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text: Christmas

Bala Krishna

Swami holding materialized image of Krishna
on the beach near Dwaraka, May 1968

The Avatar behaves in a human way so that mankind can feel kinship, but He rises to super-human heights so that mankind can aspire to those heights.

Sathya Sai Baba

(From: Digest, A collection of Sathya Sai Baba's sayings)

Today we celebrate Krishna's birthday. Where was he born? In a prison. What were his possessions? Nothing. Born in a prison, he was taken to the house of Nanda, and then he went to Mathura. He owned nothing. But he became the greatest figure in the world. What does this show? Worldly possessions are not the secret of greatness. Krishna's greatness consisted in His permanent state of bliss (ananda).

If you recognise the distinction between Krishna and Rama, you will appreciate Krishna's nature better. Krishna always smiled at the outset and carried out his task later. For Rama, the deed came first and then the smile. Krishna made women cry. Rama wept for the sake of women. Rama went into the battle only after having a strong cause for it. Krishna first provoked the conflict and then determined its outcome.

The Krishna principle revels in delight. The Rama principle is based on the concept of obligation (baadhyatha).

The Ramayana is intended to promote the reign of truth and righteousness on earth. The Krishna Avatar was intended to give a perennial message to the world. He sought nothing for himself. He kept nothing for himself. He gave away everything to the people. He slayed his maternal uncle, Kamsa. He installed Kamsa's father, Ugrasena, on the throne. He did not covet the kingdom. He befriended the Pandavas, defeated the Kauravas, and crowned Dharmaja as the emperor. He did not make himself king. He was a king without a crown. He was the king of kings. He had no kingdom of his own. But he ruled over the hearts of the millions. It is this profound truth that is proclaimed by the Krishna principle (Krishna thathva).

If you enquire deeply, you will find that every Avatar has incarnated to convey a special message and carry out a particular mission.

Divine Discourse: Sri Krishna Janmashtami, 4 September 1996

The incarnation of Krishna proclaimed the doctrine of divine love, as manifested by the cowherd maids (gopikas). Today, man is like an earthen pot filled with nectar. His body may be made of clay, but his spirit is eternal. The Divine has to be experienced through the body. Hence, human birth should not be treated as something trivial. Human life is worth living --it should be cherished as something precious.

But today, such a precious gift is being treated as dirt. It is essential to realise the value of human existence. What is the goal of human life? It is to go back to the source from which we came. Our duty is to return to our primordial, original home.

All of you who are here have come from different parts of India and the world. After your stay here, you have to go back to your native places. Likewise, human beings have come to the planet earth as pilgrims. They have to return to their original home. You have come from the Atma. You have to go back to the Atma. You have come from the Brahman (Supreme Self). You have to merge in the Brahman. You have incarnated as a spark of Brahman. You have to become the Brahman. That is the ideal. That is the goal. In between, there may be many impediments. You should ignore them. Have unshakable faith. That is true devotion.

Divine Discourse: Sri Krishna Janmashtami, 18 August 1995

Whatever you do, remember the Omnipresence of the Divine. Do every act to please God, out of love and not out of compulsion. Divinise every act. The Lord declares in the Gita, "Having been born in this transient and unhappy world, worship Me."

Krishna called upon Arjuna to stand up and face the battle, reminding him of what was in store for the evil minded Kauravas. He adjured Arjuna to have full faith in Him and do his duty. Then Arjuna declared, "I shall do as You bid me (Karishyevachanam thava)." Then Krishna declared, "You have now become My true devotee." And He exhorted Arjuna to rise and fight the battle, which would end in the complete destruction of the Kauravas and the wicked quartet, Duryodhana, Dussaasana, Karna, and Sakuni.

The great teaching of the Gita is this: Put your trust in God, carry on your duties, be helpful to everyone, and sanctify your lives. Dedicate all actions to God. That is the way to experience oneness with God. God is in you. You are in God. This oneness is the basic truth. Chant the name of the Lord and render social service in a spirit of selflessness and devotion to God.

Divine Discourse: Sri Krishna Janmashtami, 18 August 1995

Krishna is omnipresent. The word has three meanings:

(1) Krishithi-ithi Krishna --The man who ploughs is Krishna. The heart is the symbol of a field. The heart should be cleared of weeds (evil qualities). It should be filled with love. The seeds of the Lord's name should be sown in it. Krishna encourages the devotee to do all this.

(2) Karshathi-ithi Krishna --Because he attracts, he is Krishna. Krishna has the supreme power of attraction. By his words, his sport, his music, and all his actions he attracts all people. This power of attraction is present in everyone. Hence, everyone is potentially Krishna.

(3) Krushyathi-ithi Krishnah --Because he imparts bliss, he is called Krishna. Everyone seeks happiness. The Divine, who is the embodiment of happiness, is in you. God wants you to be happy, but you do not realize it. Try to recognize the source of bliss within you. It is not the true nature of man to be unhappy. When anyone is otherwise, people around him are concerned about him. You should always be happy, because you are the embodiment of the Atma. Never give way to worry.

As a spark of the Divine, you have to behave like the Divine. Do not give room for grief. What use is there in turning over the beads of the rosary while your mind is thinking of mundane matters? First of all, purify your mind. Dedicate all actions to God. Free yourself from all attachments. Treat all things as gifts from God for which you are the guardian and not the owner.

Divine Discourse: Sri Krishna Janmashtami, 25 August 1997