|Date: 23 Nov 2002||Occasion: Birthday||Place: Prasanthi Nilayam|
Embodiments of Love!
Every person and every living being aspires to attain peace and happiness. Everyone is trying to know the objective of life. But they are not able to succeed in their endeavour. One in a million will persist with strong determination and will not give up till the goal is realised. Ordinary mortals will not make any efforts in this direction since they think it is something beyond their reach. They spend their lives in the pursuit of physical and ephemeral pleasures. They are under the delusion that food, raiment, and shelter are the three main objectives of human life. Their life centres round their wives and children. They fail to realise that there is a higher purpose in life than this.
People pursue various paths to experience the everlasting bliss. The
Taittiriya Upanishad gives the analogy of a bird in this context. The
head of this bird is called sraddha (sincerity). The right and left
wings are compared to ritham and sathyam (truth) respectively. The body
symbolises mahattattwam and the tail, yoga.
What is ritham?
Trikalabadhyam ritham (ritham remains unchanged in the three periods of
time --past, present, and future).
Sraddha is very important. Sraddhavan labhate jnanam (with sincerity, wisdom is won). In the Bhagavadgita, Krishna said, "One with sraddha can attain Me. " He further declared, "I am the very embodiment of sraddha. " One without sraddha cannot accomplish even a small task. Especially, in the field of spirituality, sraddha is very essential. Strong and unwavering faith leads to sraddha. The Upanishads have expounded the principle of sraddha in varied ways. Wisdom attained through sraddha is tharakam (liberation). Lack of sraddha is marakam (bondage). The eternal principle of tharaka must be understood, practised and propagated. This is the fundamental teaching of Taittiriya Upanishad.
Embodiments of Love!
The Taittiriya Upanishad emphasises the need to develop sraddha in all walks of life. In spirituality sraddha is the Tharaka mantra. It is eternal and immortal. Man can attain jnana (wisdom) only when he purifies his heart by developing the five aspects, namely, sraddha (faith), sathyam (truth), ritham (unchanging), yogam (union), and mahattattwam. Jnana (wisdom) is not textual knowledge. Advaita darshanam jnanam (experience of non-dualism is wisdom). There is an underlying principle of non-dualism in the apparent dualism. This is the fundamental truth that the Taittiriya Upanishad teaches.
When Adi Sankara was proceeding on his Jaitra yatra (victory march), he met a great scholar by name Mandana Mishra in the northern part of India. Sankara entered into a scholarly debate with him. Ubhaya Bharati, the wife of Mandana Mishra, was also a great scholar. She was well-versed in the principles of ritham, sathyam, mahattattwam, etc. It was decided that Mandana Mishra would take to sanyasa (the life of a runinciant) if he were to be defeated in the debate. Sankara chose Ubhaya Bharati to be the adjudicator of the contest. As the debate was in progress, she listened to the arguments and counter arguments with utmost concentration. She was impartial in her judgement and declared Sankara to be the winner. Being one of wisdom, she did not feel dejected that her husband was defeated in the debate. Mandana Mishra took to sanyasa in accordance with the terms and conditions of the debate. Ubhaya Bharathi, being his ardhangi (better half), followed suit. Both husband and wife renounced the world and propagated the path of wisdom. Human life has no value if one does not acquire wisdom.
It is said that Annam Brahma; raso Vishnuhu; bhokta devo Maheswarah (food is Brahma; the essence is Vishnu; the one who partakes of it is Maheswara). These three correspond to body, mind, and action, respectively.
Manasyekam vachasyekam karmanyekam mahatmanam.
Those whose thoughts, words, and deeds are in complete harmony are noble ones.
The oneness of thought, word, and deed is ritham. They represent the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara. Hence, everyone must strive for the purity of these three. Take for instance a glass chimney placed over a lamp. After some time, a thin layer of soot gets accumulated over the glass. Consequently, light becomes dim. It is only when you clean the glass that can you see the light clearly. This is what you are supposed to do. The soot that you find over the glass can be compared to ego that envelops your mind. It is because of ego that you are not able to visualise the Divya Jnana Jyoti (divine flame of wisdom). How does ego enter your mind? It enters your mind when you give up the path of truth. You become egoistic when you do not know your true Self and develop worldly thoughts and feelings. In order to drive away ego, you should keep your worldly thoughts and feelings under control. It is impossible to acquire wisdom without getting rid of ego. To have the vision of the effulgent light of Atma, you have to remove the soot of ego covering your mind. This was the teaching of Ubhaya Bharati.
She was living in a hermitage on the banks of the river Ganga, imparting
spiritual teachings to women. Many women had become her disciples. Every
day in the morning, they used to go the Ganges to have a bath. On the
way, there lived a sanyasi (renunciant) whom people called Brahma Jnani. Truly, he
was a renunciant and one of wisdom. However, he was very much attached
to a small earthen pot in which he used to preserve water. One day, he
was lying down using the pot as a pillow, lest somebody might steal it.
Ubhaya Bharati who was on her way to Ganges with her disciples observed
this and remarked, "Though he is one of wisdom, there is a small defect
in him. He has renounced the world, but is attached to his earthen pot
which he is using as his pillow. "
The sanyasi overheard their conversation and became angry. When Ubhaya Bharati and her disciples were coming back from the Ganges, he threw away the pot on the road, just to show that he was not attached to it. Seeing this, Ubhaya Bharati said, "I thought there was only one defect in him --abhimana (attachment). Now I realise that he has another defect also --ahamkara (ego). How can one with --ahamkara and --abhimana be a jnani (one of wisdom)? " It was an eye-opener for the sanyasi.
Ubhaya Bharati toured the length and breadth of the country preaching and propagating the path of wisdom. Women are by nature the embodiments of vijnana, sujnana, and prajnana. They are the repositories of all virtues. But due to the impact of the Kali age (which is the present age), women are being looked down upon. It is a grave error. They must be treated with due respect. Today women compete with men to take up jobs. However, they must take care of their home needs before doing so.
If all the womenfolk go to work,
who will take care of the homes?
If husband and wife both go to office,
who will run the household?
If women go out to teach other children,
who will teach their own children?
If women go out like men holding books in their hand,
who will work in the kitchen?
Earning money may solve some financial problems,
but how will it solve domestic problems?
If you seriously think about it,
there is no happiness for woman holding office.
If women also go out and earn money, the financial constraints may be overcome, but there will be lot of problems on the home front. Women are the personifications of courage and determination. They put up with all hardships with fortitude and safeguard the honour of their family. They live up to the reputation of a grihini (housewife).
Man has to follow the path of truth to acquire wisdom. It is said,
Sathyam bruyath, priyam bruyath, na bruyath sathyamapriyam (speak truth,
speak pleasantly and do not speak unpalatable truth). These three
correspond to moral, dharmic, and spiritual values respectively.
Everything is contained in truth. You don't need to visit temples in
search of God. Truth is verily God. It is all-pervasive. It confers
plenty and prosperity on all. Hence, follow the path of truth. Practise
righteousness. Acquire wisdom.
For all this sadhana (spiritual practice), partaking of proper food is the first step. Purify the food by offering it to God. Annam Brahma. Consider food as verily the form of Brahma. Raso Vishnuhu. The essence of food that spreads to all parts of your body is Vishnu Swarupa (the embodiment of Vishnu). Bhokta devo Maheswarah. The partaker of food is the very embodiment of Siva principle. When man develops such sacred feelings, he becomes Siva Himself.
Siva symbolises complete sacrifice and renunciation. In this world every one has dehabhimana (body attachment). However, Siva has absolutely no body attachment. He has only Atmabhimana (love for the Self).
He has abundant hair with the moon adorning His head,
the cool water of the Ganga flowing between the matted locks,
with His radiant eye of wisdom in the middle of the forehead and
the purple neck gleaming like the sheen of a blackberry.
He wears serpent bracelets and a snake belt,
His entire body is smeared with vibhuti (holy ash),
His forehead is adorned with a kumkum dot,
His ruddy lips glow with the juice of the betel,
diamond-studded gold earrings dangle from His ears and
His whole swarthy body glows with divine effulgence.
Once, Parvati approached Lord Siva and expressed her desire to have a
house built for themselves. She said, "Oh Lord, You go from house to
house begging for alms and are not concerned to provide a dwelling for
us. Without a proper shelter, how can we live together? "
her, saying, "Parvati! What is the use of building a house? Rats will
make it their home before we even enter it. In order to control the
rats, we need to have a cat. Then we will have to buy a cow to provide
milk for the cat. In this manner, our requirements will get multiplied
and we will lose our peace of mind. Hence, do not entertain such
Siva has no body attachment. He is the personification of renunciation. Total renunciation leads one to wisdom. This is the teaching of Lord Siva to mankind.
What is wisdom? Purity of thought, word, and deed is true wisdom. Your body, mind, and actions must be pure. On this basis it is said: The proper study of mankind is man. It means that the unity of thought, word, and deed is true humanness. It is very simple and easy to practise. But no one is making any effort in this direction. Though Ganges is flowing nearby, people do not take a dip in it and clean their body. People do not make use of the conveniences available to them. This is utter laziness and a sign of thamo guna (the lazy, indolent quality). You have to get rid of this animal quality, develop humanness in you, and rise to the level of Divine.
Embodiments of Love!
Strive to attain purity of heart. Let this be your foremost endeavour. With purity of heart, you can achieve anything. In order to attain purity of heart, you have to partake of sacred food. One who cooks food should have sacred feelings. In olden days, orthodox Brahmins used to insist on partaking of food prepared only by their wives. The reason being, housewives wished for the well-being of the entire family and prepared food. On the other hand, if you employ cooks, God knows with what feelings they prepare the food! The unsacred thoughts of the cook enter the food, which in turn poisons your mind. Annam Brahma (food is God). Hence, it should be prepared with sacred feelings. Mere physical cleanliness will not suffice, the mind also should be pure. You should see to it that the vegetables used for preparing food are procured in a righteous manner. For example, husband brings vegetables from the market. He might have misused his position of authority and brought them without making payment or the vendors themselves might have procured the vegetables by unfair means. When such vegetables are consumed, your mind gets polluted. You do not realise that the food you eat is responsible for the actions you perform. Unsacred food makes you do unsacred deeds.
Embodiments of Love!
Have your food only after praying and offering it to God. Only then the
food will become sanctified and illumine your intellect. Once there
lived a sanyasi
(renunciant) in a hermitage near Sivananda's ashram. He was a pious soul.
One day an aged businessman donated money to prepare food for the ashramites
on the eleventh day after the demise of his young wife. The businessman,
being rich, somehow had enticed the girl's father with money and married
his young daughter. She spent her time languishing over her fate in the businessman's
house. Disgusted by leading such a life, one day she jumped into the Ganges
and ended her life. The businessman was doing the obituary rites on the eleventh
day. There was a convention in the ashram that cooked food was not accepted.
So, the businessman gave the required amount for preparing the food. The pure-hearted sanyasi partook of the food along with other inmates of
the ashram. He could not get proper sleep that night. He saw a young
girl in his dream. He thought to himself, "I never had any such thought,
nor do I have a craving for sensual pleasures. Then, why do I get such
bad dreams? " He got the same vision even in his meditation.
he went to his guru by name Satchidanandam and explained his predicament: "Swami, why am I getting such unsacred visions? " guru told him not to worry. He sent word for the businessman, spoke to him, and found out the reason behind the untimely death of his wife. He understood that she was appearing in the dream of the sanyasi because he had partaken of the food prepared as part of her obituary rites. From that day, the sanyasi stopped eating food and lived merely on fruits and milk. Bhikshannam deharakshanartham (food is essential to sustain the body). A car needs petrol to run. In the same way, the body requires food to sustain it. So, one has to eat something or the other to sustain the body. Sometimes, you get bad dreams and bad visions during meditation. This is the result of unsacred food. You have to enquire before cooking whether the provisions are got through sacred means. Only then the food becomes fit for consumption.
Before partaking of food, you should pray,
Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmaiva Thena Ganthavyam
Brahma Karma Samadhina
If you pray with sacred feelings, the food gets sanctified.
At one time, King Vikramaditya convened a big conference. He posed a question, "Which is greater, buddhi (intellect) or medhas (intelligence)? " The participants said that medhas is greater. But Vikramaditya did not subscribe to their viewpoint. He said that buddhi is greater because it is very sacred and the knowledge of the Self is contained in it. Buddhigrahya matindriyam (intellect transcends mind and senses).
Embodiments of Love!
Before partaking of food, chant the sacred mantra. Then no unsacredness would enter your heart. Annam Brahma; Raso Vishnuhu; Bhokta Devo Maheswarah (food is Brahma; the essence is Vishnu; the one who partakes it is Maheswara). These three correspond to body, mind, and action respectively. Purity of thought, word, and deed is true wisdom. You don't need to undertake any other spiritual practice. People undertake various sadhanas (spiritual practices). But they confer only temporary satisfaction. On the other hand, when you have purity of thought, word, and deed, you will experience eternal happiness.
Embodiments of Love!
Ritham is that which is changeless in the three periods of time --past, present, and future. That is true wisdom. That which undergoes change is marakam and that which is changeless is Tharakam.
Understand the principle of Tharakam with the grace of Sadguru (true guru) and
find the difference between eternal and ephemeral.
Know the secret of Tharakam (Soham),
which the jivatma (individual soul) repeats without a break
in all the three states of
jagrat (waking), swapna (dream) and sushupti (deep sleep).
You may belong to any religion or community; you have to understand this Tharaka mantra. Today people call themselves devotees, but their actions do not match their claim. Their thoughts, words, and deeds are filled with untruth and unrighteousness. Their love is tainted with selfishness and self-interest. They pose themselves to be devotees, go round the world, and indulge in all sorts of evil deeds. Externally, they look to be pious, but inwardly they are filled with evil propensities. They ruin their lives for the sake of money. You should beware of such people and keep them at a distance. It is a sin to even look at their faces.
Some devotees said, "Swami, we want to attend Your Birthday celebration, but we are unable to get leave. So, we have decided to apply for sick leave and come. " Then I told them, "It is not the right thing to do. It does not matter, if you are unable to come, but do not tell untruth. " Observe sathya vratam (vow of truth). Only then can you have the vision of Sarveswara (Lord of the universe). You can purify yourself through prayer. Wisdom will dawn on you through prayer, and that prayer is Annam Brahma; Raso Vishnuhu; Bhokta Devo Maheswarah. No other spiritual practice is required.
Nine paths of devotion have been prescribed for spiritual aspirants.
Vishnusmaranam (contemplating on Vishnu),
Padasevanam (serving His Lotus Feet),
You should develop friendship with God. If God is your friend, the whole world will be under your control. But today, the unfortunate ones are losing their friendship with God. It is not easy to make friendship with God. But you have to make every effort in this direction. Once you develop friendship with God, you have to take full advantage of it through sadhana (spiritual practices). Do not waste time in idle talk.
Embodiments of Love!
Speak truth always. This is what you have to learn today. Truth is the basis of your life. Truth is verily God. Hence, never stray away from the path of truth.
Having pursued your education here and having listened to Swami's teachings, you should transform yourself into ideal human beings. People from far-off lands wait for a chance to come here. Having been blessed with the sacred opportunity of constantly living in the Divine Presence, make full use of it. Never use harsh words. Never speak untruth. Sometimes, telling truth may lead to danger. In such a situation, speak neither truth nor untruth; remain silent. You should transcend the dualities of truth and untruth. As you are all in the prime of your youth, this is the best time to embark on the sacred path. Start early, drive slowly, reach safely.
I am not at all interested in celebrating My Birthdays. Devotees wanted to arrange various programmes on this occasion. But I did not permit them. As many of you have gathered here, this meeting is taking place, otherwise, I have no interest in even this meeting. To Me, every day is a festival day. I am always blissful. I am the embodiment of eternal bliss. What type of bliss? It is not something that others give. I don't wait for others to give Me bliss. My bliss originates from within.
Nityanandam, Parama Sukhadam, Kevalam Jnanamurtim, Dwandwateetam, Gagana
Sadrisham, Tattwamasyadi Lakshyam, Ekam, Nityam, Vimalam, Achalam,
Sarvadhee Sakshibhutam, Bhavateetam, Trigunarahitam.
God is the embodiment of eternal bliss, He is wisdom absolute, the One without a second, beyond the pair of opposites, expansive and pervasive like the sky, the goal indicated by the mahavakya Tattwamasi (That you are), eternal, pure, unchanging, the witness of all functions of the intellect, beyond all mental conditions and the three gunas (of sattwa, rajas and thamas. (the three qualities of serenity-purity, passion-activity, and inertia-indolence).
I am beyond all attributes. Believe it or not, I am bliss personified.
If you think otherwise, the defect lies in you. Whatever I do is for
your own good, for your welfare and for your happiness. Lead a blissful
and unblemished life. That is what I desire from you. I have no worries
or suffering at any point of time. Why should I worry when I have
everything? I have no desires. Whatever I tell, whatever I do is good
for you, not for Me. I have come for your sake. Hence, make full use of
Me. I am always ready, provided you develop sacred thoughts. Lead a
Sometimes, I do not talk to you. You think, "We might have committed some mistake. That is why Swami is not talking to us. " But truly speaking, it is not My nature to look for defects in others. My vision is highly sacred. I always see good in you. The bad you see is your own imagination. Because there is bad in you, you are seeing the same in others. But to Me, even bad appears as good. Hence, do not entertain any doubts regarding Swami. Samsayatma vinasyati (one with doubts will perish). Have firm faith.
Embodiments of Love!
Welcome your guests and give them due respect. Give your love to all. Feed the hungry. Only then can you have peace of mind. Harmonise your thought, word, and deed. There is no greater wisdom than this. Practise ritham (that which is changeless in the three periods of time --past, present, and future). This is the path of tharakam (liberation). If you waver from time to time, you are the most unfortunate one. Waywardness is the nature of a monkey mind. You belong to mankind. Having been born as a human being, you should develop steadiness of mind. Mankind symbolises tharakam. Monkey mind stands for marakam (bondage).
Embodiments of Love!
On this Birthday, you have to learn something very important: do not waste your time in idle talk. Time once lost cannot be regained. Consider truth as God. Sathyannasti paro dharmah (there is no dharma greater than adherence to truth). Hence follow the path of truth and practise righteousness.
Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the bhajan, "Sathya Dharmamu Santhi Premalato ".