Love endows you with the virtues of truth, spirit of sacrifice, peace and forbearance,
Without love, there can be no well-being,
Listen to this, oh valiant sons of Bharat!
LOVE GIVES EFFULGENCE TO LIFE
There is none in thisworld who does not know the word love. The entire universe is contained in love. Only love equals love. There is no language to describe love. Howsoever one may try, it cannot be expressed in words. Love is beyond mind and speech just like Brahman. The Vedas declare, Yatho Vacho Nivarthanthe Aprapya Manasa Saha (whence the words along with the mind rebound in futility without comprehending Brahman). Sage Narada also described love as Anirvachaneeyam (that which cannot be defined in words). It is not easy for an ordinary mortal leading a worldly life to understand and attain this transcendental principle of love which is beyond mind and speech.
Know Love through Love
True love is vested only in God. It is like a mariner’s compass. Wherever you place the mariner’s compass, its needle will always point towards the north. Similarly, the principle of true and eternal love always flows towards God under all circumstances. Just as oil makes the lamp glow, love gives effulgence to life. People in this world consider worldly love as true love. But it is not love; it cannot be called love. Love between parents and children, wife and husband is nothing more than Anuraga (attachment); it is not true love. In fact, worldly love is only physical attachment; it is not related to the Self. It can be called a sort of Moha (delusion). People love physical body, position and power. But how long all these last? As all these are temporary and transient, love related to them is also momentary. In fact, it cannot be called love. But, unfortunately, man wastes his life considering it as true love. True love is highly sacred, selfless, egoless and full of bliss. It is possible to understand such divine and sublime love only through love. Remembering, thinking and contemplating on worldly and physical relationships does not constitute love. All these worldly relations come and go.
True and eternal love blossoms in the heart. It is not something that emerges from somewhere; it is all-pervasive and ever-present. Then how is it that man is not able to recognise this ever-expansive principle of love in his heart? Man’s heart today has become barren, dirty and polluted. What is the reason? The reason is that he has filled his heart with worldly and mundane feelings. Therefore, there is no scope for true and eternal love to find place in it. First of all, he should get rid of all that is worldly and transient. Only then will true love blossom in his heart and become expansive. This is what man should know today. Man’s love keeps on changing constantly. During his childhood, he considers the lap of his mother as the very heaven itself. As he grows up and acquires worldly education, he even forgets the love of his mother. He considers education as everything and devotes all his attention to it. After facing many types of hardships and problems, he completes his education and acquires a job. When he gets married and enters Grihastha Ashram (householder stage), his focus is shifted from education to family life. After begetting children, he turns his attention towards accumulation of wealth. Then wealth becomes his only goal of life. When he faces many difficulties, losses and sorrows in accumulation of wealth, he gets disgusted with life and starts beseeching God. In this manner, his focus keeps on shifting from one thing to the other all his life. How can such ephemeral love be termed as true love? It is not the infinite, eternal and changeless Atmic love.
Divine love is changeless, whereas worldly love is ever-changing and full of Bhrama (delusion). So far as Bhrama persists, one can never experience Brahma (Supreme Being). It is only when you keep your heart steady and sacred can you attain true and eternal love. Yad Drishyam Thannasyam (all that is seen is bound to perish). All that is visible to the naked eye is bound to disappear sooner or later. Whatever disappears or perishes cannot be called truth. True love is that which does not disappear, that which is present in the inner being and purifies the inner feelings. True love only gives and does not receive. Do you find anyone in this world who always gives? Even a father is not prepared to give his property to his own son. Such being the case, how can you expect people to share with others what they have? Only God has this quality of giving. Such unconditional love is associated only with Divinity. In fact, this divine love springs forth from every heart and immerses the entire being from top to toe. Man can experience this love in every cell and every atom of his body. But, unfortunately, as man’s heart is polluted, he does not find the spring of love emerging from it. He is all the time engrossed in the pursuit of physical and worldly desires. It is therefore necessary for him to get rid of worldly desires. Even the world will not accept a person who is devoid of love. A heart devoid of love is no better than the body without life. Love is life. Love is God. First of all, every man should recognise this principle of love.
Spiritual Practices Purify the Heart
Whatever teachings that you hear and read, you should imbibe them in your heart. Once a Guru called his disciples and said to them, “My dear ones! I am giving all of you a sweet. See to it that it is not spoilt by ants, flies, mosquitoes, cats or rats.” Most of the students tried to preserve it in many ways. But only one student partook of it, digested it and derived strength from it. What is the inner meaning of this? It is not enough if you preserve the divine teachings in books; you should imbibe those nectarine teachings in your heart, digest them and experience them. Only then can you derive Pushti and Santushti (strength and happiness). You should treasure in your heart all the sacred teachings that you hear, read and understand. Whatever you have treasured in your heart, you should put it into practice in your life. Only then will you have fulfilment. Merely eating is not enough; you should digest what you eat. Similarly, merely hearing and reading is not enough; you should put it into practice and experience it in your daily life.
Gopikas constantly prayed to Krishna thus:
Oh Krishna, play Your sweet flute and sow the seeds of love in the desert of loveless hearts.
Let the rain of love fall on earth and make the rivers of love flow.
Due to the absence of love, man’s heart has become barren like a wasteland.
Rain water gets absorbed in sand, but it becomes sweet when it falls on clay. However, when it falls in an oyster, it becomes a pearl and shines brilliantly. Similarly, devotion shines in a person depending on his deservedness.
Be it worldly, scientific or spiritual path, you get the desired result only when your heart is pure. All spiritual practices are meant to purify your heart. Everyone must endeavour to realise this sacred principle of love. Love does not connote Nature; it is beyond Nature. Love is not contained in Nature; Nature itself is contained in love. Similarly, it is not love that is contained in the universe; it is the universe that is contained in love. When I hold this handkerchief in My hand, what does it mean? It means My hand is bigger than handkerchief. But if you say, love is contained in this universe, it would mean that the universe is bigger than love. But, in reality, it is not so. The reality is that love is bigger than the universe. Love is not subservient to this visible world; this world itself is under the control of love. Creation, sustenance and dissolution, time, cause and effect, all are contained in love. Other than love, everything else in this world is physical and fleeting. How long will this body last? It is temporary. Love that is related to this ephemeral body is also momentary and transient. Only the principle of Atma, Brahma or Hridaya is true and eternal. It is the foremost duty of man to recognise this true and eternal principle of love.
Pure Love is nothing but Atma
Today the world appears to be like a sick person suffering from some incurable disease. Wherever you see, you find unrest and agitation. Wherever you go, you find injustice, betrayal, unrighteousness and evil practices. All these are contrary to the principle of love. It is only love that is true, permanent, all-pervasive and bestower of bliss to all. Therefore, if you want to experience eternal bliss, it is possible only through love. Love is the unifying principle of body, mind and spirit. Worldly love is related to the body, mind and to some extent to intellect. But the Atmic love transcends the body, mind and intellect. What is Atma? It has no form. It manifests in the form of bliss. In fact, love that is sacred, pure, selfless, attributeless, egoless and formless is nothing but Atma. Such love can only be experienced. There is sugar. What is its form? It looks like white sand. But if you ask what is the form of its sweetness, none can give a proper reply. Sweetness has no form; it can be experienced only by tasting. We experience love in many ways in this world. However, true and eternal love is also immanent in this worldly love. That which is temporary will vanish soon, and that which is eternal is the innate reality. You have to enquire into this principle of love in a number of ways. True love is related to the inner Self, whereas worldly love is related to body, mind and intellect. Due to union and separation, this worldly love causes happiness and sorrow. Even if it is love for God, it causes sorrow to you when you feel separation from Him. But when you develop Atmic love, you will not feel grief even in separation.
Attain Peace through Love
There are four types of love – Swartha Prema, Samanjasa Prema, Parartha Prema and Yathartha Prema. Swartha Prema can be compared to an electric bulb in the room. Its light is limited only to that room; it cannot give light outside the room. Samanjasa Prema can be compared to moonlight which is present everywhere but it is not so bright. But Parartha Prema is like sunlight which is very bright. However, it is not permanent because when there is sunset, we cannot see the sun and think that it is not there. In reality, sun neither rises nor sets. In the same manner, it is wrong to say God incarnates on earth only when Dharma disappears from the face of the earth. Dharma never disappears.
(Oh Arjuna! Whenever there is a decline in Dharma and rise in Adharma, I incarnate on earth.)
Here decline in Dharma means not its disappearance but decline in its practice. What is the meaning of Glanir Bhavati? It means that Dharma is not visible. But it does not mean that it ceases to exist. When the sun sets, we think sun is not there. The fact is that it does exist, but it is not visible to us; it is visible in another part of the world. Similarly, as Dharma becomes invisible, people think it has ceased to exist. The fourth type of Prema is Yathartha Prema. It is present within and without at all places, at all times and under all circumstances. This is what the Vedas describe as Antarbahischa Tatsarvam Vyapya Narayana Sthita (That all-pervasive God is present within and without). It illumines the inner and outer world equally. This Atmic love neither comes nor goes, neither increases nor decreases. It never perishes; it is eternal. You should try to experience this love. You need not go in search of this love. You cannot receive it as a gift from others nor can it be purchased anywhere. It is very much present in you and all over. This is described as Sarvatah Panipadam Tat Sarvathokshi Siromukham, Sarvatah Srutimalloke Sarvamavruthya Tishthati (with hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth and ears pervading everything, He permeates the entire universe). When you experience this eternal and immortal principle of love, you will experience peace at all the three levels – physical, mental and spiritual. You can attain peace only through love.
There is a prayer describing Lord Vishnu, Santhakaram Bhujaga Sayanam Padmanabham Suresham... (Lord Vishnu, having a lotus emerging from His navel, reclines peacefully on Adisesha...)What is the inner meaning of this? Though the Lord reclines on the thousand-hooded serpent, he is ever peaceful. How is he able to remain in this state of peace? He is able to experience peace because he has subjugated the thousand-hooded serpent. But man today has placed the serpent of worldly desires on his head. That is why he is always fear-stricken. Therefore, it is essential to keep desires and materialistic tendencies under check. Where does Lord Narayana dwell? He dwells in the heart of everyone. So, there should be no place for desires in the heart. Then, what is it that entertains desires? It is the mind. It is the mind that indulges in all types of mischief. Therefore, first of all, turn your mind towards the heart. How can it be done? It can be done only through love. There is no other way to do it. All other ways will prove futile before the tricks of the mind. The mind appears to be all-pervasive. That is why the Vedas said, Mano Moolam Idam Jagat (mind is the basis of the entire world). The mind is subservient to the world, whereas the world is subservient to love. When you follow the master, i.e., the path of love, you can conquer the entire world.
Worldly Relations are only Bondages
Sugriva devised many plans to conquer Vali. His minister Hanuman was not an ordinary one. He was one of great intelligence. He used all his intelligence and enquired how they could conquer Vali. He understood that in order to win over Vali, they had to make friendship with someone who was more powerful than Vali. There was no point in befriending someone who was inferior to Vali in power. That is why Sugriva subjected Rama to a test in order to determine whether He was superior to Vali in power. Since Rama proved that he had much superior power than Vali, he at once made friendship with Rama. He firmly believed that he could easily conquer Vali with the help of Rama.
Once Ravana went to Vali to invite him for a duel. At that time, Vali was doing Sandhya Vandanam (prayers done during dawn and dusk). In order that his Sandhya Vandanam was not disturbed, he put Ravana under his armpit and continued his ritual. Such was the power of Vali who could keep the mighty Ravana under his arm and subdue his ego.
Vibhishana underwent so much sufferings and hardships for the love of Rama. It was the love for Rama that endowed him with great strength. During the war between Rama and Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana killed most of the Rakshasa (demon) warriors including Kumbhakarna and the valorous sons of Ravana. When they thought only Ravana remained to be conquered, a mighty Rakshasa came to the battlefield. Then Vibhishana said to Rama, “If you can subjugate him, you can easily win over Lanka. He is much more powerful than Ravana himself.” Rama waged a fierce battle with him for a long time, but could not conquer him. He was tired. Noticing this, Vibhishana counselled Rama from behind. “Rama, this is not the time to relax. If You delay further, it will be impossible to conquer him. I am telling You all this out of my love for You.”
Enthused by the counsel of Vibhishana, Rama continued the fight and ultimately killed the demon. When the mighty Rakshasa fell to the ground, Vibhishana also fainted at the same time. Some time after this, he got up chanting the Name of Rama. He repented and said, “Swami, this is my weakness. Fie on me. Having filled my heart with Your love, it was not proper on my part to display this weakness.” Rama asked, “Well, why did you faint? What is the reason?” Vibhishana said, “Swami, that mighty warrior was my son. It was due to grief arising out of physical attachment that I displayed my weakness.”
As you can see, Vibhishana was prepared to sacrifice the life of his own son for the victory of Rama. Then Rama asked, “Vibhishana, why did you do this? Is it not a mistake on your part? You should have told me in the beginning itself that he was your son.” Then Vibhishana replied, “Swami, whoever he was, he had come to wage a war against You. There is no scope for entertaining thoughts of physical relationship and attachment in a war.”
Matha Nasthi, Pitha Nasthi,
Artham Nasthi, Griham Nasthi,
Thasmath Jagrata Jagrata.
(The relationships like mother, father, brothers, sisters and friends are not real. House and wealth are also illusory. Hence, beware! beware!) (Sanskrit Verse)
“Do we observe physical relationship in a war? If any of our relations comes and wages a war against us, we have to treat him as our enemy and not as our relation. Be it father or mother, friends or relatives, whoever they may be, if they are against God, we should have no relationship with them. I have surrendered to You and I am Your servant. Therefore, I must strive for Your victory. All the worldly relationships are momentary like water bubbles. They are bound to perish in a moment. Your love alone is true and eternal.” With such deep love for Rama, Vibhishana tried hard for His victory. There should be an inseparable bond of love between you and God. Whatever value you may attach to worldly relationships, they are only bondages. Tamasic relations are like iron chains, Rajasic relations are like copper chains and Sattwic relations are like gold chains. It may be an iron chain, a copper chain or a gold chain but a chain is after all a chain which binds you. The materials like iron, copper and gold may have some value but bondage has no value. There should be no bondage even if it is a Sattwic one. One should aspire for only the love of Rama which is pure and unsullied. Vibhishana propagated this divine principle of love setting his own example. He was the Sattwic friend of Rama whereas Sugriva was His Rajasic friend and Jambavan, Tamasic friend. Though Vibhishana belonged to Rakshasa clan, he surrendered to Rama with pure and Sattwic feelings. You find the radiance of love only in such pure and Sattwic feelings. Such sacred love cannot be measured; it cannot be described. There is no language which can express it.
Love is something that has not dropped down from the sky nor has it emerged from the earth or the nether world. When the ignorance is destroyed, it blossoms in the heart. This is the teaching of all the sacred texts.
Attain the Priceless Gem of Love
Love has no birth and no death. It is ever- present. It shines in the heart when all the worldly feelings are driven away from it. This is the main teaching of the Vedas. It is not possible to describe this love. Narada used many adjectives to describe love yet he could not give full description of it. He said: Yallabdhwa Puman Ichchharamo Bhavati Trupto Bhavati Matto Bhavati Atmaramo Bhavati (having attained that, man gets total satisfaction, fulfilment, ecstasy and bliss). Love is like a priceless gem. None can estimate its value. Mira sang, Payoji Maine Nam Ratan Dhana Payo (I have found the jewel of Divine Name). Where can you find this priceless gem? In which market can you find it? Even ordinary gems are not displayed outside. Only fish are kept outside in the market. Gems are kept safely in an iron safe and are shown only to those who can buy them. Where is this priceless gem of love available? You cannot buy it like any other commodity in a market. This gem of love is available only with God who is the embodiment of love. It is available only in the bazaar of love and in the shop of love. God is the sole owner of this love. It is possible to get it only from Him. One may estimate the value of all the jewels in the world but none can estimate the value of the gem of love. It is impossible to describe this glorious, eternal, sacred and priceless principle of love. Therefore, do not undervalue love and do not consider it as an ordinary thing and thereby lose it. Once it is lost, it can never be regained.
Having attained the proximity of Sai, do not fritter away this golden opportunity, but make best use of it.
If you lose this chance to serve the Lotus Feet of the Lord of Parthi, you will never get it again. He develops devotion in you, confers strength on you and ultimately grants you liberation.
Do not ruin yourself by paying heed to the evil talk of others.
Come to Him and receive His love.
(Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, “Prema Mudita Manase Kaho…”)
– From Bhagavan’s Discourse in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam on 27th July 1996.
But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
CELEBRATIONS AT PRASANTHI NILAYAM
PILGRIMAGE OF SRIKAKULAM DISTRICT DEVOTEES
about 1,800 devotees cameon a pilgrimage to Prasanthi Nilayam from Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh on 22nd and 23rd December 2012. The Sai Organisation of this district organised a devotional music concert as part of this pilgrimage on 22nd December 2012. The concert was presented by the noted singer Sri Saratchandra and party. Beginning his concert at 5.00 p.m. with prayer to Lord Ganesh, the singer enthralled the audience with devotional songs which included many famous compositions of legendary singer Ghantasala. Soulful rendition of beautiful songs like “Jayatu Jayatu Narayana” (hail Lord Narayana), “Jaya Krishna Mukunda Murari” (hail Lord Krishna), “Shambho Sankara Gaureesha” (Lord Siva, the consort of Gauri), “Namo Sathya Sai Baba, Namo Sathya Sai” (salutations to Sathya Sai) kept the audience spellbound for over one hour. At the conclusion of the concert, the singer and party were felicitated. After a brief session of Bhajans and distribution of Prasadam, the programme came to a close with Arati at 6.30 p.m.
PILGRIMAGE OF MADHYA PRADESH AND CHHATTISGARH DEVOTEES
Nearly 2,000 devotees came to Prasanthi Nilayam from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on a pilgrimage from 21st to 25th December 2012. During the course of their stay at Prasanthi Nilayam, they presented an excellent cultural programme on 23rd December 2012, comprising a musical drama and a folk dance of Chhattisgarh.
The drama entitled, “Sanjeevani for Life” (elixir for life) presented the essence of the teachings of various Avatars and highlighted their relevance and significance for transforming the life of modern man. The story of the drama was unfolded through Sage Narada fulfilling the Divine Mission of Lord Narayana by putting erring humanity on earth on the path of truth, selfless service and self-sacrifice. Flashback episodes from the lives of Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and Shirdi Sai Baba added to the impact of the teachings of Avatars, leading mankind ultimately to Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of Sri Sathya Sai Baba who set the ideals of service to man and love for all mankind. The drama which began at 5.00 p.m. came to a close at 6.00 p.m.
This was followed by an enchanting folk dance performed by the youth of a tribal village Kariha in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh. Beginning with prayer to Lord Narayana, the dancers showcased various moods and emotions of tribal life for each month of the year through 12 different forms of the folk dance. The dancers performed vibrantly and made many beautiful formations. At the conclusion of this cultural programme, the participants were felicitated and clothes were presented to them. This was followed by Bhajans which concluded with video screening of the Bhajan, “Bhaja Govindam” in the golden voice of Bhagavan. After distribution of Prasadam, the programme came to a close with Arati at 7.00 p.m.