Recognise The Fundamental Principle of Oneness. 21 March 2004 page 28
Who Am I? 30 March 1987 page 32
Love All Serve All
Prema And The Triple Purity. 14 January 1995 page 37
Service To Man Is Service To God. 1 January 2004 page 44
Quenching The Thirst. 6 March 1977 page 50
God Is The Five-Letter Mantra
Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 19, Chapter 14
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Prasanthi Nilayam, 21 July 1986
Man is the only being endowed with the unique weapon of the mind. Whoever is able to master it will be victorious in life. A slave of the mind cannot achieve happiness or peace.
The body with all the sense organs, made up of the five elements, is the dwelling that the mind has established for its fulfilment. It is like an armour. The mind is the basis for the body. It is the cause of all worldly activities and experiences. A body without the mind is like a school without a teacher, a crop withering for lack of water, a temple without a deity, an electric wire without the current—utterly useless and lifeless.
Men are generally prone to regard the mind as intimately bound to the body. Believing that the body, a composite of the five elements, is real and permanent, they devote all their time and actions to its well being. Life is wasted in pursuing mundane objects. The highest realisation consists in using the intelligence (buddhi) to acquire higher wisdom (vijnana) and conquering the mind through that wisdom. The Upanishad declares: Prajnaanam Brahma (Realisation of Brahman is the highest wisdom). This consummation is attained only through good thoughts.
Good thoughts the most precious possession. They are charged with immense power, purity, and divinity. They are life-giving and life-sustaining. They will yield the desired fruits according the way they are used.
Transformation of sinners to saints
The mind, it should be noted, is not like a blank paper. It is a palimpsest that carries on it the imprint of the experiences and actions of many past lives. It manifests as a reflection of the Atma (spirit). The Atma + the Mind = Man. Man – Mind = Atma. The mind is the cause of bondage or liberation. If one can fill himself with good thoughts in any situation, one’s life will become sanctified. Hence, it is necessary for everyone to try to cultivate good thoughts and make them govern the life and actions.
The prime requisite for the cultivation of good thoughts is association with good people (sathsang). The scriptures have expatiated on the value of good company with appropriate examples. The highway robber Ratnakara supported his family by attacking wayfarers and robbing them of their possessions. He was so completely transformed by association with the seven great sages (Saptarishis-Vasishtaand others) that he later became Valmiki, the great AdiKavi,who wrote the epic Ramayana. Not only was he the first among poets, he achieved the same status as the sage Vyasa. The seven sages hailed Valmiki as the giver of the verse (Slokadaata), coming after the giver of all things (Lok-daata Bhagavan).
Another example. During Buddha’s time, there was a very cruel and wicked man known as Angulimala. Like Ratnakara, he was engaged in waylaying travelers, robbing them of their wealth, and cutting off their thumbs to use them as a necklace round his neck. The Buddha was able to reform even such a cruel man and turn him into a spiritual seeker.
Power of faith
Gauranga belonged to a community called Jagayi-Madhayi,who were noted for their wicked ways and cruelty. Through his association with holy men, he became a great devotee of the Lord and acquired the appellation Chaitanya (since he was always immersed in Krishna Consciousness). He devoted his entire life to glorifying God in song and dance.
Thus, through all ages, there have been men who have been transformed into saints and sages by associating with good and holy men. Coming to more recent times, we have many good examples. In Tamilnadu, some decades ago, there was a young lad, belonging to a poor Brahmin family. At that time Gandhiji was emerging as the leader of the national struggle for freedom. Everyone was talking about the lawyer who was voicing the country’s aspirations and demonstrating its determination to win freedom from foreign rule. The Brahmin boy’s motber was keen that her son should become a lawyer like Gandhiji. She told him: “My dear son! You should study like Gandhi and try to relieve the sufferings of the poor. You must become a great hero like him. You must adhere to dharmaand fight for justice.”
From that day, the young lad devoted himself to his studies, remembering his mother’s advice. He resolved to become a lawyer and serve the poor and distressed. He overcame innumerable difficulties and handicaps. Since he could not afford lamps at home, he used to study under street lamps and prepare for his examinations. Often he had to go without food. Once, on the eve of an examination, he was studying under a street lamp when he felt drowsy. Since he could not afford a cup of tea—though it cost very little those days—he washed his face with cold water from a tap and continued his study. He passed the law examination with distinction.
He always kept in mind his resolve to live up to his mother’s words. He worked with several seniors at the Bar, picked up practice, and progressed as a lawyer. He had a deep faith in God. Whatever difficulties he encountered, he regarded them as intended by Providence for his own good. Because of his faith in God and association with good men, a great change occurred in his career. He was appointed Judge of the Madras High Court—the first Indian to be chosen for that honour. It was a fitting recognition for his character and abilities. Such was the career of T.Muthuswamy Iyer.
When devotion to God is coupled with good resolutions, anything can be accomplished. As in the case of Muthuswamy Iyer, there are instances of young men in other countries who started their careers to earn a living by polishing shoes or selling newspapers or washing dishes in hotels but who rose to high positions because of their good resolutions and their unswerving faith in God. Some of them became great scholars and led dedicated lives.
Man has unlimited potentialities
In Britain, there was a poor lad who used to make a living by writing addresses on covers for illiterate persons and to give tuitions to children. Each time he wrote an address, he used to say. “May God bless you.” He used to tell the young children before they went back to their homes after their lessons, “May God shower His grace on you.” He had firm faith that some day God would raise him to a position where he would be able to render service to the people. He always told his young students, “Have faith in God.” He himself had firm faith in God.
In course of time, he became the Prime Minister of Britain. He was James Ramsay MacDonald. From a poor address writer to the Prime Minister of Great Britain—what a change in fortune wrought by the grace of God!
The union of good resolutions with faith in God is like bringing together the positive and negative ends of electric wires; through this combination, any great thing can be accomplished.
We do not realise the unlimited potentialities of man. Not only in respect of his physical form but also in regard to his intelligence, man is far above all other beings on earth. He can achieve whatever he wills to do. He can even become the master of the world. But, superficially, man appears as weakling. The life of man is subject to certain limitations. However intelligent one may be, one should not forget that life is governed by these limitations. One should use the intelligence one is endowed with, within the limits inherent in the human condition, to lead an exemplary, ideal life. If the intelligence is not properly used life becomes futile.
Talents are misused for selfish purposes
Owing to absence of right thinking and right attitudes, the powers of the intellect are being misused now. Talents are being employed for selfish purposes. Though man has prodigious intellectual ability, it is being used for wrong purposes. Self-interest and self-centredness are distorting men’s outlook and leading them astray from the righteous path. Truth and integrity are at a discount. Moral standards are-declining. Caste and creedal differences are mushrooming. Parochial differences are breeding mortal enmity and hatred. The spiritual consciousness is weakening. Envy and hatred are reigning supreme. Fear of sin has given place to fondness for sin. Anything spiritual is viewed with levity.
What is the reason for all this? Absorbed in sensual desires and worldly pursuits man has lost all sense of morality and goodness. He has lost sight of his own divine nature. Greed has turned man against man. Bad thoughts and ill-conceived desires have wrought havoc.
Concerted efforts must be made to change this situation by influencing men’s thoughts and attitudes. The primary requisite is to develop the will power of people along right lines. When will power (ichhasakti) is developed, other powers like discrimination, intelligence, retentivity, articulation, analysis, contemplation, and creative action, can be developed. Without a strong will, nothing can be accomplished. Will power is needed to get rid of entrenched habits like smoking. Through will power, desires of all kinds can be brought under control. The ancient sages were able to conquer all desires by austere penance, renouncing all worldly objects. The will should be directed toward God.
Deepen your faith in God
Faith in God is the bedrock on which one’s life should be built. All the scriptures one may read, all the rituals one may practice, the mastery of the Upanishads or the Gita—all these will be of no avail if there is no deep faith in God. They will be only mere physical or intellectual exercises. They may even strengthen the delusions regarding the body-mind complex.
Deepen your faith in God. Without God how can all the marvels in the cosmos be accounted for? By whose power are millions of stars held in their places? How does the earth turn on its axis without an axle? How does the wind blow to give gratuitous comfort to one and all? These phenomena are beyond human power. All these are the work of the unseen Power acting from behind the screen. It is the Unseen that sustains the seen. It is the power of God.
Eight types of gurusand their functions
Today is the sacred day of GuruPoornima.Bharatiyas (Indians) have held the view that one should try to sublimate one’s life by seeking a guru and acting according to his teachings. There are eight types of gurus: (1) bodha guru, (2) Veda guru, (3) nishiddha guru, (4) kamya guru, (5) vachaka guru, (6) soochakaguru, (7) karana guru, and (8) vihita guru.
The bodha guru teaches the scriptures (sastras)and encourages the pupil to act up to scriptural injunctions.
The Vedaguruimparts the inner meaning of theVedas,establishes the pupil in spiritual truths, and turns his mind toward God.
Thenishiddhaguruimparts knowledge about rites and duties and shows how one’s welfare here and in the hereafter, can be ensured.
The kamyagurumakes one engage oneself in meritorious deeds to secure happiness in both the worlds.
The vachakaguru imparts knowledge of yoga and prepares the disciple for the spiritual life.
The soochaka guru teaches how the senses are to be controlled through various types of discipline.
The karana guru reveals the unity of the individual soul (jivi) and the Atma.
The vihita guru clears all doubts, purifies the mind, and shows how Self-realisation can be attained.
Of these eight gurus, the karana guru is the foremost. Through various teachings and practices, he helps the individual to progress from human to divine consciousness. Only the divine can act as such a teacher. All other gurus can be helpful only to a limited extent. There are, moreover, persons who claim to be gurus but who are really after the disciple’s money. They trade in mantrasand tantras.Self-realisation is not to be got through mantrasor tantras. Only by the purification of the mind can the Omni-self be realised.
God is present in everyone
Sarvam Vishnumayam Jagath (The Universe is permeated by Vishnu). Sarvam BrahmamayamJagath(Everything in the Cosmos is Brahmam).Vishnu and Brahmamrefer to one and the same Universal Consciousness, which pervades everything in the Cosmos.
The Divine is present in everyone. Holding firmly to this belief, one should not cause harm to anyone because one would be causing harm to God who is present in everyone. Today we talk about peace in the world. How can that peace be found outside? It has to be found inside you. How can you find peace in a world that is in “pieces”? Holding the atom bomb in one hand, is there any meaning in talking about peace? When haunted by fear, how can you have peace?
You can have real peace only when you throw away the atom bomb. Real peace can come only when thoughts about the world are replaced by thoughts of God. God is the author and the guarantor of peace. Only when we rely on God can we have genuine peace.
“God is”—the powerful five-letter mantra
On this Guru Poornimaday, I do not intend to give you any eight-letter (ashtakshari) or five-letter (panchakshari) mantrabased on any particular deity’s name. Nor am I enjoining you to study any Upanishad, or the Gita, or the Brahma Sutras. There is a simple five-letter pronouncement. “Godis” (Devudunnaadu,in Telugu). Make this your sheet-anchor. If you go on reciting it, thinking over it, acting up to it, and conveying it to others, immersing yourself in the bliss of this experience, you will be making the greatest contribution to the welfare of the world. (Bhagawan recited a poem on the glories of God’s creation to prove Devudunnaadu).
Consider this mantraas the message for this GuruPoornimaand proclaim it in all circumstances and places with all the conviction and strength you can command. The world can be turned into an earthly paradise if you strengthen your faith in God and demonstrate it in your actions. You must have the courage and determination to face any kind of problems and difficulties. By propagating this mantra,you can promote love of God and fear of sin among the people. The mantra“Godis” can be more powerful than a mantrabased on any particular deity’s name. Moreover, mere repetition of any mantrais of little use. Greater than the power of mantraor yantrais the power of a pure heart (chithasuddhi).Your faith must stem from the heart, which is the seat of the Divine.
In the Gita, the Lord has revealed the part of the body in which the Divine resides. He has declared that taking the form of Vaiswanara, the Lord enters the body of every being to consume food and digest it. This means that the Divine dwells in the stomach, digests whatever food is taken, and supplies nourishment to all parts of the body. If bad food is eaten, the effects will be bad. The digestive energy turns out pure or impure products in the system according to the nature of the food supplied to it.
Keep the five-letter mantra as constant companion
Spiritual disciplines determine the character of a person. Character determines destiny—whether good or bad. Character is built up by constant practice of good actions. Actions, in turn, are based on one’s thoughts and intentions. Whenever any thought arises in the mind, one should examine whether it is right or wrong, whether it will do good to society or cause harm to it. Actions should be based on such enquiry. It would be wrong to blame anyone for our misfortunes. Our thoughts and actions alone are responsible for our plight. One entertains pure thoughts and does all actions with firm faith in God will be favoured with God’s Grace.
Have this five-letter mantraas your constant companion and strengthen your faith in God. This will lead in due course to God-realisation. Unwavering faith in God will promote spiritual power (Atma-sakti) and confer indescribable bliss. Doubts should not be allowed to sprout. Faith is essential for accomplishing anything in life. Without faith, even ordinary things in life are not possible.
From today, develop your faith in God. Engage yourselves in dedicated service to society, and make your lives purposeful and helpful to those in distress or need. Remember that whomsoever you may serve, you are serving God. This is my benediction for all of you.
The Eternal Witness. In the Anandavalli portion of the Rig Veda, there is a beautiful and poetic reference to Brahmananda (Supreme Bliss). Brahmananda refers to bliss that is limitless and beyond description by words; it is also something that cannot be comprehended by the ordinary mind. Unless one leads a calm, pure, noble, virtuous, peaceful, and unsullied life, one can neither understand nor experience this Supreme bliss. It is beyond the physical, mundane, and transient world.
From ephemeral pleasures to divine bliss
Our ancients have categorised the various types of joy and happiness that can be experienced. The lowest type is manavaananda, which refers to the pleasure that humans experience in the course of their normal life and which is connected with worldly objects, entities, and matters. Thousand times greater is gandharvaananda or the happiness experienced by celestial beings. Daivaananda is the next higher level of happiness; it is a thousand times greater than gandharvaananda. It refers to the joy experienced by the demi-gods (devas). Far greater than daivaananda is Brihaspathiananda, the bliss experienced by Brihaspati, the preceptor of the devas. A thousand times greater is Prajapatiananda, the joy experienced by Prajapati (in ancient Indian scriptures, Prajapati is the one associated with the practical aspects of Creation). Brahmananda is a thousand times greater than Prajapatiananda, the highest joy that can be measured on a finite scale. You can see what an immense gulf separates manavaananda, which man hungers and normally settles for, and Brahmananda, which he really ought to seek.
People use the word Brahmananda quite casually, without the faintest idea of what it actually means. Thus, every petty pleasure is glibly described as Brahmananda. For example, a person has a nice meal and describes the experience as Brahmanandam. People do not understand the infinite gulf separating manavaananda and Brahmananda. The pleasures that one normally enjoys is not even a tiny spec of Brahmananda. People do not realise that while worldly pleasures can be described in words, Brahmananda is indescribable.
Sandeepan Chatterjee [who spoke earlier] said that divine love and bliss transcend the bounds of space and time and that they are beyond season and reason as well. Indeed; Ananda (Bliss) is Ananda at all times and under all circumstances. Since Brahman and Atma are synonymous, Brahmananda can also be referred to as Atmananda. Supreme bliss is verily the same as the bliss of the Self. In fact, Ananda is just another name for Brahman or God. Worldly happiness, which man is so crazy about, is insignificant compared to the vastness that is Brahmananda or Atmananda.
You are aware that air is present everywhere, without specific form. Yet, when this formless air that is present everywhere fills a balloon, it acquires a form — that of the [inflated] balloon. If you go on inflating the balloon, a stage will come when the balloon will burst. The air inside the balloon then merges with the air outside to become formless and vast once again. What a great difference there is between the trapped limited air and the vast free air! Similar is the comparison between the tiny spec called mananvaananda and to the infinity that is Brahmananda.
Our ability to experience happiness is one of the many gifts of God. However, owing to his limited vision, peple make only a minimal use of their capacity to enjoy happiness. They are ever ready to settle for just manavaananda; this will not do. Like the exploding balloon and the merger of the air inside with the air outside, people must break out of human bondage, soaring to the level of Brahmananda.
Brahmananda is one of the Names of God. It conveys the idea that God is ever in a state of Supreme Bliss. Bliss is thus the Form of God, and therefore it is that God who is called Brahmananda. There are many other such names, which were mentioned in the beginning.
Parama sukhadam (Transcendental Bliss): The next in the list is Parama sukhadam, meaning real ecstasy. What is this sukham (happiness or ecstasy)? Is it connected with the body? Is it physical, sensual, or intellectual? It is beyond all these. Our ancients said, “Tasmai Namaha.” Meaning, “I offer my salutations to the Embodiment of Happiness.” Our ancients did not try to describe this supreme ecstasy but knew that God is its very Embodiment. So, they hailed God as Parama Sukhadam. God is the personification of Happiness that is beyond the constraints of space and time, and also human reasoning. If one is to describe this Transcendental Bliss, all one can say is that it is neither physical nor has it a form that can be comprehended. Nectar has an appearance, and its taste could possibly be described; but Transcendental Bliss is beyond both form and words. God is Eternal Bliss —what else can one say? God is totally unaffected by all pairs of opposites like praise and blame, worldly joys and sorrows, etc. He is ever supremely happy.
Kevalam Jnanamurtim: Kevalam means that which transcend space, time, and circumstances. Jnana means wisdom, so jnana moorthim means embodiment of wisdom. What sort of wisdom is this? Can it be acquired from books? Is it connected with the physical world? Can it be acquired by yogic practices? Jnana is not of this type. It is supreme, transcendental wisdom, which is beyond thisworld, beyond space, time, and beyond circumstances as well. This jnana is also known as Brahmajnana (Knowledge of the Brahman) or Atmajnana (Knowledge of the Atma). It is eternal. But worldly knowledge can be acquired from books, and one can compare scholars, saying one is better and so and so is less learned, etc. Brahmajnana is total; it is beyond textual and academic knowledge.
God alone is the Embodiment of jnana – in fact, He isJnana itself. Brahmajnana is Eternal, Total, and Omnipresent. It is the knowledge of the Self. Since the Self is in you, this knowledge also is in you. The moment you realise your True Self, you acquire this knowledge. Acquisition of this knowledge confers supreme wisdom. Since this knowledge also confers supreme bliss, acquisition of Brahmajnana, automatically elevates you to the state of Brahmananda and Transcendental Bliss.
Dvandvatitham:The state represented by Brahmananda has another name: dvandvateetham. It is a state that transcends all dualities like pain and pleasure, good and bad, praise and blame, merit and sin. It is a unique state of Total Oneness. The Vedas say, Ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti (Truth is only One though scholars describe it in various ways). Truth is One, not two — that is what dvandvateetham implies. It means that Brahman or God is infinitely beyond duality in which man is imprisoned. Next,
Gaganasadrisa:This means that, like space, Supreme Bliss is both ethereal and all-pervasive. Who is called by the name Gagana Sadrisam? God, of course! In fact, all the words Swami has mentioned so far — Brahmanandam, Parama sukhadam, Kevalam jnana moorthim, Dvandvateetham, and now Gagana Sadrisam — all these are Names of Almighty God.
Tatvamasyadilaksyam(The Ultimate Goal): The four Vedas proclaim four mahavakyas or fundamental truths: (1) Prajnanam Brahma or God is Pure Consciousness. (2) Ayam Atma Brahma, meaning that Atma (the Self) and Brahman (God) are one. (3) Aham Brahmasmi, meaning I am God. (4) Tat Twam Asi, meaning That thou art! All four statements imply the same, namely, there is only God and that, therefore, man also is divine. They underscore the Unity of Divinity. Thus God is also described as Tatwamasyadhi Lakshyam or the Ultimate Goal [which represents Total Unity].
Ekam, Nityam, Vimalam, Acalam: These four words are also Names of God. Ekam means One. Everything in this vast Universe is just God [though, it may be in “disguise”]. However, man is carried away by physical appearances, so he perceives and experiences only diversity, totally missing the underlying divine Unity. The diversity that man sees is purely physical and superficial. He sees only diversity because his vision as well as outlook are both entirely worldly and external.
Let us say you have the numeral one (1). Appending a zero adjacent to it gives you a number that you call ten. Add another zero and get hundred. Go on adding more and more zeroes, and you progressively get larger and larger numbers. You get hundred, thousand, ten thousand etc. In this way, with a mere string of zeroes, you can increase the number to million, trillion and so on. You can get astronomical numbers by just adding zeroes to 1. Remove this 1, and you are left with a mere string of zeroes!You may have a large number of zeroes but they carry no value. But place the number 1 before this string of zeroes, and you get numbers that carry value. That 1 makes all the difference! In the Universe, That One is God, one of whose Names is Ekam. God is just One, no matter by what Name you choose to call Him or what Form you wish to ascribe to Him.
Nityam: Next we have Nityam, which means Eternal. God is not only Eternal but also Changeless. He remains so in all the three periods of time — past, present, and future — in all the three worlds, and in the presence of the three qualities (gunas) (purity, passion, and inertia (sathwa, rajas, thamas) too. This divine constancy is described in the scriptures by saying that He is beyond trikalam (three periods of time), trilokam (three worlds), and trigunam (three gunas). Thus, God isNityam, Nityam, Nityam!
Vimalam: After this, we have Vimalam: Pure. Today, contamination and pollution are everywhere. Air and water are polluted. Food too is contaminated and polluted. What is even more serious, man’s mind is polluted. God, on the other hand, is the personification of Total Purity. He is absolutely unsullied, crystal clear, and pristine pure.
Achalam means steady and not wavering. All objects and entities made up of the five elements are subject to changes with time; in fact, change is an inherent part of their nature. The Sun changes with time, as does the Moon. The stars also change with time. The Earth is always in motion. You know that in a movie, sixteen frames change per second. So it is in Creation — changes all the time, everywhere, and in everything. But God isAchalam: steady and constant.
Calanam Acalameva Ca: God is no doubt steady and unchanging, but He is also immanent in things that are subject to change. Even so, constancy being the basic nature of the Absolute, God is known as Achalam.
Sarvadhi Saksibhutam: In addition to all the names mentioned so far, God is called the Eternal Witness. He is a witness to everything and all the time.