|Date: 11 Oct 2002||Occasion: Dasara (day 3)||Place: Prasanthi Nilayam|
Those who have the spirit of sacrifice
without any trace of body attachment
or infatuation are truly our gurus then and now.
The word of Sai is verily the truth.
Embodiments of Love!
God pervades every cell and atom of the universe, spreading His divine
effulgence everywhere. The Upanishads have declared that God is
all-pervasive and all that one sees is only the manifestation of
divinity. Unfortunately, man today is not making any attempt to
understand and experience the teachings of Upanishads and that of
ancient sages and seers. Though the Upanishads have revealed the
all-pervasiveness of Divinity in the simplest manner, it is rather
surprising that man is not making any effort to understand the same.
number of examples can be given to prove the existence of Divinity. Who
is responsible for the sweetness in sugarcane? Who has made the chillies
hot and spicy? Every object in this world has a unique attribute, which
proves the existence of divinity as its very life principle. Who is the
cause for the bitterness in neem and fragrance in flower? It is the
manifestation and expression of Divinity. Any number of examples can be
given, which will help you to understand the existence of Divinity.
People say fragrance is the natural quality of a flower and do not enquire further. Who is responsible for this natural quality? You feel thrilled when you look at a mountain. Boundless joy flows through you when you see a stream in full flow. You feel ecstatic watching a lush green forest. Is it just the law of nature or the mystery of God? It is not merely the law of nature but the mysterious manifestation of God in the form of nature. How can one explain the presence of bird inside an egg? All these are pointers to Divinity. You do not need to undertake any particular sadhana (spiritual exercise) in order to visualise Divinity. You can experience Him in each atom and each cell of the creation.
Man is born to parents. Everyone, including you and Me, transcendental. This being
so, how can man understand God in His fullness? Hence, it is not easy to
please God and earn His grace. Only when you understand the divine
principle fully well would you have worshipped God in the true sense.
How can one understand the divine principle, which is Nirgunam, Niranjanam, Sanathana Niketanam, Nitya, Shuddha, Buddha, Mukta, Nirmala Swarupinam (attributeless, pure, final abode, eternal, unsullied, enlightened, free and embodiment of sacredness). Can anyone comprehend the mystery behind the existence of the bird in an egg? How has the sugarcane acquired sweetness? It is not possible to understand these subtleties. The sweetness of sugarcane, the hot taste of chilli, the sour taste of tamarind, the bitter taste of neem --all these are the expressions of God. God has created these things to make us understand His existence. The mighty mountains, the beautiful rivers, and the raging waves of ocean --all these speak of the mystery, grandeur and beauty of God. It is impossible to describe the splendour of God and to comprehend His powers. But man tries to estimate the infinite Divine power with his finite mind and limited capacity.
Embodiments of Love!
Divinity can neither be expressed in words nor be gauged by the
mind. Yatho vacho nivarthanthe aprapya manasa saha (whence the words
along with the mind rebound in futility without comprehending Divinity),
people attempt to describe God based on their own finite understanding.
Only Himself and none else knows God's plans, His mysterious nature and
ways. When your mind is unable to comprehend even trivial matters, how
can it estimate the infinite Divine principle? Hence, do not try to
understand the ways of the Divine. Instead purify your heart and try to
know your true nature.
The same is stated in Vedanta: "Know Thyself ".
Modern students argue foolishly, "Where is the need to know, 'who I am',
when I am already aware of it? " They think that knowing their names,
nativity, profession, nationality, etc., amounts to knowing themselves.
They say, "I am so and so, I belong to such and such a place. I do such
and such job, etc. " These answers relate to the body and not to the real
Self. These are born out of body attachment and not out of awareness of
The vedantic statement "Know Thyself " does not mean knowing
about your physical body-height, weight, complexion, etc. You are not
merely an individual (vyashti). Your true identity corresponds to
samashti (society). The same 'I' exists in you as well as in society.
Sarvata Panipadam Tat Sarvathokshi Siromukham,
Sarvata Sruthimalloke Sarvamavruthya Thishthati
With hands, feet, eyes, heads, mouth and ears
He permeates the entire universe.
The Atmic principle is all-pervasive and is uniformly present in all beings. There may be difference based on names, forms and educational qualifications, but the Atma is one and the same in everyone. You have to make efforts to visualise and experience this oneness.
Embodiments of Love!
Instead of visualising the unity in diversity, man is doing the opposite. The essence of Vedanta lies in seeing unity in diversity. Vedanta is the quintessence of the Upanishads. What is the inner meaning of the term Upanishads? Upa --near, ni --down, and shad --sit. It means that you should sit down at the feet of the master and listen to his teachings. Even in schools, the teacher is seated on a higher pedestal and the students sit down close to him. The Upanishads contain many lofty ideals and sacred inner meanings. The truth the Upanishads teach is embodied in the principle of the Atma.
The Atma is formless and steady. It has no feet, but It moves about everywhere. It has no ears, but It can hear everything. It is present everywhere, but none can grasp it. Everything is under its control. This is the mysterious and magnificent power of Atma.
When you respect and love an individual, he will respect you and love you in turn. But when you respect and love everyone, God Himself will respect you and love you. You should make efforts to become recipients of God's love.
The divine principle of Atma present in humanity is all-encompassing. Its vastness is beyond any description or estimation. However, physical forms can be considered as pointers to it. When someone asks you, "Sir, have you seen Anil Kumar in Prasanthi Nilayam? ", you say, "Yes, I have seen him. He wears a good suit, speaks good English, is brown-complexioned, talks in a humorous manner. " You are able to recognise only his physical features and behaviour. But there are many more things in him that you cannot see. Can you recognise the feelings he has in his mind? It is impossible.
You are able to see only the physical body and the external behaviour. But you are not able to visualise the eternal flow of bliss within. All types of power are latent in man. You may be highly educated, but from where did you acquire your education? You have not acquired it from outside. It has originated from the Self.
Non-dualism is the essence of Vedanta. Advaita darshanam jnanam (Perception of non-duality is the supreme wisdom). Not all can have the experience of non-dualism. Man is immersed in dualism. Dual mind is the root cause of unsteadiness. A man with dual mind is half blind. How can such a person understand the sacred teachings of Vedanta? The teachings that are found in Vedanta are not found in any other text. Each verse in Vedanta is a repository of supreme bliss. Even if you were to use the ocean water as the ink, it will not be sufficient to describe the greatness of these verses in full. Each sloka (verse) is pregnant with such profound meaning. Man is not making any attempt to understand these slokas. As a result, he is being immersed in shoka (sorrow).
Sage Valmiki composed the great epic Ramayana, the inner significance of which could not be understood by all. G.G. Krishna was a great astrologer and a saint. He said that, as he read the Ramayana repeatedly, he was able to get new insights into the sacred epic. He was curious to know how Sage Valmiki described the mysterious birth of Sita. It is mentioned in the Ramayana that King Janaka found her while he was ploughing the field for the performance of a yajna. But nothing is mentioned as to how she was born. He called her Bhujaatha, meaning, one born out of Mother Earth.
King Janaka had the Siva Dhanus (bow of Lord Siva) in his palace. It was
so heavy that no ordinary mortal could lift it. When Sita was young, one
day she was enjoying a game of ball with other girls. It so happened
that the ball rolled over and went under the case in which Siva's bow
was kept. All the girls tried their might to move the bow aside, but in
vain. Other strong men were called and they used all their strength to
move the bow, but it did not budge an inch. King Janaka was watching all
this from the balcony with curiosity. But Sita did not notice her
father. After some time, she smilingly asked everybody to move aside and
casually pulled the bow with her left hand and retrieved the ball. King
Janaka was astonished at Sita's mighty power. He thought, "It is because
of merits done in many past lives that I could have Sita as my
daughter. " He decided that he would give her in marriage only to the one
who could lift Lord Siva's bow.
He performed a grand yajna and invited
many kings to try their hand at lifting Lord Siva's bow and win Sita's
hand. Many kings and princes assembled in King Janaka's court. The bow
was so heavy that hundreds of elephants were required to carry it to the
place of contest. People wondered how anybody could lift such a
heavy bow. Kings, one after the other, tried to lift the bow, but
miserably failed in their attempts.
Then came Ravana. His very
appearance instilled fear in the minds of people. They felt that Ravana
was no match to Sita, the embodiment of all beauty. Sita's mother
Sunayana was praying fervently to Lord Siva to see that Ravana failed in
his attempt to lift the bow. Meanwhile, Ravana used all his might to
lift the bow, and in the process, lost his balance and fell down. He got
trapped under the bow and could not extricate himself. He felt
humiliated in the open court.
At the insistance of Viswamitra, Rama walked
slowly and majestically toward the bow. Lakshmana was sure that Rama
could lift the bow. People were stricken with awe, watching the
splendour and gait of Rama. They felt He was a perfect match to Sita.
Sunayana also had the same feeling. But she was anxious whether the
young Rama would be able to lift the mighty bow and win the hand of
Sita. As people watched with amazement, Rama effortlessly lifted the bow
with his left hand, even as Sita had done it with her left hand earlier.
As Rama bent the bow to string it, it broke with a deafening sound.
musicians with their various instruments burst into song. King Janaka's
joy knew no bounds. He at once came toward Rama along with his daughter
Sita, who was holding a garland in her hand. He said, "Rama, I had made
a promise that Sita would be given in marriage to the one who lifted the
bow of Lord Siva. I want to give my daughter to you and keep up my
But Rama was not willing to accept the marriage proposal
without the permission of His parents. He was the paragon of all
virtues. "Sarve loka hithe rathah (one engaged in the welfare of all).
Sarve jnanopasampannah (one who is endowed with all wisdom). Sarve samudhitha gunaihi (one replete with all praiseworthy virtues) ". Rama
embodied these ideals. When Janaka brought Sita to Him, He did not even
look at her, for He considered it improper to look at her before
The conduct of modern youth stands in stark contrast to the exemplary behaviour of Rama. They are besides themselves at the thought of marriage. The question of their seeking the permission of their parents does not even arise in their minds. Viswamitra also tried to persuade Rama to accept the marriage proposal. But Rama was firm in His resolve. He said, "I have to follow dharma, and not the wishes of individuals. However, I respect everybody. "
After three days, King Dasaratha along with his entire family, friends, and relatives arrived in Mithila. It is only after obtaining His father's permission that Rama agreed to the wedding. But, later on, when His father Dasaratha and preceptor Vasishtha urged Him to ascend the throne, He did not pay heed to their words. He went into the forest against their wishes. His only intention was to uphold the promise made by His father. He did not want to put His father's name to disrepute. Hence, He sacrificed the kingdom and all comforts and left for the forest.
The marriage ceremony was in progress. As part of the ritual, a curtain was placed between the bride and groom. As long as it was there, they were not supposed to look at each other. But, Sita and Rama, being highly virtuous, did not look at each other even after the curtain was removed. Both were looking down. Then Viswamitra in a lighter vein said, "Oh Rama! Sita is the daughter of Mother Earth. Why don't You look at her, instead of looking at Mother Earth? " Rama had not seen Sita till then. Since He had not tied the mangalasutra till then, He felt it was a sin to look at her. He considered all women to be His mothers. One should try to emulate such exemplary behaviour. In a family, both husband and wife should lead a virtuous life. Even if one of them is wanting in virtues, they cannot enjoy peace and happiness.
The wedding took place. It was now time for the garlanding ceremony. Sita waited with the garland in her hands. She, being short in stature, could not garland Rama, who was tall and broad-shouldered. Moments passed but Rama would not bend His head! He did not want to bend His head before a woman in order to protect His own honour. He looked at Lakshmana and made an almost imperceptible gesture. The four brothers were always sharp and alert. This was depicted in Thyagaraja's song.
But for their devotion to Rama,
Would a monkey cross the ocean?
Would the goddess Lakshmi worship You?
Would Lakshmana willingly serve You?
Would the highly intelligent Bharata offer his prostrations to You?
Oh! How great indeed is the power of devotion to Lord Rama's strength.
Lakshmana was the incarnation of Adisesha --the heavenly serpent that carried the entire world on its hood. He understood that Rama wanted him to raise the portion of earth where Sita was standing. He indicated that if Sita was raised, so would everyone else! Lakshmana hit upon an idea. All of a sudden, he fell at Rama's feet and would not get up. Rama was forced to bend down and raise Lakshmana from His feet. Sita was highly intelligent. Grabbing this chance, she at once placed her garland on Rama's neck. There should be such an understanding between husband and wife.
If you aspire to attain God, you have to make efforts to acquire the necessary eligibility. That is true spirituality. That is the essence of the Upanishads. God submits Himself to those who understand the essence of the Upanishads and act accordingly. Who is God? What does He look like? Do not limit Him to a name and a form like Rama, Krishna, Govinda, Narayana, etc. In fact, He has no specific name and form. He is the embodiment of Energy. These Navaratri celebrations are meant to worship God in the form of energy. One should not pray for temporary results. Instead, one should pray for divine grace with pure, steady and selfless devotion. Once you have divine grace, you can achieve anything.
Embodiments of Love!
Nobody can understand the efficacy of the mantras that the rithwiks
chant during the performance of the yajna. These brahmins are
pure-hearted. I want to tell you a small example. At 12 o' clock in the
noon, the brahmins assembled for lunch here. But the person who was
doing the Sahasra Lingarchana did not get up from his place, since he had
not completed the ritual. Similarly, the person who was reading the
Bhagavata and the four brahmins who were doing Veda Parayanam did not
get up from their seats till they completed their tasks. The person who
does Sahasra Lingarchana did not get up till 2'o clock in the afternoon.
It is because of their dedication and devotion that the mantras they
chant assume greater significance. Even if you do not understand their
meanings, you will derive immense benefit by listening to them. This
listening will ultimately take you to liberation.
Sravanam (listening), kirtanam (singing), Vishnusmaranam (contemplating on Vishnu), Padasevanam (serving His Lotus Feet), vandanam (salutation), archanam (worship), dasyam (servitude), sneham (friendship), Atmanivedanam (Self-surrender). As long as you do not develop sneham with God, you will not be able to attain the stage of Atmanivedanam. The first step to self-surrender is sravanam.
The yajna that we are performing now is meant for loka kalyanam (good of the world). Do not think that we are performing the yajna just because people are performing yajnas elsewhere. This yajna is being performed with total spirit of sacrifice. We have no desires or expectations. Our only desire is that everyone should be happy. People perform yajna and yagas to overcome famine and drought situations. But I don't take such things into consideration. I do not give scope for such constricted vision. Famine, drought, etc., come and go. Whatever you do should confer everlasting happiness on all. It should help you to attain divine grace.
Tomorrow, I shall explain the teachings of Upanishads and their inner meanings.
(Bhagawan concluded His discourse with the bhajan, "Hari Bhajana Bina Sukha Santhi Nahi... ".)