The following article is from Sathya Sai Baba's discourse on Easwaramma Day, May 6, 2008.
Sathya Sai Baba elucidates three principles: First, we are Atma and not the body; second, not to have body attachment; third, respect the mother.
The Three Bodies
Man has actually three bodies – physical, mental and spiritual. Therefore, you are not one person but three – 1. The one you think you are, i.e., body, 2. The one others think you are, i.e., mind, and 3. The one you really are, i.e., Atma (spirit). Your true form is the Atma, not the body or the mind.
Revere Your Mother
In the circumstances that prevail today, there are very few who honour their mother. Your mother carried you in her womb for nine months and gave you birth after undergoing many difficulties and hardships. Forgetting such a mother is like forgetting God. This amounts to forgetting yourself. Mother is your first teacher. It is the mother who feeds and nourishes you. It is on the lap of your mother that you grow up and experience all types of happiness. None should forget the love that he receives from his mother. First and foremost, our mother deserves our highest respect.
Physically your mother may not be with you, but your love for her should remain the same. The mother of this body sent a letter to me when I was in Kodaikanal. After that I came to Brindavan (Bangalore). Once she prayed that My name should be on her lips at the time of her death. When she passed away in May 1972, Summer Course was in progress at Brindavan. She was hale and hearty. All of a sudden, she called out, “Swami, Swami, Swami …” I replied, “I am coming, I am coming …” When I came down the stairs, she breathed her last. So long as there is life in the body, we should take care of it. Once the life goes away the body has no value.
The Life Principle Is the Mother, Not the Body
Truly speaking, who is the mother? It is the life principle that is the mother, not the body. Body is like a water bubble; mind is like a mad monkey. What for we should keep the body? Immediately, I asked for the car to be brought and sent her body in the car to Puttaparthi. I remained in Brindavan. For the summer course, students had not come just from one college but from various colleges all over India. They all thought that Swami would not come to the class that day. Then what? Exactly at 9 o’ clock, I entered the classroom smilingly. Students were surprised to see Me there. They were all thinking, “What is this? Swami’s mother has passed away and He has come to the classroom.” Mother does not go anywhere. The body that was being addressed as ‘mother’ has left. But the mother is with Me only. Hence, there was no need to be sad. So long as I am there, mother is always with Me. Therefore, I told the students to be happy and not to feel sorry that the mother of this body had left her mortal coil. At that time V.K. Gokak was the Vice Chancellor. He was also surprised thinking, “What, Swami is talking like this!” I have not taken birth from the physical body. After all what is this body! It exists when five elements are there in it. Body is like a bag containing five elements. When the five elements leave the body, it becomes an empty bag. Hence, one should not have undue attachment with the body.
All mothers and children should develop these feelings of detachment. So long as the mother is alive, we should respect her, honour her and make her happy in every possible way. There is no need to be sad when she leaves the body. Even here in Puttaparthi, people said, “What is this? Swami has sent the body of Easwaramma, but He Himself has not come?” What for I should go with the body? Body is only a vesture. It is like a leather bag. When the five elements leave the body, the five senses also go with it. Then why should we grieve over the lifeless body? I arranged for whatever was supposed to be done at the worldly level. I remained in Brindavan and conducted the summer classes happily. In this world, all the physical relationships are of our own making. Otherwise, who is related to whom? This relationship of mother and son is only at the physical level. The mother came, performed the acts that she was destined to perform and then left. I have to perform My duty. Therefore, I engaged Myself in the performance of the task for which I have come. When we see from the worldly point of view, the body is physical and ephemeral.
The body is made up of five elements and is bound to perish sooner or later, but the indweller has neither birth nor death. The indweller has no attachment whatsoever and is the eternal witness. (Telugu Poem)
We should keep Dehi (indweller) in our view and not the physical body (Deha). Everyone forgets the body when he goes to sleep. When you can forget it in your sleep, why can’t you forget it forever? However, so far as your parents are there, you should make them happy. Do not ignore their well-being. We should look after our parents and treat them with love and respect. However, we should not have undue attachment to the body.
Always make parents happy
Mother gives you your body. Father provides the means of nourishment and growth of the body. Acharya gives you education and God gives you everything. Therefore, you should never forget these four and treasure them in your heart. Mother and father have their place in the heart of man. He should not forget them even if he is in great difficulty or upset over something. One who forgets his or her parents cannot be a human being. How can you exist without your parents? They are the seeds of your life; the very source of your life on earth. Therefore, parents should have prime importance in our life. Even if you are old or in great difficulty, you should make efforts to make your parents happy as far as it is possible for you.