Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
Vice-Chancellors’ Conference, Prasanthi Nilayam, 28 October 2003
One may master all forms of knowledge,
One may vanquish one’s adversaries in debate,
One may fight with valour and courage in the battlefield,
One may be an emperor reigning over vast kingdoms,
One may offer cows and gold as an act of charity,
One may count the countless stars in the sky,
One may tell the names of different living creatures on the earth,
One may be an expert in eight-limbed (Ashtanga) Yoga,
One may reach even the moon,
But it is near impossible to control the body, mind and senses,
Turn the vision inward
And achieve the supreme state of equanimity of the mind.
Embodiments of Love!
Today, a number of discussions and deliberations are being held in the field of education. First and foremost, we must try to recognize the true meaning of education. One may read all the available books and elucidate the meaning contained in these books. But, that does not entitle one to be called an educated person. There are several highly educated people today in the world. But, what transformation and discriminatory power have they achieved on account of their education? What benefit has accrued to the world on account of these so called educated people? None tries to understand and evaluate this aspect. It is only when an educated person looks inward that he will be able to realize the true meaning and philosophy underlying education. In contrast to this situation, people are applying their intelligence in worldly matters.
There are, however, some who enquire into the nature of Atma Tattwa. Realising the importance of an enquiry into the nature of Atma Tattwa, we have introduced this concept in the M.B.A. course in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. The letters M.B.A. stand for understanding the nature of the mind (M), the physical body (B), and the Atma (A). It is easier to understand the nature of the mind and body. But, to understand the nature of the Atma is not that easy. No one can understand what Atma is. It has no form. It is pure consciousness. Even the educated people are unable to understand that the Atma Tattwa is consciousness. Most of them are able to go up to the stage of conscious. Some others are able to reach the next stage of conscience. The sum and substance of all this is that man today is unable to understand the Atma Tattwa, The pure consciousness. It is only when one is able to understand the conscious, he can understand what conscience is. Again, it is only when, one is able to understand conscience, he can really understand the principle of consciousness. Thus all the three categories of conscious, conscience and consciousness are interlinked.
You may feel that spirituality is too abstract and not easily understandable. The Atma Tattwa cannot be understood and realized by merely developing material knowledge. In fact, Atma Tattwa is beyond the scope of material knowledge. It is transcendental. It is fundamental knowledge. It is at the base of all physical, material and secular knowledge.
You may be under the mistaken impression that spirituality is that which cannot be understood. But, this is not correct. Spirituality is consciousness which has an inner meaning. What is awareness? Our normal understanding of this term is awareness about a particular object or aspect. Take for instance (showing a handkerchief), this object. When a question is put as to what it is, the answer comes that it is a handkerchief. This knowledge about the object is considered to be awareness. Again, when I question you (showing a flower) what it is, you reply that it is a flower. This is also considered to be an awareness. All these are the outer forms of different material objects. This is a cloth (showing the handkerchief). What is the basis for this cloth? The thread. Again, what is the basis for this thread? The cotton. Thus this cloth cannot be made without the thread and cotton. The cotton is the fundamental object that forms the basis for the thread and the cloth. Unfortunately, today we are only recognizing the cloth, but not the fundamental object of cotton, the basis for the cloth. Therefore, what is of paramount importance today is to recognize the Atma Tattwa that is at the root of all knowledge. If one is able to realize this Atma Tattwa, he can easily realize every other aspect.
What is Atma Tattwa? For example, we have the physical body. This body has several limbs which function continuously. But, what is it that makes the limbs in the body function? We hold a particular object, say, a flower with one hand. What is it that gives power to the hand to hold the flower? We smell the flower. From where did we get this power of smelling? We do not make any effort to understand and recognize the inner source of all these powers; i.e., the Atma Tattwa. We say this is my hand, my leg, my finger, my head, etc. But, who are you? This “you” has to be understood first, so that you can say my hand, my leg, my finger, my head, etc. Whose head is this? Whose leg is this? Unless you understand this aspect how can you say “I” and “Mine”? Vedantha is that knowledge which is concerned about “who are you?” and “who am I?” But, none makes any effort to enquire into himself “who am I?” The fundamental question for the basis for everything in this universe is: “Who am I?” If one has understood this “I”, he would have understood everything else. Spirituality is not something ununderstandable or a futile exercise. There is a fundamental principle in this universe which is the prime mover. We must make efforts to understand that fundamental principle.
Embodiments of Love!
What is Love? What is its nature? From where does this originate? Can a human being live without love? Impossible. That is why, it is said, “Love is God; Live in Love”. One has to understand this principle of Love, which is the basis for everything in this universe. Without Love, there cannot be life in this world. There is an underlying power that permeates the entire universe. That is Truth. What is Truth? Truth is said to be “Trikalabadhyam Sathyam” – It is present in all the periods of time: past, present and future. However, we cannot come to a conclusion only on account of that dictum. “Sathyam” (Truth) is that which transcends time. There is no tangible form for the concept of Truth. But, there is meaning.
We say, “Truth is God, Love is God”. We go on repeating the word “God”. We make use of this word “God” in different circumstances. Even an atheist says “Oh! My God!”, whenever he commits a mistake. People use this word “God” even without knowing its meaning.
However, none can define the term properly. Similarly, none can define the term “Truth”. The most appropriate method would be by one’s own experience. How can one correctly describe that experience? For example, one can go on repeating 1 + 1 = 2, 2 + 2 = 4 and 2 – 1 = 1 etc., ad infinitum. He can only repeat plus and minus, no one can define the basis for the calculations. We are able to give names of different objects in this world. But, we are not making any effort to understand the true nature of these objects. The whole world is full of material objects. This is a material world. However, there is something beyond this material world. That is, “Buddhi grahyamatheendriyam” (that which is unintelligible and beyond the grasp of the intellect). That is transcendental. We can count the objects in this world and say that there are so many crores of objects. What is there beyond that number? Thus, when you go on enquiring, you will end up nowhere. The fact is there is a fundamental principle that is present in every human being. When you say “Love is God”, that “Love” is everywhere, omnipresent. This fundamental principle of Love is present in every human being, nay, in every living being. When you say “Truth is in me” and “I am Truth” what does it mean? What is that “I” and “Me”? If you analyse carefully, this “I” in you is also the “I” in others. This is the only Truth. This Truth can be understood only by spiritual enquiry. And that too by a steady and sincere enquiry into one’s own nature. Few undertake such an enquiry today. We are making use of several terms in a casual manner, without understanding their real meaning .
Embodiments of Love!
You need not have to waste your time, however, in trying to understand some abstract concepts which you are unable to comprehend. You just develop firm faith in the existence of God. You firmly believe that there is God and you are God. We cannot understand anything without developing faith. Hence, first and foremost, develop firm faith in the concept of “I”. Only then can you understand the second concept “you”. A small example. When “I” and “you” join together, it becomes “we”. However, “we” + “He” becomes only “He”, who exists forever. The “I” and “you” change constantly. When you are a child you say “I am a boy”. When you are a youth, you say “I am a man”. Similarly, when you are old, you say, “I am an old man”. Thus, you are undergoing constant changes in different stages of life. Hence, there is no use in sticking on to this changing principle. Attach yourself to the changeless principle, i.e., “He”. That “He” is God. That “He” is present in you, him and in every person. “He is everywhere – within you, above you, below you and around you”. Therefore this “He” principle represents the omnipresent Divinity. People should develop firm faith in such a Divine Principle. Supposing you say “I love Him” and none else. How can this be true? It means that you do not love yourself. When you say “this is my body”, can you believe this body? You cannot, since it undergoes constant changes and is perishable. However, the non-dual principle of Atma Tattwa immanent in the body is eternal and transcendental. It has no other name, except “Atma”. Then, the question arises as to who has given that name. In fact, this name did not come from somebody. The Atma is omnipresent. “He” is everywhere. How can one give a name to such an all-pervading Atma Tattwa? It is only a futile exercise.
Do not waste your time in this futile exercise. Develop firm faith in this omnipresent Atma Tattwa and propagate it. That faith is awareness. Without that awareness you cannot exist. This is a rose flower (showing a rose flower). You have recognized it as such. But, who gave that name to this flower? You do not know. You simply repeat a name that is given to a flower in the English language. Thus, we go on repeating the words without understanding the underlying Truth. Hence, first and foremost, one has to turn his vision inwards and meditate upon the Atma Tattwa present in him. This Atma Tattwa can be realized only by constant sadhana. It is only after realizing this Atma Tattwa can one enter into any discussion. Also understand the nature of the physical body. The physical body consists of various limbs. In all these limbs, you will find the principle of “I”, immanent. That is why, you say that this is my body, my hand, my finger, etc. When you go on enquiring into the nature of the body, you will realize that the same principle of “I” is present in all the limbs. It is very difficult to understand the spiritual concepts. But, you should not give up your sadhana on that score. On the other hand it has to be pursued vigorously. It is futile to run after the worldly objects. If you are able to understand the Atma Tattwa, it amounts to understanding everything else. If you go on enquiring “who am I”, you will ultimately realize the Truth that the “I” principle is nothing but the Atma Tattwa. Develop firm faith in that Atma Tattwa.
Several people give different names to the principle of Atma Tattwa. But, it has no name and form at all. It is beyond all names and forms. It is transcendental. The power of consciousness immanent in man is not to be found anywhere else. One has to understand and realize this consciousness. This is possible only by constant sadhana and enquiry.
Embodiments of Love!
You students cannot understand spiritual concepts so easily. However, if you develop firm faith, you will be able to understand these things easily. But today people have become blind having lost the eyes of faith. What is Prema (Love)? You do not know. What is darkness? Is there anybody today who has seen darkness? Just close your eyes. What do you see? You reply that you are seeing darkness. It means that you are able to see and recognize darkness. Otherwise, how can you say that it is darkness? Therefore, it is established that there is a basis for everything in this world. In order to realize the Truth, one has to develop faith. You carry on your life’s journey with firm faith as your guide. You are going somewhere, unless you know where you are going, how can you reach your destination? Hence, make a firm resolve that you are going to the Mandir. Only then can you reach the Mandir. Similarly, first and foremost, make Atma Tattwa as your goal in life’s journey.
Embodiments of Love!
You are not able to understand what real Prema (love) is. You love the physical body and its beauty. You love wealth. You love the external form. You love one’s outward behaviour. Wherefrom do all these things come? What is the basis for all these aspects? How long will these external forms remain? All of them undergo changes continuously. What is the use of clinging to these changing external forms? You must direct your love to the changeless principle of Atma Tattwa. The Atma Tattwa does not undergo any change, whatsoever. Nothing can be added to it nor deleted from it. Therefore, you must develop firm faith in such a changeless principle. You often say that you love so and so very much. But, what do you know of him? Do you love his physical form? Did you develop liking for his behaviour? Do you love his sweet disposition? What is it that has drawn you to him? In fact, all these factors are only transitory. There is, however, one quality in you that is responsible for all this. That is love. That love of God. Love is His form.
Hence, you cultivate love for love’s sake. There cannot be life without love. A small example to illustrate the point. A mother has a son. He is 20 years old. After sometime, the son died. Then, the mother was wailing over the body of the son “Oh! Son! I was able to live as long as you were alive. How can I live now?” Such type of grief is the result of attachment of the mother developed towards the physical form of the son. It is not true love. What is important is love; but not love for the physical form. It is only those who are able to love for love’s sake, can attain real love. Those who love the physical body do so as long as the body is present. Thereafter the love ebbs away. Therefore, love for love’s sake. Such love is life. That life is God. That is Atma Tattwa, verily. Atma Tattwa is the only reality.
Embodiments of Love!
You have to seek love through love only. The Gopikas prayed 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. (Telugu Song)
The rivers of love must flow continuously. It is enough, if you can understand the one principle of love. This love is everything. Treat this love as the be-all and end-all of your life. Do not direct your love towards material objects. If you continue to love for love’s sake, then such a love will be eternal. It is not the body that is to be loved, but the principle of love. All the names and forms are evanescent and impermanent. We should not love such things. Love directed towards such things is physical, whereas love for love’s sake is eternal. Consider Truth as Truth. You should not associate Truth with material objects. Similarly, love should not be associated with material objects. Love is simply love. As such, love is God. You must attain Divinity with such love.
You encounter several appointments (expectations) and disappointments in life. When you have an appointment, you will have a disappointment also when it is not fulfilled. Therefore, do not have appointments (desires) at all. Then, there is no scope for disappointment. Do not give importance to the form. In fact, your Atma Tattwa represents your true form. Do not confine Divinity to a particular name and form. The names like Rama, Krishna, Govinda are only names attributed by man to God. They are not innate. Not much of importance can be attached to them. However, one has to take a particular name in the initial stages of his spiritual quest. For instance, it is necessary to acquire different types of education. It is also necessary to realize the essence of all the education. That is, of course, the Truth. But how long? Until you experience that essence. Once you experience the essence of knowledge, even that vanishes. Hence, do not depend upon the name and form. Truth is Truth. That is the only Truth. It has no form. Love is God. Love has no form. Cultivate such Divine Love. God exists. There can be no doubt about it. If God does not exist, there is no scope for nature to exist. From an experience of Prakruthi (Nature) emerges apprehension of Paramathma (the supreme self). From Paramathma, the realization of Paratattwa (Supreme Reality) springs. That Paratattwa is Atma Tattwa. Therefore, always love that Paratattwa. Do not confine your love to the particular, which is always susceptible to change. Time permitting, I will delineate on this Prema Tattwa (Principle of Love) in greater detail. When students are able to understand the nature of this divine love, there can be no scope for disappointment. They are always engrossed in appointment and disappointment. Love has only a name, but no form. You can direct that love towards any form.
Embodiments of Love!
God can be attained only through one route. That is Love. That is Truth.
Do not confine the principle “I” to a particular form. A small example. Janakiramaiah (younger brother of Swami’s physical body) died recently. There are several people who loved him. They have been making obituary references everyday in the newspapers, saying “Janakiramaiah! You have left your mortal coil, leaving us alone. You please take birth again, so that we can love you again”. Is it necessary for Janakiramaiah to take birth once again in order that these people may love him? Is that what these people wish for? Should we confine our entire life to birth and death only? In fact, both birth and death are unreal. Where there is birth, there is death surely. The twin stages of life, i.e., birth and death are only for the body, not for the Atma. We have to direct our love towards the Eternal Atma Tattwa, not the body which is subject to birth and death. I often address you as “Bangaru!” What is the underlying meaning in addressing you in that manner? Gold as a metal does not perish. Its shape changes when it is melted and made into different types of ornaments. You, as gold may take different forms, but your Atma Tattwa does not undergo any change. You have to strive to attain the changeless principle of Atma Tattwa, but not the changing forms. I address you as “Bangaru!”, reminding you of your real nature, i.e., the changeless Atma Tattwa. Gold is always gold. It is Truth. It is eternal. You have to always crave for attaining such an eternal reality. Keeping this aspect in view only, Adi Shankara in his famous “Bhaja Govindam” sang thus:
Punarapi Jananam Punarapi Maranam Punarapi Janani Jathare Sayanam Iha Samsare Bahu Dustare Kripayapare Pahi Murare
Oh Lord! I am caught up in this cycle of birth and death; time and again, I am experiencing the agony of staying in the mother’s womb. It is very difficult to cross this ocean of worldly life. Please take me across this ocean and grant me liberation.
We have to crave for that principle which has no birth and death. Why should we wish to be born again?
Embodiments of Love!
There is Divine Love in you which has neither birth nor death. You direct your love towards that Divine Love. That love is always with you. If you cultivate such love, you will always remain as embodiments of love. Have firm faith in this Divine Love. Do not believe the worldly love, lest you should be deceived. The worldly love is like passing clouds. Such clouds come and go. They are not permanent. Love the eternal love. That is the Atma Tattwa. Love that Atma Tattwa. People who wish to enter the spiritual field and to know the path that leads to Divinity, please come to Me. I will explain. Do not be deceived by worldly love that causes only disappointment. Cultivate such type of love that will not cause disappointment. Pursue any type of education; but, understand the inner meaning of education. Then put it into practice, experience and enjoy that essence of that education. Do not be disappointed by directing your love towards all and sundry. Several students are being disappointed in that manner. In the end, they are unable to love anybody. That is not the right way. Love the principle of Love itself, which is Divine and Eternal. The more you love that Divine Love, the more it grows.
Embodiments of Love!
I always address you as “Embodiments of Love!” Cultivate such type of love only. When you cultivate such love, it will, in turn, protect you. That is what is meant by the saying, “with you, in you and around you”.
(Bhagawan concluded the Divine Discourse with the Bhajan “Prema Muditha Manase Kaho…”)
(The Programme ended with singing of the National Anthem.)