Forty-Third Birthday Discourse

This is an auspicious moment in the history of India, when you have a great chance to understand the truths embodied in the scriptures of this land and the ideals that are embedded in the ways of living that are prescribed by the codes propounded therein. In order that you may attain the only goal of human life, namely, realising the Divine and becoming Divine, the Eternal has limited itself and come in this human form. It will reveal the ideals again, and re-establish it among all men. Of course, it is difficult for those who are unacquainted with the scriptures to grasp the mystery of this advent.

I may tell you, nevertheless, that all the five elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth) have been created by the Will of the Supreme. They have each to be used by you with reverential care and vigilant discrimination. Reckless use of any of them will only rebound on you with tremendous harm. External nature has to be handled with caution and awe.

Control the tongue with double care

So too, your inner 'nature,' your internal instruments! Of these, two are capable of vast harm; the tongue and sex. Since sex is aroused and inflamed by the food consumed and the drink taken in, the tongue needs greater attention. While the eye, the ear and the nose serve as instruments of knowledge about one particular characteristic of Nature, the tongue makes itself available for two purposes: to judge taste and to utter word-symbols of communication. You must control the tongue with double care, since it can harm you in two ways.

Without the control of the senses, sadhana is ineffective; it is like keeping water in leaky pot, when the senses are given full sway. Pathanjali (the celebrated sage and author of the Yoga-sutras) has said that when tongue is conquered, victory is yours. When the tongue craves some delicacy, assert that you will not cater to its whims. The monks and monastic dignitaries in this land have fallen prey to the tongue and are unable to curb its vagaries; they wear the robes of renunciation but clamour for tasty delicacies and thus bring the institution of monkhood into disrepute. If you persist in giving yourself simple food that is not savoury or hot, but amply sustaining, the tongue may squirm for a few days, but it will soon welcome it. That is the way to subdue it and overcome the evil consequences of its being your master.

Control your taste; control your talk

Since the tongue is equally insistent on scandal and lascivious talk, you have to curb that tendency also. Talk little; talk sweetly; talk only when there is pressing need; talk only to those to whom you must; do not shout or raise the voice, in anger or excitement. Such control will improve health and mental peace. It will lead to better public relations and less involvement in contacts and conflicts with others. You may be laughed at as a kill-joy but there are compensations enough for you. It will conserve your time and energy; you can put your inner energy to better use. You may take My special Birthday Message for you: Control your taste. Control your talk.

This is but a part of the larger programme of controlling the senses. Your devotion to God is best expressed by achieving the control of the senses. For, the senses rush towards the temporary and the tawdry; thus, they foul the heart. I require from each of you no other gift, no more valuable offering than the heart I have endowed you with. Give Me that heart, as pure as when I gave it to you, full of the nectar of love I filled it with.

Do not be jubilant because this is the day when this body became manifest, through birth, forty-three years ago. Birth and death are inevitable incidents in the careers of physical sheaths. Worth is judged by what happens in the interval. That is what one has to be jubilant over. Utilise that period for the progress of the spirit.

There are three lines along which endeavour has to be directed: (i) Spiritual exercise and discipline; (ii) cultivation of detachment, and (iii) Development of confidence in one's Self. Without these three, life is wearisome and wasteful journey through the sands. Give up, renounce―that is the virtue you need for spiritual progress. It is not the value of the thing given up that counts; it is the loftiness of the impulse behind the act.

Feel that each moment is a step towards God

So long as one is dominated by sense pleasure, it cannot be said that his spiritual life has begun. Now, many clamour for the experience of spiritual bliss, but, few earn it, because they find themselves too weak to reject the clamour of the senses! A little enquiry will reveal that the senses are bad masters and very inefficient sources of knowledge; the joy they bring is transitory and fraught with grief. Mere knowledge will not endow you with the well-spring of joy in the heart; only the contemplation of the might and majesty of God, as seen in the Universe, can be a never-failing source of joy. No two can agree on any matter, be they brothers or sisters, lifemates or father and son. It is only as pilgrims on the Godward path that two can heartily agree and lovingly co-operate.

You can be a pilgrim even while attending to your daily duties. Only, you have to feel that each moment is a step towards Him. Do everything as dedicated to Him, as directed by Him, as work for His adoration or for serving His children. Test all your actions, words, thoughts on this touchstone: "Will this be approved by God? Will this rebound to His renown?"

In the epic of Ramayana, you find the father (Emperor Dhasaratha) is infatuated with his dear wife and he sends his son Rama to the forest in exile for fourteen years; the son, however, is such a true follower of righteousness that He exiles His dear wife to the forest, in obedience to the whisperings of a section of His people. The father was the slave of his senses; the son was master. God will approve the latter and disapprove the former. So also, those who have no conception of the Lord who is above and beyond all human conventions may cavil at some of the actions of Krishna, but, those who are aware of His Divinity will understand their true significance.

All men are cowherds, all animals are cows

When you dedicate yourselves to the glorification of the Lord, you will revere the body, the senses, the intelligence, the Will and all the instruments of knowledge, action and feeling as essential for His work. While others will get intoxicated with pride, the bhaktha (devotee) will be intoxicated with prema (selfless love).

You have heard that when the Divine Cowherd boy played on the flute, the men, women and children and even the cattle of Brindavan hurried to him, as if drawn by the irresistible magic of His music, Divine melody, that stills all the turbid waves which we name as joy and grief. They stopped the work they were engaged in; they had no other thought than the attainment of the Divine presence; the cattle stopped grazing, the calves stopped guzzling milk. The story of Krishna and the gopis (cowherd-girls) has a deep inner meaning. Brindavan is not a specific place on the map; it is the Universe Itself.

All men are cowherds; all animals are cows. Every heart is filled with the longing for the Lord; the flute is the call of the Lord; the sport called Raasakreeda (the sportive dance; the dance of Krishna in His boyhood with the cowherdesses), where Lord Krishna is described as dancing with the milk-maids in the moonlight―every maid has a boy-Krishna holding her hand in the dance―is the symbol of the yearning and the travail borne by those who aim at reaching His presence. The Lord manifests such grace that each one of you has the Lord all for yourself; you need not be sad that you won't have Him, when others get Him; nor need you be proud that you have Him and no one else can have him at the same time! The Lord is installed in the altar of your heart.

Be pure and humble as pilgrims ought to be

Offer your entire self, your entire life, to Him; then your adoration will transform and transmute you so fast and completely that you and He can be merged into One. He thinks, feels and acts as you do; you think, feel and acts as He does. You will be transformed as a rock is transformed by the sculptor, into an idol, deserving the worship of generations of sincere men. In the process you will have to bear many a hammer stroke, many a chisel-wound, for He is the sculptor. He is but releasing you from petrification! Offer your heart to the Lord, let the rest of you suffer transformation at His hands. Do not defile time, or the physical sheath, or this life's chance, using them for paltry ends.

Your pilgrimage to this place on this occasion is but a part of the long pilgrimage upon which you entered when you were born, which may not end even when you die. Do not forget that fact. Be pure, alert and humble as pilgrims ought to be. Treasure the good things you see and the basic truths you hear. Use them as props and promptings for further stages of the journey.

It serves no purpose if you merely acknowledge that the Lord has come but do not yearn to benefit by the Advent. In the previous ages, in what are called Kritha, Thretha and Dwapara Yugas (each Yuga or Age being a long cycle or time period in Hindhu mythology) the incarnations of the Lord were not accepted as such by many. Even their parents, kinsmen, and comrades hesitated to adore them. Only a few sages, who had cultivated the inner vision through study and sadhana, knew their reality.

Keep relationship with this Incarnation unbroken

But, today in this Kali Yuga, while the currents of contradiction and controversy are undermining faith and adoration, the good fortune that has brought you face to face with Me is something for which you must thank your merit won through many lives. This is no ordinary good fortune. This incarnation is moving with you, your joy and grief in order to console, encourage and cure. This relationship is something unique; it has to be kept unbroken, until the goal is reached.

Devotees who are attached to Me have a special responsibility. Vice-Chancellor Dr. Gokak referred in his speech to My direction that no one shall collect funds for any endeavour connected with My name. I want that you must replace Dhana-yearning with Dharma-yearning. Yearn for Dharma, not riches. Do not extend your hand before man, but ask of the Lord, and He will fill it with priceless treasure. Have that faith and carry on.

I may make mention now of a letter written to Me by Dr. K. M. Munshi. (A great follower of Gandhi, one of the architects of free India; a famous Gujarati writer, founder of the Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, dedicated to the revival of the permanent values of Indian Culture.) He has written that he came, he saw and he was conquered. Of course, what really happened was that his love merged in Mine; his ananda (bliss) merged in Mine, and he is happy beyond expression. He has suggested in that letter that, just as there are some days which are celebrated all over the world as holy days, My Birthday must be an all-world holy day; he has asked Me to bless this plan of making this day, a day of Sathyanarayana puja, the world over. I appreciate his attachment and devotion, but I do not encourage this adoration of just one name and one form, and that too, My present name and My present form.

Unfurl the Prasanthi flag on your own hearts

I have no wish to draw people towards Me, away from the worship of My other names and forms. You may infer from what you call My miracles, that I am causing them to attract and to attach you to Me, and Me alone. They are not intended to demonstrate or publicise; they are merely spontaneous and concomitant proofs of Divine Majesty. I am yours; you are Mine, for ever and ever. What need is there for attracting and impressing, for demonstrating your love or My compassion? I am in you; you are in Me. There is no distance or distinction.

I am now hoisting the Prasanthi Flag on this Prasanthi Nilayam. The flag is a sign that is significant for each one of you. It is a reminder of your duty to yourself, and so, when I hoist it on this building, you must unfurl it on your own hearts. It reminds you to overcome the urge of low desires, of anger and hate when your desires are thwarted; it exhorts you to expand your heart so that you embrace all humanity and all life and all creation in its compass; it directs you to quieten your impulses and calmly meditate on your own inner reality. It assures you that, when you do so, the lotus of your heart will bloom, and from its centre will arise the flame of divine vision, which guarantees prasanthi (infinite peace). I must also tell you of certain preliminary disciplines: Practise when you are here the three disciplines of silence, cleanliness and forbearance. In silence can be heard the voice of God, not in the revelry of noise. Through cleanliness you earn purity. By forbearance, you cultivate love.

You have come today to your own home. This is your home, not Mine. My home is your heart. So, do not try to have your lunch elsewhere but in your home, where you get this day food consecrated by Me, the prasaadh.

Saturday, November 23, 1968