In the Sathya Sai Gita, which Thirumalachar read and explained just now, he has given My name to the “Sathya (Truth)” that he has experienced. Persons who have seen Me are many, but those who have understood My significance are few. So too, those who have “seen” the Gita, that is to say, read it and learned it by rote, are legion, but those who have grasped the sense are few. Gita must be “thaagi” (which is the reverse of Gita), that is to say, in Telugu, “drunk” or imbibed! Then, you become a “thaagi”, full of vairagyam — and you are free from senseless attachment to the sensory world. Giving up things that please and bind, that ensnare and enslave (i.e. give up raga) — that is what is meant by dispassion (vairagyam).
Another thing about the Gita is that it does not speak of the householder stage of life. It deals with the fundamentals of living — not living in this compartment or that but living as such, and the deepest problems of life. It was repeated by one householder to another, so it does not prescribe the recluse’s “escape”. That is the lesson, both in that Gita and this.
Many read the Gita but few benefit
Gita means “song”. Krishna sings at Brindavan with the flute, and He sings on the battlefield too. In both places, the call is for the particular to merge with the Infinite, the Universal. For Him, the place of cremation (rudrabhumi) as well as the sanctified ground (badrabhumi) are the same; they are equally placed for imparting spiritual instruction in the form in which the devotee most likes it, namely, song. And imagine with what concentration Arjuna heard it! His concentration was as steady as that of the cowherd girls who listened to the Message of the Flute in Brindavan. Arjuna forgot the opposing armies, his own hatreds and enthusiasm for war, and became immersed in the teaching he secured. If you develop that one-pointedness in your own particular “battlefields”, you can assuredly also listen to the Gita — the Bhagavad Gita or the Sai Gita or the Sathya Sai Gita — that is intended for you.
The Gita was spoken to remove the delusion caused by ignorance, and it succeeded in removing it as far as Arjuna was concerned. Others, like Sanjaya and Dhritharashtra, who also heard it did not benefit, because they were still bound by their own particular brand of ignorance. Dhritharashtra was all the while worried that the battle had not started yet and that his sons’ enemies had not been destroyed! So he did not benefit.
Many read the Gita, but few benefit. You must have Arjuna’s dispassion and Arjuna’s one-pointedness to derive profit from the Gita. A pure heart and firm disposition of mind are essential.
Feeling of “I” and “mine” should go
The confusion of Arjuna was the feeling of “I” and “Mine”. All of a sudden, he began to feel that he was the killer, that he would be responsible, and that they were his teachers and elders and relations. This feeling of mine has to go; the “I” has to be crossed, and all words, deeds, and thoughts have to be dedicated to the Lord. The baby weeps as soon as it is born because the individual being has no desire to get entangled in objective world once again. It is unwilling to come into this veil of delusion (maya). Science describes it as the process of breathing for the first time and the clearing of the air passage, but why should it weep? The process can be started some other way, say, snaking or shivering, is it not?
The weeping child must later leave this world laughing, and the worth of life is to be judged by the end. Love (prema) is the seed, and devotion is the seedling, the sapling. Faith is the manure, company of the good is the rain, the offering of the Self is the flower, and merging together the fruit. With that, one must throw off this coil and become free.
The Gita advises renunciation of action, that is to say, karma without attachment to the fruit thereof. Some karmas have to be done as duties, related to the status in worldly life, and if these are done in the proper spirit, they will not bind at all. Do all karma as actors in a play, keeping your identity separate and not attaching yourself too much to your role. Remember that the whole thing is just a play, and the Lord has assigned to you a part. Act well your part, and there all your duty ends. He designed the play, and He enjoys it.
Take refuge in the innermost recesses of the heart
Atma is the ocean, nature is just a wave of that vast ageless, boundless ocean, and the individual soul is just a droplet of that wave. You cannot give up the wave or the sea. You can only merge the name and form of the droplet. Once you enter the depths of the sea, it is all calm, it is all peace; agitation, noise, confusion — all are only on the outer layers. So also in the innermost recesses of the heart, there is a reservoir of peace (santhi) where you must take refuge.
There are three types of people: the lethargic (thamasic), who are like iron balls, impervious to any softening influence; the active (rajasic), who are like cotton, absorbent, but not changing their own nature; and the pure (sathwic), who melt as butter melts at the joy or grief of others or at the mention of the divine plays of the Lord.
The sathwic dive deep into the source and spring of sympathy.
Anger, envy, greed, and intolerance are all so many holes in the pot; the waters of peace, contentment, happiness) leak through the holes, and the pot becomes empty. The pot has to be repaired and all leaks stopped, so that it may be useful.
It is when you are in a desperate situation that you call upon the Lord, forgetting your pride and your egoism. The Pandavas were so full of misery in a worldly sense that they always had an attitude of prayer. If I had given you all the comforts and opportunities, you would not have come to Puttaparthi. Trouble is the bait with which the fish is hauled out of the water. Kunthi asked that Krishna should continue giving her and her sons all kinds of misery so that He might grant them His Grace continuously.
Offer your egoism at the Lord’s feet
Thirumalaachar called this attitude offering of the Self (Atma-arpana), but the Atma is He Himself, so what do you mean by offering Him to Himself? What you would offer at His Feet is your egoism! Offer all the pride, all the separateness, all the delusion, all the attachment that the egoism has proliferated into! That is the worship you have to do. Bring to Me all the evil in you, and leave it here take from Me what I have, viz. love (prema). Develop the capacity to see all as “moved and motivated by the One Supreme Reality or Self”.
Examine every day what you do and with what motive; then you can yourself pronounce judgement on your progress. Select only pure motives, pure deeds. You forgot that you are the Atma, and now you remember that you are the Atma. That is all the progress you have to achieve; it all looks so easy, but it is one of the hardest of assignments. The ear is so near to the eye. but it can never see it direct!
There was a clown in a palace who always asked questions and was therefore held to be a big nuisance. The king had to put up a board, “No questions,” just to escape him. But when the king was on his death bed, he called him near and whispered, “I am going.” The clown asked him hurriedly, “Shall I order the royal chariot? The elephant with the howdah? The royal horse full caparisoned? The palanquin? How far are you going? Which is the exact place? How long will you camp there?”
The clown was very wise. He knew the questions, though he did not know the answers, and neither did the king. But you can pass examinations only if you know the answers!
The Gita helps to control agitations of the mind
The Gita prompts you to seek the answers and directs you to experience them. It helps you to control the thoughts and the agitations of the mind; it destroys delusion; it develops true knowledge; it makes you glimpse the splendour of the Lord and confirms your faith. You say one moment, “Baba does everything, I am but the instrument,” and the next moment the same tongue talks, “I did this; I did that. Swami did not do this for me.” If you never slip into wrong, you can be ever certain of His Grace.
All hearts are His Property, it is all His Domain. But just as the aristocrat sits only on a clean spot, though the entire area may be his, the Lord will install Himself only if the heart is cleansed. The Lord has said, “Where my devotees sing of Me, there I install Myself, Narada.” I must tell you that you are luckier than men of previous generations. The accumulated merit of many previous births must have granted you this luck. You have got Me, and it is your duty now to develop this relationship that you have achieved by sheer good fortune.
In four or five years time, you will see yogis and ascetics and sages crowding here, and you may not have such chances of asking Me questions and getting the answers, of approaching Me and directly speaking to Me. So do not be like frogs around the lotus; be like the bees. Plantains and mangos are kept, while yet green, in straw or dried grass or in a closed room so that the heat may make them ripe and tasty. Meditation on God gives you too the right temperature to ripen yourselves and become sweet and tasty.
Seven things to be fostered for world welfare
Seven things have to be fostered for the welfare of the world: the cow, the Brahman-ward or spiritual aspirant or Brahmana, the Vedas, chastity, truth, non-attachment, and righteousness (dharma). All these are now fast declining, and I have come to restore them to their pristine purity and strength. Do not think that this Sathya Sai Gita was composed by some devotee and that he reads it and explains it here. As he said, I am the inspirer, and it is for your benefit that he has summarised My Teachings in this way. It is said “The One Truth is pure and unshakable (Ekam Sathyam, vimalam, achalam).” Thirumalachar has collected it in his vessel, and he is giving it to you.
Of course, no one can unravel the Mystery of the Lord. Even Viswamitra, who came to Dasaratha asking for the two boys, extolling them as divine Incarnations, later forgot that fact and dared teach them mantras (sacred formulas), as if they were just ordinary disciples! He was even proud that the Lord who transformed Ahalya and released her from the curse was his disciple. Pride is one of the worst sins in the spiritual field. If you feel conceited that you are a devotee of Hari, He will “hari” (destroy, in Telugu) you remember. Absolute surrender (Saranagathi) should be like the attitude of Lakshmana. Rama said, “Take Sita and leave her in the forest.” Implicit obedience! There is no why! That is Lakshmana. That is saranagathi; the rest are deserving only of sharagathi (the arrow of Rama).
That is the genuine Gita, this lesson of saranagathi. Increase faith, walk in the path of a dharma, get rid of delusion and ignorance, cleanse the agitations of the mind, and know that He is the Atma and that you too are the Atma.