|Date: 17 Feb 2007||Occasion: Maha Sivarathri||Place: Prasanthi Nilayam|
Can all the birds of green colour talk
like a parrot?
Can insects that crawl on the flowers become bumble bees?
Can an oversized pig become an elephant?
Can one who does not know about themself acquire knowledge of the Self?
Man today considers himself as great. On the other hand, one who is devoid of humanness is not a human being at all! A real human being is one who manifests humanness. A real human being is one who practises the five human values of sathya (truth), dharma (righteousness), santhi (peace), prema (love), and ahimsa (nonviolence) and preaches them to others. Even if one out of these five values is deficient, it is unbecoming of a human being. Man, in fact, is very intelligent. His intelligence is unlimited and unparalleled. But it is not being reflected in his behaviour.
Parvati's firm dedication...
Once Lord Easwara was absorbed in intense tapas (penance). Parvati wished
to marry Him, but her parents tried to dissuade her. They started to
reason with her, describing Siva's form thus:
Oh! Gowri! You are very young and
Sambasiva is old;
He has matted locks and wears a tiger skin;
He rides a bull and is constantly on the move;
He is adorned with snakes; How did you court Him?
Don't you know all this?
He has no house of His own and sleeps in the cremation ground.
Parvati paid no heed to all this reasoning and ignored it. Lord
Easwara knew her nature and Parvati knew Siva's nature. They are in
fact, not different from one another. Lord Siva is Siva-Sakthi-atmaka-swarupa
(Embodiment of Siva and Sakthi). So too is Parvati.
How can ordinary mortals understand such mystic nature of Lord Easwara and Parvati! Where there is a feeling of duality, doubt arises. A man with dual mind is half blind. In fact, there is no difference between Lord Siva and Parvati.
Meanwhile, Saraswati arrived on the scene to counsel Parvati about
Lord Siva's unsuitability as her bridegroom. She explained, "Dear
Parvati! Society will not accept such an odd combination. There is no
compatibility between you and Lord Siva. You yourself know everything.
I need not elaborate on the point further. I am sorry that knowingly
you have fallen into that illusion."
Parvati replied firmly, "Oh Saraswati! I am interested only in Lord Siva and none else. I have no other interest in life except becoming the consort of Lord Siva. No one can change my decision."
Divinity pervades everything ...
Isavasyam Idam Sarvam
(the entire universe is permeated by God). The power of Lord Siva
permeates the entire universe. The foremost duty of a human being is to
love Easwaratwa (the
divinity of Lord Easwara).
Actually, the same divine power is immanent in every human body also. Just as the human body is covered with a cloth, Divinity is enveloped in maya (illusion). Hence, though Easwaratwa is omnipresent, it is not visible. In accordance with the maxim Easwara Sarva Bhutanam (God is the indweller of all beings), Easwaratwa permeates every living being. Parvati explained that this Easwaratwa transcends age, and it is in no way related to external appearance.
Mother Lakshmi also tried to dissuade Parvati from marrying Lord
Siva. She explained "My dear! You are quite young and beautiful. You
have great power in you. It is unbecoming that you seek to wed someone
who goes begging from house to house for alms."
Parvati was very upset and she sternly replied, "My bridegroom is no
beggar. In fact, He is the one who gives alms to the entire world. It
is not proper for you all to indulge in this campaign of slander
Several others also were averse to the choice of Parvati. They
enquired, "He is adorning Himself with snakes. How did you court such a
person? Don't you know about it?"
Parvati retorted, "Snakes have poison only in their fangs. But a human being has poison in the entire body. The human's vision, hearing and actions are all full of poison. You consider such a poisonous human being as a good person. If the fangs are removed, the snake cannot harm anybody. But the human being with his two fangs of ahamkara (ego) and mamakara (attachment) is roaming about nonchalantly and causing great harm to fellow human beings and to the world around. Humans consider themselves great. They are full of poison. How can such humans be corrected?"
One with pride will not be successful in
He will commit sins and will be ridiculed by one and all.
His own people will abandon him.
He will lose all wealth and respect.
His pride will ruin him completely.
Recognise your innate nature
God is loved by one and all. Every human being lives by love alone.
In fact, one who has no love in them is not a human being at all! The
love that exists between God and the human being is comparable to that
between a father and a son. What a great sin it is to attribute
ill will to such pure and unsullied love! In fact, it is the result of
evil qualities that has permeated society.
When the innate divine nature of every human being is recognised, there will be no scope for any kind of differences. All are one, be alike to everyone. We have to achieve such transformation in our lives. You study several texts. Mere reading is not enough. It will not help you in any way. The truth contained in those texts has to be realised and experienced.
Laila and Majnu were great lovers. Theirs was selfless love, which
became immortal. Unable to understand the true nature of their sacred
love, people attributed all sorts of motives to their love and created
a lot of confusion.
The mind must be filled with pure love. One should not develop
attachment to sense objects and poison one's own mind. Only then can
real happiness be experienced. Every human being in this world must
analyse for themself what is to be changed and corrected and what is to
be accomplished. Accordingly, one should conduct oneself. Only then
will one have realised real humanness.
The Divinity called "II is immanent in every human being. This Divinity "I" is not to be construed as Brahma, Vishnu, or Siva. These are all names ascribed by man to Divinity for the purpose of recognition. The names are not that important. The real Divinity is "I". "I am I." We consider Brahma as the creator, Vishnu the sustainer, and Siva the destroyer. God grants darshan (sight of a holy person) to each one in the same form on which each one contemplates.
Matru Devo Bhava
Once, Lord Siva and Mother Parvati were strolling in the ethereal
world. They saw, on the earth, one person cutting the branch of a tree
on which he was resting. The branch was almost cut and was about to
fall any moment. Parvati was very anxious. She prayed to Lord Siva,
"Oh! Lord! Please save him immediately from falling on the earth below."
Easwara replied, "It is you who saw him first. Only you realised
that he might fall down by cutting the branch on which he was sitting.
Hence, it is your responsibility to save him."
Parvati then laid down a condition, "Swami! Normally, any person
falling from a height will express his agony by uttering the words
'Amma!' or 'Appa!' If this man cries 'Amma!', I will rescue him. On the
other hand, if he cries 'Appa!' You have to rescue him." Easwara agreed.
Meanwhile, the branch that was being cut finally broke. The person
sitting on it fell down. Mother Parvati was ready to save him. Lord
Siva was also ready. But, the person prayed to neither "Amma! (Mother)" nor "Appa! (father)" He just wailed
"Ayyo!" Though Lord Siva
and Mother Parvati were both waiting to rescue him, the man did not
This story is a reminder to one and all that we must always remember our parents wherever we are and in whichever situation we are placed in. They are the living divinities constantly guarding and guiding us. The Upanishads exhort, Matru Devo bhava, pitru Devo bhava, acharya Devo bhava, atithi Devo bhava (revere your mother, father, preceptor and guest as God). You may be highly educated. You may be an adept in all branches of knowledge in this world. Yet, to your mother you are only a child. Your mother's blessing will be always with you. The life of a son who neglects such a mother is worthless.
It is only Mother Parvati who has a compassionate heart to protect a
man in distress. Hence, we must constantly contemplate upon that Sakthiswarupini (embodiment of
divine energy). Lord Easwara is The Father and Mother Parvati is
Sakthiswarupini. Easwara cannot take that much liberty and move forward
to save a devotee. Only after the Sakthi takes a step forward does Lord
Easwara follow her. Hence, one has to worship the Sakthiswarupini in the first
instance. She is the mother, verily. That is why it has been said: Matru Devo bhava! It is the
mother who has been given the first place. Even one's own country is
compared to the mother.
We say, "India is my motherland." Everyone refers to his country as
"motherland" and not as "fatherland". It is a common practice in the
country of Bharat (India) that a girl after her marriage goes to her
in-laws' house to live there with her husband and in-laws. The lady of
the in-laws' house is referred to as "mother-in-law" in the English
language. But Mother Parvati is "Mother-in-love" for the whole
The word "law" relates to the world, whereas "love" refers to one's
heart. Hence, first and foremost develop love. Consider love as your
everything. Only then will you would have led a fruitful life.
Your mother may be very simple and not worldly-wise. She may be very
weak physically and intellectually. Yet, a mother is a mother. You
should not neglect your mother simply because she is weak or has fallen
A mother is always full of love for her children. That is why Bhakta
Ramadas prayed to Mother Sita, "Oh! Mother Sita! Please represent my
case to Rama and help me. When you are engaged in happy conversation
with Rama in solitude, kindly make a mention about my pitiable
Bhakta Ramadas worked as a Tahsildar under Nawab Tanisha. He spent
all the revenue collected from the people in building a temple of Lord
Rama, Lakshmana, and Mother Sita and decorating the idols with gold
jewelry. He was imprisoned on charges of misappropriation for not
depositing the money in the treasury. Unable to bear the agony in jail,
he lamented, "Swami! I dedicated all the money collected by me in your
service only." In a beautiful kirtan
(song), he sang thus:
I spent ten thousand gold coins to adorn
Mother Sita with a gold necklace and
Another ten thousand sovereigns to decorate
your brother Lakshmana with a gold belt.
That crest jewel that adorns You cost me
another ten thousand gold coins.
Unmindful of my travails, You are flaunting the jewellery
as if You have got it with Your own money!
One cannot achieve anything in life unless one gets rid of ego and attachment. Anything can be achieved with humility and obedience. In all spheres of life —moral, spiritual, physical, and even political— one should conduct oneself with devotion. Only then will the task achieved shine in glory.
Women should be respected ...
When a mother leaves her physical body, her soul will still be
concerned with her children and their welfare. One day, a mother
approached Me and pleaded with Me, "Swami! My daughter listens to
everyone, but she gives importance to only Swami's words. My daughter
is obstinate from the very beginning. She does not listen to what I
say. But, if You once talk to her, she will follow Your advice. She has
lot of faith in You. She will not disobey Your words." Thus, several
mothers come and pray for several things on behalf of their children.
Mothers have an important role to play. There is no God higher than mother. Hence, never disregard your mother. Those who ignore their mother will encounter several difficulties. Women shall be respected, loved, and shown gratitude. Only then will you reach an exalted position. You may be great or highly educated, or you may be illiterate even, but you must respect your mother and give weight to her words as your foremost duty.
A mother and her son, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, used to live
in a small village near Kolkata. The mother struggled to
bring up her son. Since there were no lights in their house, Vidyasagar
used to sit under the streetlights and study his lessons. Thus, he
worked hard day and night and studied well. Finally, he attained a good
position in his life. He became very famous as an orator. People used
to gather in thousands to hear his lectures.
Once, Vidyasagar was traveling in a train to go to some town to give
a lecture there. An I.C.S. officer was also traveling in the same
compartment to go to the same town to hear his lecture. As soon as the
officer alighted from the train at the station, he called for a coolie
to carry his briefcase. Vidyasagar approached that officer and told
him, "Sir, give me that briefcase. I will carry it for you. By the way,
where have you to go?"
The I.C.S. officer replied, "I am going to the place where
Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar will deliver a lecture."
On hearing those words, Vidyasagar smiled to himself and started for
the place of meeting. As soon as they reached that place, Vidyasagar
handed over the briefcase to that officer and said, "Sir! I take leave
The officer offered some money to Vidyasagar for carrying his
briefcase. "Look! Take this money."
Vidyasagar replied, "Sir! I carried your briefcase as an act of
service, not for money," and politely declined the offer of money.
The meeting commenced. Vidyasagar was profusely garlanded and brought on the stage with honour. The officer, on seeing Vidyasagar, recognised him as the person who carried his briefcase a few minutes ago. He felt very embarrassed. As soon as the meeting was over, he fell at Vidyasagar's feet and begged his pardon.
Humility brings greatness ...
Only humility and obedience brought great honour to Vidyasagar. Even
today, you will find his life story in textbooks.
Greatness is not in the education we pursue or the high academic
degrees we obtain. It is humility and obedience that bring greatness to
There are several educated people in this world. But of what use is
it? What benefit does the world derive from their education? It is only
because of ego and attachment that a person is spoiled. One can become
really great when he sheds these two.
During his debating tour of north India, Adi Sankara met a great scholar named Mandana Mishra. He had a wife by name Ubhayabharati. She was selected to be the arbitrator and judge to decide the winner in the debate between Adi Sankara and Mandana Mishra. She considered truth as God and was therefore eminently suited for the assignment. Sankara defeated Mandana Mishra in the debate, and he was declared the winner by Ubhayabharati. As per the conditions of the debate, Mandana Mishra had to take to sanyas (renunciation), and he did accordingly. As a dutiful wife, Ubhayabharati followed suit and also became a renunciant.
Ubhayabharati serves eye-opener ...
One day, Ubhayabharati was going along with her disciples to the
river Ganga to take bath in the river. On the way, she observed a sanyasi (renunciant) who was
relaxing, keeping a dried bottle gourd under his head. He was using
this for storing drinking water, so he was preserving it carefully.
Ubhayabharati saw this sanyasi's
attachment to the bottle gourd and said to her disciples, "Look! This
man calls himself a sanyasi,
but he is attached to a bottle gourd that he is keeping under his head
as a pillow."
The sanyasi heard this
comment, but did not utter anything then. While Ubhayabharati and her
disciples were returning from the river, he threw away the bottle gourd
in front of them in order to demonstrate that he was not attached to
it. Observing his action, Ubhayabharati aptly remarked, "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 abhimana and ahamkara become a jnani (spiritually wise person)
Her comment was an eye-opener for the sanyasi. He expressed gratitude to her for imparting true knowledge of renunciation to him.
Diverse population must be following differing paths in the world.
Lord Krishna is the one who taught the path of wisdom and established
the truth that the quality of love is common to all. He forgave even
people with demonic qualities, like Duryodhana and Dussasana.
Though Karna joined the evil forces, he was a man of noble qualities. Hence, Lord Krishna praised his qualities. Karna did not have even a trace of ego and attachment. He was a great warrior and a person of highest charity. One should therefore emulate his noble qualities. Every student should hear good things and put them into practice. Experience bliss and share that bliss with all. This is your foremost duty.