose limitations or constraints on God. God is utterly selfless. All His actions are sacred whether it seems pleasant or unpleasant to you. Students are sometimes confused. They feel, if Swami is God, will He do this or that. How can you decide what God should do? No one has the authority to question the powers of God. He alone decides whether to reward, punish, protect or destroy any thing.
Yada, Yada Hi Dharmasya Glaanir Bhavati
Abhyutthaanamadharmasya Thdaatmaanam Srulaamyaham.
God incarnates from age to age, whenever there is a decline of righteousness to destroy the evil and protect the righteous. Sathya (truth) has to be upheld and asathya (untruth) is to be destroyed. Dharma is to be protected, Adharma is to be destroyed.
You go to the market and buy a mango. Just because you paid for whole mango, you will not eat the rind or the seed. In the same way, you should only accept what is good and reject what is waste. It is human nature to accept the good and wholesome and reject the filth.
Swami's body is human. So are all yours. How do we expound the
unity principle (advaita)? There are three forms of this principle of
oneness: Unity of substance, unity of matter, and unity of action. This piece of
cloth is a single entity. There is yarn in it. The yarn is made of cotton. When
all these are woven together, you get a piece of cloth. If you unravel the
material, the cloth, the thread and the cotton all fall apart. When such a
combination of matter in different forms is made a simple object is produced.
This is one kind of unity --material unity.
While the names and forms are
different, the substance (pancha bhutas) of all bodies are the same and
are suffused with the five sensory perceptions (sabda, sparsha, rupa, rasa, and gandha) and the five life principles
(prana, apana, vyana, udana, and samana) are
the same in all of you. No matter where you are, your body is composed of the
five elements only. There is no sixth element anywhere.
This body is a den of
corruption, full of diseases, continually changing;
how can it cross the ocean of samsara?
Oh mind! For certain this body is transient.
Keep your mind firmly on the Feet of the Lord and surrender to it.
When the five elements are separated from the body, it loses its identity. Once the life has left, the body is only fit for burial or cremation, the elements fall apart into their original form. Therefore, before the body perishes, make all effort to experience the Divinity within. It is only through body that one can experience Divinity. So, body has to be properly taken care of. The body is Karmakshetra (center of all activities), the Heart is Dharmakshetra (center of righteousness) and Divinity is Brahmakshetra. (center of Brahma). The Divinity enshrined in the heart is Brahmakshetra. So, to understand the pure Brahmakshetra, it is necessary for you to purify your Dharmakshetra, that is your heart. Karmakshetra and Dharmakshetra are in the same body. This is why the Bhagavad Gita begins, Dharmakshetra Kurukshetre..." All thoughts arising in the mind also pertain to the Karmakshetra (Kurukshetra). Thus all actions of karma and dharma are performed in the same field of the body, which includes the Dharmakshetra and Karmakshetra. Divinity intervenes and separates the Dharmakshetras and Karmakshetras (Kurukshetra). A man of discernment is able to make this discrimination between dharma and karma.
In this world, there is nothing easier than attaining God. You
face hardships and feel dejected because you do not understand this truth. Last
night, you would have seen the drama staged by the students, wherein a
businessman weeps for not being able to get a business license from the
government authority. Instead of shedding tears for such mundane things, why
don't you pine for the vision of God?
Once Vivekananda asked Ramakrishna Paramahamsa whether he had seen God. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa emphatically replied, "Yes, I have seen God. I have seen Him just as I am seeing you and you are seeing me." "Then how is it that I don't see Him?" asked Narendra (Vivekananda). Ramakrishna gave a full answer, "You weep for your family, you suffer for your business and wealth, but do you ever weep or yearn for a vision of God? Do that and you will certainly see God! All the time I am pining only for the vision of God. Therefore, God is visible for me for all the time in every human being." The purpose of our birth should be achieved by the sacrifice of everything. Therefore the Vedas say, Na karmana, na prajaya, dhanena thyagenaikena amrutatwamanusuhu (sacrifice alone ensures immortality).
We breathe in; if we do not exhale, the lungs will not be able to function properly. We eat. If we do not excrete, our stomach is upset. Similarly, in our circulatory system, blood is traversing an enormous distance each day. If a little is blocked at any location in this journey, a clot develops. The flow of blood works for the removal of all kinds of toxic products produced in the body and helps in the ejection of the same. Without evacuation of unhealthy substances from the body, good health is not possible. Thus, in sacrifice also there is satisfaction. In fact, there is ananda (bliss) in sacrifice. The practical man of today questions the usefulness of sacrifice. Man is so selfish that he refuses even to give a handful of food to a starving beggar. How much joy is experienced when one is able to satisfy the hunger of a hungry person! Would you not feel joy when a few starving people are fed? In human society, narrow-minded selfishness is rampant.
Once, in Mumbai, Indulal Shah, Dr. Keki, and Swami were going from Dharmakshetra to the city. A beggar approached. Indulal Shah gave the beggar a 2 rupee note. The beggar threw back the note at him, saying that it would not fetch even a loaf of bread. A beggar can discard 2 rupees without any regret. Such is the state of society today. Money has lost its basic value. Why, money, even human life, has very little value in today's society. People struggle hard to amass wealth, comfort and happiness, even risking their own life. When somebody dies in an accident or calamity, the government gives a few rupees as compensation for the life lost. Are a few rupees the worth of a life? Has it become that cheap? No, human life is worth a lot more. When the body is dead, the life principle is not altogether lost.
People are in search of shortcuts for everything, even spirituality. But, in practice there is a shortcut to Divinity. There is no need to wander here and there. God is residing in your heart. Turn your vision inward. You can see God instantly. This is the easiest path. Where is God? Have full faith that Divinity resides in you. If you keep reminding yourself constantly that you are a part of Divinity, you are bound to become Divine yourself. On the other hand, if the feeling is that you are something apart from the Divine, you shall remain far from Divinity always. There is no need for you to give up your vocations, keep doing your function in society, but always remember that you are essentially Divine. God Himself intervenes when His devotees are in distress in the performance of their functions in society. You all know the story of Gora Kumbhar and Kabir. When they were confronted with impossible tasks they were helped by God in person, who completed their task of making pots or weaving cloth. God is capable of taking any form that He Wills. Hence is He known as the Viraat Swarupa. The Purusha Sukta (in the Rig Veda) says, Sahasra Seerasha Purushaha, Sahasraaksha Sahasra Paath ...", while describing the Viraat Swarupa. The Viraat Purusha has innumerable limbs.
Become worthy of His love. You can achieve everything. This is
possible only through a nishkama prema (unselfish love). Self by itself
is devoid of love. Love is in fact selflessness. By cultivating such selfless
love, you become Divine yourself. And this Divinity is an undivided ONE. Hence
is it said, "Advaita darshanam jnanam (vision is unity is true wisdom)."
Cultivate your faith and make it firm. There should be no ups and downs in this
faith. If you allow such vacillations, you are likely to lose whatever faith you
have. A firm faith results in your attaining Brahmananda (Divine Bliss).
The happiness experienced with the body is human (dehananda). The joy
felt in the mind is chitthananda (intellectual pleasure). When the mind
is suppressed, joy is felt in the heart. The joy experienced by the heart is chidananda, which is immeasurably greater than the joy of the mind. The chitthanananda is higher by a similar order of magnitude from the bodily
happiness (dehananda). We are losing our opportunity of attaining this
level of bliss needlessly. Step by step you have to rise through these levels of
happiness until you attain Brahmananda.
In this way, you merge your personal bliss into the universal bliss of Brahmananda, which is eternal nityanandam (eternal bliss)...etc. (Sanskrit Verse). One has to experience this bliss, which is none other than satchidananda. Sath is being, which is eternal. Chit is total knowledge i.e. omniscience. When these two are united, total joy i.e. satchidananda is realized. Since sath, chit and ananda are present in each individual, it is asserted that God is present in everyone in the form of satchidananda. Therefore, you need not perform any sadhana (spiritual practice) or if you are following some such practice, there is no need for you to abandon it. But in any event, surrender your heart to God. This is called saranagati (surrender). Once Lakshmana told Rama that his all i.e. wealth, family, possessions, and his very bodily service, was for the use of Rama.
Rama said, I do not need all this, what use have I for all these, just purify your thoughts, words, and deeds and your heart. With that you will experience heaven itself. They say happiness is heaven itself. Happiness is obtained by the control of the senses. So, you can attain heaven by controlling your senses. Many people say that they experience the very heaven in Prasanthi Nilayam. How long will this happiness last? This will vanish the moment you leave this place. True heaven is inside you. This is again described as immortality. What is meant by immortality? The body is mortal, but the life principle is imperishable. If you have to attain this level of immortality, extend total love to God. This should be unconditional love. There should be no conditions to love. It is like going to a goldsmith with a piece of gold and asking him to make some jewelry of the design of your liking. Your business is only to leave the gold with him with the condition that the weight and design should be to your specification. You have no business to interfere in the manner in which he converts your lump of gold into the piece of jewel you want. If you start stipulating that you should not burn it in fire, or beat it with a hammer, how can you get the ornament that you ordered? In the same way, if your surrender of your heart to God is with conditions and reservations, how can you attain the bliss that you seek? Once complete surrender is performed, God will grant you the bliss you deserve. What He does with it in the meanwhile is His business. A love full of conditions will only result in very sad state for your body and mind. Therefore, pray to God with unconditional surrender. When all that you possess, your body, your mind, your intellect, are His gifts, where is the need for your laying conditions?
Be fearless. Lead your life without fear disturbing it. Do not be guided by the opinions and advice of others around you into actions not in line with your conscience. There are a few who piously place the mark of vibhuti (holy ash) on their forehead while at home, but wipe it off the moment they step out. There are some that are even ashamed to say that they are coming to Prasanthi Nilayam and tell their friends that they are going to Anantapur. Why should you worry about their opinion? Is it something wrong to come here? There are so many wrong things that you do without any fear, then what is there to be afraid of to say that you are going to see God? One should never be afraid of expressing one's faith in God. Come forward boldly. These days people are afraid or ashamed of performing their cultural and spiritual practices as also to perform good deeds.
(Swami sang a Telugu song describing the plight of those who are constantly afraid).
Abandon fear and live your life in bliss. Involvement in worldly life has made you fearful and forget your spiritual way of living. The bliss that is experienced when you are with God is beyond words, inexpressible. Words and thoughts return in utter futility, unable to describe the experience. It is this type of divinely bliss in which you should lead your daily life. Such is true human living. Having been born as a human being, you should not waste your life living like an animal. Eating, drinking, procreation, sleep, etc., are common to men and animals. What distinguishes man from other living things? Man is the only living being endowed with capacity for wisdom. A man without wisdom is no better than an animal. From living at a human level, one should aspire to reach the Divine. Of the several levels of living, at a low level is the demonic, then the animal, higher is human, and ultimately the divine. When such a divine life is within your reach and sight, why should you fear? Be fearless in this respect and do not let your company to lead you astray.
The other day, Bhagavan told you about the books that you should study. In fact, the only book that is worth studying is the world itself. This is the only book that contains everything you need. Once you have finished reading this book, discard it.
Three principles are expounded in respect of spirituality. These are:
Once you are fully aware of these three principles, you can achieve anything.
Swami's message for you today is Swami is: you and you are Swami. In fact, Swami is not apart from you.
Who invited you here? You have all come here out of love for Swami. Out of this love alone, so many thousands have assembled here. Here is Bhagavan, ready to be taken away by you. Carry Him away with you as you like. Those who love Bhagavan wholeheartedly, to them He belongs wholly. All that Bhagavan asks of you is your wholehearted unconditional love. Recognize this truth and lead your life filled with love. Take this as Swami's gift to you. Do not hate anybody. Hating anybody is no different from hating God Himself. Surrender your whole being and belongings to God. Experience unalloyed Divine bliss.
Pursue your study diligently. Obtain good positions in your examination. Get good jobs in your appropriate chosen fields and serve your motherland. Swami has no desire to stop anybody from working in any profession or getting married or going abroad for study or work. Go wherever you please. Do whatever job that is your lot, but never forget God. Anything you do with God in your heart is pleasing to Me. Forgetting God is no different from forgetting yourself.
One who is wandering in search of God is a fool. Is there anyone in the world who will go about searching for himself? If you go to somebody and ask, where am I, you will be promptly put in a mental asylum. Since you are Divinity itself and Divinity is your own self, where is the need for any search? Search for God is an expression invented by sterile scholars. There is no need for such an expression. You can search for the things of the world, but do not go in search of God, for He is everywhere. If you have this faith, you cannot help seeing Him and for certain you will enjoy bliss. Strengthen your faith.
[Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the bhajan, "Hari Bhajana Bina Sukha Santhi Nahi...".]