Editor’s note. This discourse does not appear in the Sathya Sai Speaks series.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse on Ugadi at Prasanthi Nilayam, 16 March 2010.
This land of Bharat has given birth to many noble women, like
Savitri, who brought her dead husband back to life;
Chandramati, who extinguished wild fire with the power of truth;
Sita, who proved her chastity by coming out of blazing fire unscathed; and
Damayanti, who reduced an evil-minded hunter to ashes with the power of her chastity.
This land of piety and nobility attained plenty and prosperity and became the teacher of all the nations of the world because of such women of chastity.
Turn your vision inward and see God within
A woman who follows only her husband and experiences happiness in serving him is called a chaste woman (pativrata). It was by the power of her chastity that Savitri could bring her dead husband, Satyavan, back to life.
Harishchandra’s strict adherence to truth
Chandramati extended full cooperation in every way to her husband Harishchandra, who gave away his entire kingdom to Sage Viswamitra in charity and became a pauper without having even a single paisa with him. When Sage Viswamitra asked Harishchandra to give him money offerings (dakshina) after getting his kingdom in charity, Harishchandra prayed to him to give him some time to pay the money offerings.
Leaving his kingdom, Harishchandra went to Kasi along with his wife and son Lohitasva to earn money to pay the offering to the sage. Finding no other way to pay the offering, he sold his wife and son to a Brahmin.
Being a queen, Chandramati had never done any household work, but she was asked to do menial work of washing the dishes and cleaning the house by the Brahmin. Harishchandra himself took up the job of a caretaker of a cremation ground. The owner of the cremation ground assigned him the work of collecting tax from those who came to the cremation ground to cremate dead bodies.
One day, the Brahmin sent Lohitasva along with other children to the forest to collect grass (darbha), to be used in worship. There, he was bitten by a snake and died. The other children brought his dead body to Chandramati. Since she had to finish the household work before taking the dead body of her son to the cremation ground, it was night when she reached the cremation ground with her son’s dead body.
When the caretaker of the cremation ground, who was none other than her husband, Harishchandra, asked her to pay the tax for cremating her son’s body, she told him that she had no money to pay the tax. Seeing her wedding necklace (mangalsutra) around her neck, Harishchandra said, “How do you say you have no money? I see the wedding necklace you are wearing”.
On hearing this, she thought to herself, “Only my husband can see my wedding necklace, no one else”. She asked him, “Aren’t you my husband, Harishchandra”?
Harishchandra replied in the affirmative; he was grief-stricken on coming to know about the death of their only son. However, he told her that he could allow her to cremate the dead body of their son only when she paid the tax.
Since she had no money to give, she took out her wedding necklace to give it to him. At that very moment, Lord Siva manifested there. He praised Harishchandra for his strict adherence to truth and told him that all this was a divine play to show to the people of the world that there were still some highly exalted persons in the world who followed truth scrupulously. He also brought their dead son, Lohitasva, back to life.
Meanwhile, Viswamitra also came there. He returned the kingdom of Harishchandra to him and told him that he had done all this to test his commitment to truth. Thus, Harishchandra demonstrated the divine quality of truth. Truth is God.
God permeates every atom of the universe
People search for God and ask, “Where is God? Where is God?”
God is everywhere. With hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth, and ears pervading everything, He permeates the entire universe (Sarvatah panipadam tat sarvathokshi siromukham, sarvatah sruthimalloke sarvamavruthya tishthati). God has no beginning and no end; He has no birth and no death. The human body is temporary and ephemeral like a water bubble. But it is the abode of God who is eternal. God is not outside, He is within you. The same Atma is immanent in all beings including birds, beasts, and insects.
God has no particular form. Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara are not different from each other. God manifests in the form His devotees contemplate upon. If a woman considers her husband as God, she can realise God in him. With whatever feelings you think of God, God will appear before you in the same way.
God is in the form of a human being (Daivam manusha rupena). All are the embodiments of God. So, the answer to the question, “Where is God?” is, “God is everywhere.”
The Atma that is present in you in the form of consciousness is present in all. You cannot say that consciousness is here and not there; it is everywhere.
God is omnipresent. There is no need to search for God, who is present everywhere, in all, at all places. Therefore, it is very easy to know God.
Try to understand that everything in the universe is permeated by God.
The objective of all your education is to experience God, who is present everywhere and in every being. To attain this ideal should be the goal of your life.
Close your eyes and contemplate on the form of God that you like. On whatever form of God you contemplate upon, God will manifest before you in that very form. Never think that God is somewhere at a distant place or that He is present only at one particular place and not at another. He is present everywhere and permeates every atom of the universe.
See God in all
Today is Ugadi, the first day of the first month of Indian calendar (Chaitra Masa). It denotes the commencement of New Year. In fact, Ugadi means the beginning of a new era.
But Ugadi is not the real beginning of a new era; the real new era commences when a person has new and noble thoughts. Therefore, look within and experience God, who is present in your heart. That is the real celebration of Ugadi.
Realise that God is present everywhere. God is one, though people worship Him by many names. There can be many sweets like gulab jamun, Mysore Pak, and jilebi, but sugar in all of them is the same. There may be differences in the names and forms of people, but the Divinity that is immanent in all is the same. Truth is one, but the wise refer to it by various names (Ekam sath viprah bahudha vadanti).
You see the picture of Krishna wearing a crown with a peacock feather or that of Siva with a third eye. But these are mere pictures of God. God has no form. He is beyond all names and forms. Therefore, do not limit God to any name and form. Do not have the false notion that God is present only at this place or that place.
Contemplate on God, who is present in your heart, and earn His grace. Right from this sacred day of Ugadi, see God in everyone. Whomsoever you come across, offer your salutations to them, considering them as the embodiment of God. This is true meditation.
God is in you; you yourself are God. Then where will you go in search of God? Does anyone go out somewhere in search of themself? When you yourself are God, how can there be one more God? Turn your vision inward and see God within you.
When you say, “this is my body,” then who is that “my”? Clearly, the body is separate and you are separate. Realise this truth. That is real devotion.
(Bhagavan called one of the boys and asked him, “Where do you come from?” When the boy told Bhagavan that he had come from Mumbai, Bhagavan said,)
Your body has, in fact, come from Mumbai, not you. Realise the truth, “I am I.” When you say, I am so and so, what does it convey? Your name was given to you by your parents. You were not born with this name. Do not think that your body is permanent. The physical body lasts only for a limited period of time. Ultimately, it has to go.
(Swami called another boy and asked him,) “What do you want”?
The boy said, “Swami, I want You, I want Your love. Be always with us, Swami”.
Then Swami said, I am always with you. All of you belong to Me. Whenever you contemplate upon Me in your heart, I will manifest before you. Today is New Year day. Be happy.
—From Bhagawan’s Ugadi Discourse in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam on 16 March 2010.