|Date: 25 Feb 1965
|Occasion: Upanaya Ceremony
|Place: Prasanthi Nilayam
Recruits for My army
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
The samskara (purification ceremony) of Upanayanam (sacred thread ceremony)is beneficial not only to the boys who were initiated but, for every one of you who witnessed it and drew inspiration from it. The learned pandit from Delhi spoke to you now of the meaning of this samskara; it has made all these lads, "twiceborn" "dwithiyam mounjibandhanaath" he said. The belt of munja grass has given them that status, he said. The Upanayanam or the ceremony of leading the lad to the teacher and the recital by the initiate of the Gayatri mantra, which prays for clear Intelligence, are the first steps towards the ultimate Realization of the Reality. Pandit Ramasaran explained how the Gayatri is the essence of the Rig, Yajur, and Sama Vedas and how the traditional conception of the Gayatri Devata embodies an harmonious blending of the Five Gods Vishnu, Surya, Maheswari, Ganapathy, and Easwara, representing the Five Elements, and how prayer to Gayatri confers the material and spiritual needs of man.
Every man is burdened with one body and four births! He is born a sudra (labourer, the fourth caste); for, as a child, he has no sense of cleanliness or definite ideas of right and wrong. By the rite of initiation into spiritual life, that is to say, when he is taken as a pupil by a guru, who takes up the responsibility of leading him to the Goal of Human Life, he becomes dwija, twice-born, entering into the second chapter of his human career. When he has finished the spiritual disciplines and studied the scriptures, he becomes a vipra; at last, when as a result of those practices and experiences, he visualizes Brahmam as immanent in all, he is a brahmin. A vipra attains Brahmajnanam and becomes a brahmin. This is therefore the first step, but the most important step, in the process of self-realization.
The parents endow you with the material body (the deha); the guru points out to you the Dweller within the body (the Dehi). So, you are entitled to be honored as a God, says the Vedas. Mathru Devo-bhava: Pithruu Devo Bhava; Aachaarya Devo Bhava. To make gold more amenable to the operations attendent on ornament making, it is alloyed by the addition of a little silver or copper; so too, in order to manifest the multiple variety of nature, the Brahmathathwam (Brahma Principle) is converted into an alloy, with the addition of a little egoism or mamakaaram; the guru teaches you to regain the pure unalloyed Brahmam by the processes of sravanam mananam and nididhyasa in the crucible of the intellect. The jivathathwam and the Brahmathathwam are then clearly understood as facets of the same entity.
The aim of all human effort is to achieve this One, Ekam, that lies behind all this plurality. Without achieving it, man can have no peace, within or without; no amount of repetition of the santhi (peace) mantra is capable of granting him that. The guru reveals to the disciple the invisible current that activates the many seemingly distinct instruments, like the bulb, the mike, the fan, the refrigerator, the tape-recorder, the stove, etc. He deserves your gratitude. He is like the stranger who entered the cottage of a poor man and announced that underneath the floor of that hovel there lies hidden a precious treasure, which he can take and own, by a few minutes of digging! The sage Viswamithra devised the Gayatri mantra as a fine drug for the spiritual aspirant; he is also to be revered, for the drug awakens your buddhi (intellect) and confers upon you viveka (discrimination), vichakshana (discriminating intellect) and vairagyam (detachment) --the three distinguishing marks of humans, elevating them far above other animals.
Samskara (purification ceremony) involves double actions: removing dirt and applying paint, when the word is used with reference to a house. This Gayatri has the subtle power of removing evil tendencies and implanting virtuous habits, so the Upanayanam is a unique samskara. Man is Divine; he has the Lord dwelling in his heart, but yet he is bound, miserable, limited, weak, agitated. Why? He is ignorant of his reality. He imagines himself weak, limited, bound, and he is so shaped by the mind, which is the source of that imagination. How then can you be freed? How are you to overcome this bhrama (delusion)? If you desire to overtake a train, you must speed in a car or board a plane. No vehicle slower than the train will help. So too, if you intend to overcome the delusion you must establish yourself in God; the bhrama of manavasakthi (human strength) can be overcome only by the attainment of Daivisakthi (God strength). The Gayatri promotes the acquisition of Daivisakthi.
Gayatri means 'that which saves, when repeated'! It is the torch of jnana (spiritual wisdom) , given into the hands of these lads venturing into the regions of intellectual inquiry and sensory restrictions. As paddy is treated to a process of pestling and winnowing and cleaning in order to get rice, that can be cooked and eaten, these boys have to de-husk the individual, discover the Atma hiding inside the five sheaths, of annamaya (food sheath), pranamaya (subtle sheath), manomaya (mental sheath), vijnanamaya (intellect sheath), and anandamaya (bliss sheath). The Sandhyavandana rite they are enjoined to do, three times a day, from this very day, is part of this process of de-husking. Time must be found, time can be found, provided they have the will and they get encouragement from the elders. Supplying the calories for the spirit is as necessary a process for happy living as supplying calories for the body; breakfast, lunch and dinner, prathahsandhyaa, maadhyaanhika and saayamsandhyaa --all six are equally essential. You miss any one of the six at your peril.
Dear boys, you have today got the Gayatri, the milk from the four teats called four Vedas of the udder of the cow that is Godhead; it has in it the sustenance that will make you shine with spiritual health. You must now carefully use it for your good; do not spill it or spoil; boil it, make curds out of it, churn it, and get the butter that is immanent in it. It will become curds by means of your contemplation on the Lord, Bhagavath-chinthana; with the churning-rod of discipline, collect the butter of ananda (bliss). You were initiated in this holy Presence, remember, the Presence that so many thousands covet; so, you have a special responsibility to fulfil your brahmacharya, the path that leads to Brahmajnana. The body is fundamentally unclean, and yet it craves to achieve both cleanliness and Godliness, because, its nature is Purity and Holiness.
Inner cleanliness should be your first aim. Which do you cleanse more in a drinking vessel? The interior or the exterior? You may have fine vegetables, excellent tamarind juice, chilies, salt, dal; the cook may be a master of the art; the oven may be the perfect type; but, if the copper vessel, is not tinned, the 'saambaar' will be turned into dangerous stuff, that cannot be eaten. It will act as poison to those that eat it. Sathkarma (virtuous deeds) sadaachaara (beneficial habits) these act to protect the 'saambaar from contact with copper. For you the Gayatri and the sandhya rites three times a day will act as the 'tin' for the hridayapathra, the heart-vessel, where emotions impulses and instincts are cooking. The discipline of sandhya will tame all instincts even as the mahout's good subdues the might of the elephant and trains it to perform tricks in the circus ring. Do not fail to make the best of this chance.
As many as 450 boys have had this chance today. Some persons at Prasanthi Nilayam felt that, this being the examination season for schoolboys, many may not be able to come and get initiated in this sacred presence; but, see how, on account of strikes and consequent disturbances, schools were closed, examinations were postponed and almost all who had written about their desire to come are here before Me! This is another reminder of the efficacy of unseen merit; the rain fails on barren land and all the seeds hidden underneath the land sprout, making a green carpet to cover the area! No one knew, except Myself, that there were these seeds of earned merit awaiting the showers of Grace in the heritage of these boys.
For the revival of Sanathana Dharma (eternal religion) these boys will be efficient instruments. They will replenish the glory of Bharathavarsha. They are today recruited into My army. I am achieving the re-establishment of dharma, the restoration of the Vedas, and it is with that in view that I am initiating in My Presence every year boys from all parts of India. This samskara (ceremony) is fast losing its significance; the recital of the Gayatri and, the performance of the sandhya rite are both being neglected; so, they have to be restored to their pristine glory. This is an important step. Until you see the akshara, the unchanging, you must practice the kshara, the changing, which helps you to transcend it. When once you are able to pronounce 'cat,' you can give up reading the word 'c-a-t'. The Gayatri will help you to reach the akshara; practice it, three times a day, in the sandhya rite. The deha-matha (the mother who bore the body), the Lokamatha (the Mother who sustains the Universe) and the Gayatri-matha (the Mother who saves you from bondage and ignorance) all three, deserve your devotion and worship.