|Date: 12 Oct 2002||Occasion: Dasara (day 4)||Place: Prasanthi Nilayam|
Brahma is the Creator of the whole Universe,
Vishnu is the Sustainer, and
Siva is the Destroyer of all sins.
This is the Truth I am revealing to you.
Embodiments of Love!
What is man, immersed in an ocean of sorrow, seeking in this vast and limitless universe? What for is he doing sadhana (spiritual exercises)? Some are seeking fulfilment in worldly things; some others are wasting their valuable time in trying to seek satisfaction of their unfulfilled desires. Yet, others are entering the spiritual path with a desire to have darshan, sparshan, and sambhashan of Divinity. Human beings contemplate on God as Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara. But these are not Gods with a human form. They have neither a form nor a place. If one enquires into the nature of their form, it will become clear that they have only some attributes, with no specific upadhi (vesture).
It is said "Easwarah sarva bhoothanaam (God is the indweller of every
living being) ". But with what form? How can one contemplate on God with
an invisible form? What is the use of such contemplation? Divinity is
the very life breath that can be perceived and heard. How can one
recognise and experience the sound of this Divine breath?
have given the names of Brahman and Atma invisible divine
breath in human beings. But one cannot understand these abstract
concepts, with any amount of explanation.
What is the meaning of
Easwarathwa (Divinity)? It can be understood as the Divine, auspicious
breath of soham that emanates from a human being. Soham means "I am
that " (Divinity). The sound of the breath in human being, i.e. soham
establishes the nature of Divinity. If one tries to contemplate on the
form without recognising the sound, he will not be able to understand
the nature of Divinity. Soham is sathwic (pure, serene) in nature. This sathwa guna is Easwarathwa (the Shiva Principle).
There is another principle that
emanates from this Divine breath, namely, Vishnuthwa (the Vishnu
Principle). What is the form of this Vishnu Principle? The feelings in
the mind. In other words, mind is the Vishnu Principle. There is yet
another form that emerges from the navel of Vishnu, namely, Brahma.
Thus, the principles of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara are emanating from
the Soham Tathwa in a human being itself.
In this trinity, Shiva is the Soham Tathwa, Vishnu is the mind, and Brahma is the vak swarupa (in the form of words). It means, every word that emerges from the human being is Brahma; every resolve (sankalpa) emerging from the mind is Vishnu and every breath coming out of the body is Easwara. Thus, Divinity is permeating the entire human body. The body is living as long as the life breath emanates from the body. Mind is made up of (sankalpa (resolution) and vikalpa (negation or dissolution). This is the Vishnu Principle. The Principle that emerges from the navel of Vishnu is Brahma. What is the root cause for this Brahma Principle? That which attracts the sound (sabda).
It is said, Sabda Brahmamayi (sound is Brahman), Characharamayi (that which permeates the whole universe, movable and immovable is Brahman), and Vangmayi (word is Brahman). Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi are the embodiments of these three, namely, sound, pervasiveness, and word. In every breath of the human being, there is this soham chanting. Without this soham sound, the breath cannot exist. Similarly, devoid of mind, sankalpa cannot arise. And, without sankalpa, the word cannot emerge. Thus, there is inseparable and inter-dependent relationship between the soham sound, the sankalpa in the mind, and the word. Several efforts are being made by several people to recognise this relationship. However, this principle cannot be understood by sadhana (spiritual exercise). It can be realised only through enquiry.
Man today is engaged in the study of several Upanishads. What is the essence of these Upanishads? The essence of Upanishads is the principle of unity in diversity. We are nourishing and nurturing the body. For what purpose? What is the benefit accruing out of this nourishment? In fact, nothing. As long as the body exists, we have to feed it. As long as we take food, we sleep as well. During sleep, we experience happiness. But, once we wake up, are we able to experience the same happiness? No. Therefore, in order to experience everlasting bliss, we have to realise the essence of the Upanishads. Divinity has no names. All names and forms belong to God. There is no place in which He does not exist. Nor is there an object in this world, which does not belong to Him.
Embodiments of Love!
The essential nature of Divinity is Love. However, few make the effort
to recognise this principle of love. There are several systems in the
human body like the digestive system, nervous system, etc. But there is
one main switch, which controls all the systems in the body. The eyes
see several colours. The tongue tastes several delicacies. The ears hear
several types of sounds. But, what is the basis for all these
experiences? That basis is called the fundamental principle, because of
which man is able to experience all these things. That fundamental
principle is given the name of Atma.
Because of this Atma Tathwa, several sankalpas and bhavas arise in our heart. Hridaya (heart) is the Veda. The sankalpas are the sruthis. The essence of these sruthis is Vedanta. Hence, it should not be presumed that the Vedas are somewhere in a distant corner. The all-pervading sound of the sruthis is constantly in us, with us, and is part of us. Therefore, we have to recognise the sounds that emerge from the Veda of our heart. During the past three days, in the morning you must have observed the pandits chanting the Vedic mantras with several intonations, in the Poornachandra Auditorium. When you hear the sound of the mantras, you feel very happy, even though you are not able to understand their meanings. There may be several meanings for the words in these mantras. But the very sound emerging from the chanting of these mantras will make you happy.
In order to know the true meanings of the words in these mantras, one must enter into the process of spiritual enquiry in an environment of deep silence. For, it is only in the depth of silence, the voice of God can be heard. Yesterday, I was mentioning to you in My discourse about the inherent nature (sahaja) of an object. How did sweetness come into the sugarcane? How did hot taste come into the chillies? How did bitterness come into the neem leaves? How did fragrance come into the jasmine flower? We call it nature. No, no. The divine Nature is expressing itself through these forms.
In order to understand the nature of Divinity (Paramatma), we must
engage our mind in the contemplation of the Transcendental Principle
(Parathathwa). Where does the mind come from? It comes from the sankalpa
(resolve) and vikalpa (negation or dissolution). They in turn come from
the nature of sabda (sound). Sound is the real Brahmathathwa (the
Principle of Brahma). The soham principle in the Brahmathathwa is
Atmathathwa, in essence. Therefore, in order to understand Atmathathwa,
one has to recognise the nature of the swaasa (divine breath).
also called as Hamsa Gayathri. So (sah) means that, and ham (aham),
means I. Thus, soham means "I am that ".
What is this "that "? What is it
that proclaims "I am that "? Is it mind? If so, the mind becomes an
obstacle to realise the soham principle, since it is like a mad monkey.
How can you march forward in your spiritual journey by relying on such
an unsteady mind? This kind of approach is not correct. Manas (mind) is
verily the embodiment of Vishnu, who is all-pervading. Without such a
mind, there cannot be the swaasa (breath). It is only on account of the
life breath that the mind functions.
In order to understand such subtle
meanings, one has to depend upon the method of enquiry. When you sit for
meditation on the soham principle, you will observe that the so comes
in and ham goes out while inhaling and exhaling. This process has to
be watched carefully. Here so relates to the Divine Principle and ham to ahamkara (ego). Thus, while Divinity enters into our body, ego
leaves us. And that Divine Principle which has entered into our body
must be held firmly in our system by the process of kumbhakam (holding
People doing pranayama sadhana call these processes puraka
(inhaling), kumbhaka (holding) and rechaka (exhaling) of the breath.
Soham, the Hamsa Gayathri, consists of inhaling the breath through one
nostril while chanting so and exhaling the breath through the other
nostril while chanting ham and in between holding the breath for
sometime. The most effective method lies in observing strict timings for
all the three processes involved in the soham. Disregarding the timings,
if one does pranayama, it will endanger one's life itself. The time
spent for the three processes of puraka, kumbhaka, and rechaka must be
exactly the same. Time is the essence of this pranayama sadhana, since
God is Kalaswarupa (the embodiment of time).
Our sankalpa (resolutions) must always be sathwic (pure) in nature. In order that we have sathwic sankalpas, our swaasa (breath) must be pure in nature. Thus, the principle of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara are inseparable and interdependant. They are one and the same. We must try to understand the essential nature of their unity.
Today, no one is able to realise the true meaning of the Upanishads. It
will take at least a month to describe, analyse, and understand the inner
meaning of each one of the slokas (verses) in the Upanishads. There are several
meanings for each word, and we must take that meaning that is appropriate
to a given situation.
A small example. There is a young boy who is still in the process of learning to talk. Considering his age, if you say orally the word "Rama ", he will pronounce it as "Lama ". That is the correct pronunciation at his age, as far as he is concerned. But in our view, it may be wrong. Only when we take into consideration all factors like the age, time, and the particular word used, is it possible to decide whether it is right or wrong. There are many educated boys. If you ask them to spell chaapa (mat), they will pronounce it as chepa (fish). Only when one knows what chaapa is will one be able to distinguish it from chepa. Otherwise both chaapa and chepa would mean the same for him. In the Gajendra Moksha episode in Bhagawatha, Lord Vishnu was rushing to the rescue of the elephant from the jaws of the crocodile. His consort, Lakshmi, was on his side at that time. She wanted to ask Him where He was rushing to, but there was no time. The famous poet Pothana was describing that scene beautifully thus:
Running fast behind Lord Vishnu
To enquire as to what has happened;
But she was not sure, whether He would reply;
Anxious and confused,
Her locks of hair loosening while running,
Unable to catch up with Him
She sat down dumb-founded.
Thus, each language and each country have some beautiful ways of portraying a given situation, which are specific to them.
If you want to know the meanings of the Upanishads, you have to approach the great souls who are well-versed in them. The essence of all the Upanishads is derived from the Brahmathathwa. And this Brahmathathwa expresses itself through the vaak (word). Vishnuthathwa is based on the mind. It consists of good thoughts. When there are good thoughts in the mind, they will find expression through good words. The good words in turn, give good meanings. The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara are not three separate entities. Brahma is swaasa (breath), Vishnu is manas (mind), and Maheswara is vaak (word). The unity of these three is the Atmathathwa.
Embodiments of Divine Love!
You will not be able to understand these concepts, if I go on repeating
them like this. It is also possible that those who do not know the real
meaning of the Upanishads may have some misconceptions. Therefore, the Upanishads have to be taught in a peaceful, sacred and calm environment.
The mantras have to be chanted with a clean breath. A particular
mantra has been prescribed in the Upanishads for cleansing the breath,
while explaining the Swaasathathwa. If you chant this mantra, several
diseases will be cured. First and foremost, our breath will become clean.
The blockages in the vascular system will be removed and blood will flow
freely; the cataract in the eye will get dissolved; the sound coming out
of our throat will be purified. However, we must chant these mantras
with correct intonations. Only then will the proper meaning of these mantras be revealed to us.
The entire nature of the body will be revealed by the essence of the Upanishads. How does the tongue know the taste? The tongue is able to reveal different tastes of different food materials. How is it possible? There are lakhs of taste buds on the tongue, with the help of which the tongue reveals the different tastes. Similarly, there are crores of light rays in the eyes. Thus, the Upanishadic mantras will be able to cure several diseases of the body when chanted properly. Also, when you realise their correct meanings, your behaviour itself will undergo a tremendous change. Alongwith the change of behaviour, sacred feelings arise in your heart. Ultimately, these sacred feelings find their expression as sacred words.
Embodiments of Divine Love!
There are several words in several languages in the world. They have several meanings as well. But, there must an intimate relationship between the words and their meanings. There is no use spending all your time in dilating on the meanings. It will become an exercise in futility, especially in the spiritual field. The proper swara (sound) in chanting the various mantras is very important. I often quote the example of people chanting the Aum mantra. Several people do not chant Omkara with correct intonation as they do it in a most mechanical way. The chanting of this mantra is done with three syllables, namely, 'A', 'U' and ';M'. 'A' comes from the throat, 'U' from the tongue, and 'M' from the lips. The combined form of these three syllables, namely, AUM emerges from the navel. Several people when asked to chant AUM they give us the spelling. This is not what is required. All the three syllables must be chanted simultaneously in unison. The chanting of Omkara can be compared to the taking off, soaring in the sky, and finally landing of the aeroplane. It is only when a mantra is chanted in the proper manner that you get good feelings. Several people tell Me, "Swami, I am doing Omkara for several years. But, I am unable to have a steady faith. " Yes, I know. How is it possible when you are not chanting with correct intonation and not understanding its true meaning?
The Upanishads appear to be very difficult to understand. But, if you
know the meanings of the various concepts nothing is more easy. Those
who have lost their teeth will have difficulty in chanting various
mantras. Even the sounds while chanting the mantras will be different.
While practising, you need not have to chant the mantras loudly. You do
it within yourself.
In music, some people concentrate on the swara
(note). They will change their tone to be in tune with the swara. While
doing so, they change their physical posture also. Very often this
posture appears awkward. People know that when the swara is not in tune
with the sruthi it becomes apaswara (discordant note). In order to avoid
this, one has to control the body also.
You must have observed several
people, while singing bhajans. When they sing loudly there will be a
change in their tone (swara). This should not happen. This must be
controlled. Some people close their eyes while singing devotional songs.
Some people raise one eye while the other eye is kept at a low level.
All these contortions present an awkward picture. That is why some
people while playing on the harmonium keep a small mirror over it in
order to observe their lips, eyes, etc. If the song is not sung in a
proper swara, he can see that his own face looked awkward. He will
himself feel disgusted with this. It is important that one's posture is
also good while singing a keertan or a bhajan song. He should not make
others unhappy by the contortions of his face.
Absolute concentration is necessary while performing such things. We often do certain acts inadvertently. For example, while drinking milk or coffee we indulge in conversation. Then the milk will spill and spatter on our dress and may even get our throat choked. We should never talk while drinking something or eating. In the olden days, the great rishis used to maintain silence while eating or drinking. Not only that; they invariably used to chant the following mantra before partaking of the food.
Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmaiva Thena Ganthavyam
Brahma Karma Samadhina.
You affirm that the food is an offering to Brahman. Then where is Brahman? He is within. So, immediately God replies from within:
Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva
If you talk while taking food, the digestive system will be spoiled. Once the digestive system is spoiled, several diseases will confront you. Pray to God silently keeping your eyes closed and then partake of your food. Most of the children do not know this rule. Take your food in silence in a calm atmosphere. Do not howl, talk, and chit chat. Do not laugh or cry while taking food. Do not entertain any worry before or while taking food. These are some of the precautions one has to take to lead a happy daily life.
Embodiments of Divine Love
You speak of sadhana. But, sadhana is not that easy. It is easier to
repeat names of the nine forms of bhakti (devotion), like like sravanam, keertanam,
etc. When do you get into the ultimate step of atmanivedanam
(self-surrender)? It is only after you establish sneham (friendship)
Several people do not know what is real friendship. In their
opinion friendship means wishing each other 'hello, hello'. What is this
'hello, hello'? Nothing. It simply does not mean anything. It is only a
casual accosting. This is not friendship.
Friendship presupposes an
inseparable relationship between two individuals. Their bodies may be
different. But their life principle is one and the same. When the two
individuals have different thoughts and feelings, it is not friendship.
It is said, "A man with a dual mind is half blind. " Where there are two
kinds of thoughts, it becomes a dual mind. How then can you contemplate
on divinity with a dual mind?
Children are serious of doing sadhana.
Considering their sraddha (earnest spirit of enquiry) I wish to
elaborate on this aspect. Do not ever leave the sacred path. Then only
will you have a sacred life. You can definitely achieve this. Do not
waste time. At present you are wasting a lot of time in vain pursuits.
Time is our life. It is said Kaalaya namaha, kaala kaalaya namaha. Time
is everything. If you spend such a valuable time indulging in vain and
unsacred things, how can you get it back? It is only to sanctify the
time that God has given you your span of time.
If you channelise your
thoughts in the right path, your actions will be right. The kaala (time)
karma (action) kaarana (cause), and karthavya (duty) must be harmonised
to become one.
What is this human body after all? It is just a water
bubble. Any moment it may burst. It is bound to perish any day --either
today, tomorrow or day after. We should not grieve over such a
perishable body, for that which has come is bound to go; that which has
gone is bound to return. Therefore, we need not attach much importance
to this coming and going. We must make effort to realise that which has
no birth and death, which is sacred and which is unsacred, which is
happiness and which is sorrow.
What are difficulties? In My view, difficulties are better than pleasure and comforts. It is not prudent to pray for happiness and comfort. The wisdom you gain in times of difficulty is not available in happy times. You ask any realised soul or a saintly person ahow he acquired this great wisdom. He will tell you that he underwent several sorrows and difficulties and then only he could get that wisdom. Today, people desire to have kaivalya (liberation) without undergoing any difficulty or spending a pie. How is it possible? You must work hard. Just by sitting somewhere and happily enjoying things you will find difficulties painful. It is only after undergoing difficulties you must enjoy happiness.
Once Krishna came to Kunti to enquire about her welfare. Kunti asked
Krishna, "When did You come? How is the war going on? "
"Mother, birth and death, good and bad --these are common to everybody.
You forget about these things. You tell Me what do you want ".
Then Kunti requested Krishna, "My son, until I leave my body and merge in your Lotus Feet, please continue to give me difficulties. "
"Oh Mother! You have been undergoing difficulties right from the time
you married King Pandu. Will that not suffice? Why are you asking for
further difficulties "?
Kunti replied, "Oh Krishna, You do not know the happiness in undergoing difficulties. I only know about it. Because I had undergone several difficulties, I am enjoying your divine presence constantly. All my sons earned your grace. The sons born out of my womb became the recipients of your divine Grace. That itself gives me great pleasure. What is the use of having several children without earning your divine Grace? What happiness do I derive from that? "
King Dhritarashtra had a number of sons,
but ultimately what was his fate?
Sage Suka was not married and had no son,
but did he suffer on account of this?
Kunti continued, "There is no happiness by having sons nor is there any loss by not having sons. The children that are born must bring credit to the family. They must lead a life of good behaviour. They must join good company. My sons are under your divine umbrella. From morning till evening they constantly chant your divine Name. What more happiness do I desire? I pray that I continue to enjoy the bliss. Oh Krishna "
Will the mothers of present times pray like this? Do they court difficulties of their own accord? No, no. They want sons. But they do not desire that they live in the divine presence of God. They are afraid of such a prospect. What is the use, if they sit somewhere, without reaching the divine Presence. The purpose of a human birth is to reach the Lotus Feet of the Lord.
Having grasped what ought to be grasped,
Do not let go of the grip till you succeed.
Having desired what ought to be desired,
Hold on till your desire is fulfilled.
Having asked what ought to be asked,
Hold on till you obtain what you had asked for.
Having thought what ought to be thought,
Hold on till you succeed.
Either God should yield to your prayer
Or you should ask wholeheartedly with intensity.
This is the path a true devotee should pursue.
There will be several sorrows, losses and difficulties confronting us in
life. You should not mind them. We should always consider the divine
presence as the greatest treasure that we can seek. You must develop an
unwavering and abiding faith and devotion in the eternal truth that is
Divinity. That is the only thing you should pray for. Your devotion
should be steady, pure and selfless.
People want devotion as well as
everything else in the objective world. How is it possible? You have
only one mouth and you want to drink both milk and water simultaneously.
That is not possible. Therefore, you must desire only one, that is
divinity. If you develop yearning for God, He will Himself look after
all your needs. Divine presence will give you real happiness. It is the
only permanent happiness in this world. There is no sorrow, no
unhappiness, and no worry in the divine Presence.
Someone came to Me and enquired. "Swami, I am a devotee of God. How is that I am always deep in sorrow "? I replied, "If you are really a devotee, how did this sorrow come to you? What you derive from God is happiness and not sorrow. If you say that you are experiencing sorrow, it is not correct. God always gives happiness and bliss. There is nothing like sorrow with God. What you experience is not God's sorrow. You must have borrowed it from somebody and attributed it to God. That is not correct. God is the embodiment of bliss. He always gives happiness only. "
Mamaivamsho Jeevaloke Jeevabhuta Sanathanah (The eternal Atma in all
beings is a part of My Being) is the declaration of Lord Krishna. You,
who are the amsa (part) of the divine will get only divine feelings.
Will God's prasada be ever bitter? No, never. But people out of their
ignorance think that way.
Madhwacharya, the great exponent of dualism,
used to live in the Kannada region. He was a great devotee of Lord
Krishna. Once he told his disciples that they should observe the
ekadashi vrata. Commencing from that day, for three days they observed
fasting constantly, contemplating on God, without even taking any food or
even water. On the third day, in the night, Madhwacharya appeared in
their dream and advised them "My dear disciples, this is not sadhana.
You hold on to the principles, to the divine Feet of Lord Krishna; not
to the formalities. Otherwise when will you sanctify your life? This is
what I have practised throughout my life ".
People observe ekadashi vrata
and fast for three days. On the fourth day, they make preparations for
making forty dosas (savoury pancakes). Is this ekadashi vrata? This is
not correct. What you have to do on the fourth day is to add love to
your sadhana. Once you cultivate love for God, you will forget hunger
Sage Viswamithra was taking Rama and Lakshmana to the forest to protect the yajna being performed by him. Rama and Lakshmana, sons of King Dasaratha, were of tender age at that time. They never experienced any difficulties till then. Dasaratha was much worried about their welfare in the forest. When they reached the banks of river Sarayu, Viswamithra wanted to teach them the mantras of bala and athibala so that they would not be bothered by hunger and lack of sleep.They happily followed Sage Viswamithra, who initiated them into the mantra. Did Sage Viswamithra not know that Rama was an Avatar? In spite of knowing this fact, why did he initiate Rama into these manthras?
Several people argue like this. It is true
that Rama and Lakshmana were divine personalities. But they had taken up
human frames, which needed food and sleep. Therefore, in order that they
did not suffer from hunger and lack of sleep Viswamithra initiated them into bala and athibala
mantras. If one is not troubled by hunger and lack of sleep, any amount
of sadhana can be undertaken. Anything can be achieved. Even the most
dreadful demons can be defeated in a battle. That is why Sage
Viswamithra initiated them into these mantras.
After walking some
distance, Lakshmana enquired as to why they were initiated into these
mantras. Viswamithra replied, "My dear sons, you are of tender age. You
cannot bear the hunger and lack of sleep. While you are taking food or
sleeping if the demons confront you, you will be in trouble. Therefore
you must always be alert and on your guard. These bala and athibala
mantras now relieve you of hunger and lack of sleep ".
Mahatmas (great souls) teach mantras to establish peace in the world. Therefore, one should not put silly questions like, "Did Viswamithra not know that Rama was an Avatar? " The mantras were taught to them keeping in view the requirement at that time.
Bhagawan concluded His divine discourse with the bhajan, "Prema Muditha Manase Kaho ".