Today, Thirumalachar read and explained the section on the divine communion through spiritual knowledge in the Sathya Sai Gita that he has composed. No one can say what the real nature of creation is, or of Brahman for that matter. Faced with a Universe that is fundamentally mysterious, which he feels must be endless and beginningless, which he feels must be infinite, the scientist has to accept it, though he cannot form a real picture of that kind of Universe. The scientist also works on faith, that is to say, believing in something that he cannot fully grasp or clearly infer or really calculate.
That Reality can be demarcated only by the criterion of “Not this.” Brahman is posited and described by a process of negation or elimination, “not this, not this (nethi, nethi)”. In this artificial world, all is an artificial mixture of name and form, which are both artificial too. To get the conviction that this created world is a mixture of truth and falsehood is very difficult indeed. When your head knocks against a wall, it is difficult to believe that the wall is half false, that its name and form are a fiction of the deluded imagination and that its real truth is the basic Brahman!
Seven chief characteristics of Bhagavan
But this spiritual wisdom everyone has to achieve some day or the other. It can be got through devotion or karma (activity) or royal yoga. These three are only different names for the process of churning the milk to get the butter that is immanent in it. Once the butter has been got and rolled into a ball, it can be kept separate and unimpaired in the liquid where it was all the time. Similarly, the liberated person can continue in the world free from attachment, once they have realised that they are of the same substance as the Immanent Brahman.
When that Brahman is seen through delusion (maya), it appears as (endowed with qualities and is referred to as Lord or Bhagavan. Bhagavan has seven chief characteristics: prosperity, glory, wisdom, non-attachment, creation, preservation, and dissolution. Whoever has these seven you can consider as having Divinity in Him. These seven are the unfailing characteristics of Avatars, of the Supreme Power, which persists fully when it has apparently modified itself with deluding power. Wherever these are found, you can identify Godhead.
You are also of the same nature as the Atma with Supreme Power, but, like the prince who has fallen into a den of robbers and is growing up there, the Atma has not recognised its true identity, that is all. Though he does not know, he is nevertheless a prince, whether he is in the palace or in a forest or in the robber’s cave. Very often, the prince will have got intimations of his real status, a craving for the Bliss (Ananda) that was his heritage, a call from his inner consciousness to escape and become himself. That is the hunger of the soul, the thirst for lasting joy. You are all like the man who has forgotten his name. The hunger of the mind can be appeased only by the acquisition of spiritual wisdom.
Give your mind strength-giving ideas and courage
The mind is like a watchman; it has to be kept fully under control by the master. Besides, the watchman will let into the mansion only those who are friendly to the master, is it not? So, only such thoughts and feelings as are conducive to the welfare of the master should be tolerated by the mind. The mind is the chief thing for man, but its role has to be slowly reduced, and it should not be allowed to take full charge. Feed the mind not on wicked desires and unworthy plans but give it strength-giving ideas and courage. When the mind is eliminated, then spiritual wisdom shines forth in its full glory.
After the realisation that everything is basically and completely Brahman (the experience of sarvam Brahmath-makam), life cannot be sustained for more than 21 days. Such a person is no longer in this deluding world, so they cannot have any desire or activity. Even food and drink become meaningless. How can Brahman need Brahman and Brahman recognise Brahman as food and Brahman as drink? All the nuts and bolts will fall away; the heart will dry up and the body will collapse. Spiritual exercise is just holding the mirror before the self; the mirror, if it is clean and polished, reveals the Self — that is the Realisation of the Self. All have Atmic uniformity, the truth of everyone is the same.
The company of good men leads you to the Lord, while the company of evil men leads you to the mire of the objective world. How to judge good men from bad? Those engaged in penance, meditation, communion, and worship are good persons; those who do not like these are to be avoided by aspirants who seek spiritual wisdom and want the joy that comes when the small becomes the big, when the momentary joy becomes momentously important, when the destitute person inherits vast riches. The good person is soft and bends easily before elders, sages, and spiritual aspirants. “Not mine (Na ma)” is the attitude of “prostration (namaskara)”; it is really namamakara: the declaration that “all that I am and have is due to your Grace.”
Eliminate all limiting factors by systematic process
Spend your time in company of good people. Brush up your brains by the brush of discrimination. I will not ask you to give up your critical faculty. Evaluate, discriminate, experience, and analyse your experience; then, if convinced, accept. Devotion, yoga, spiritual wisdom — these are three doors to the same Hall; some come this way, some that way, but all enter the same Hall. The spiritually wise person sees everything as the divine substance, the devotee sees everything as the play of God, the karma yogi sees everything as the service of the Lord. It is all a question of aptitude and taste and the stage of development of reason and emotion.
As a result of spiritual wisdom, Thirumalachar said, delusion (maya) goes, but delusion does not “come” and delusion does not “go”. When a light is brought into this hall, you say that light has come and darkness has gone, but where has it gone? Put out the light, it is dark! The darkness does not come from where it had gone, suddenly, through the doors and fill the hall. It is there all the time. It did not go. Only the hall was lit and light prevailed. So also, when the Grace of the Lord is won, spiritual wisdom will prevail and the delusion of separateness is powerless.
How can that spiritual wisdom be earned? By a slow, systematic process, eliminating all limiting factors: greed, lust, pride, envy, hate, and all the snaky brood of possessive instincts and impulses; by the educative influence of dharma, the body of rules laid down by the experience of generations for the regulation of living; by study, rumination and practice; by analysis of the experiences of the waking, dreaming, and sleeping stages; by learning to be a witness of all this passing show without getting involved in its tangles; by overcoming all trends that divide and differentiate.
Vision of Oneness is the highest reward
Prahlada never called upon his father or mother, as children do, when he was tortured; he did not appeal to
the torturers to save him; he saw in those cruel henchmen the Narayana (God) he adored. Everything, everybody, was Narayana for him. How then could he feel pain or suffer injury? Non-dualism in practice, the culmination of devotion, fully realised spiritual knowledge, liberated him. The vision of this Oneness is the highest reward the non-dualist seeks.
All this is a dream, and you are all actors. Once in Puttaparthi, in a village play, the role of Vali was assigned to a rich man’s son and that of Sugriva to a poor man’s son. Vali protested that he would not die in the fight with the poor man’s son and insisted that Rama should befriend and kill Sugriva instead!
The show cannot be changed to suit your whims. When the play says Vali should die and when he has been given that role, he should die correctly just as He has decided. Who knows whether praise and blame are not part of the play?
The faults you find in others are in you
Ignorance of this truth is a serious fault, which has to be attended to in the early stages alone. The doctor who cures that worldly disease prescribed remedies that have to be strictly taken — not the entire quantity in one gulp, nor neglect for months or years, but the drug as well as the regimen. Some people say they have come to Puttaparthi ten or even fifteen times, as if walking up to the hospital a dozen times is enough to cure them. Every time they may also get a bottle of the necessary mixture, but if they do not drink it as directed, what improvement can they register?
Spiritually wise people will not look upon Me as wearing this dress, yellow gown today or pink gown tomorrow. They will penetrate to the Real Nature behind this Form and know that this Body is but a dress worn for a purpose. The coming Avatar of this Real Nature will have another dress. You get full spiritual wisdom by the analysis of the knowledge of the Self. Unless you know yourself, you cannot know Me.
What you are now doing here is the path of action, what you are uttering is the path of devotion, and what you are revolving in your mind is the path of spiritual knowledge. What you are experiencing at this particular moment is Heaven. For you are now immersed in the joy of listening to My words. You have no thought now of the several reasons that have brought you here. If I finish My talk and go, you slide into the world of passing things and fleeting desires, vacillating minds and doubting brains.
Above all, examine your own conduct and faith. See whether it is sincere and steady. When you sit in the moving train, you find that the trees are moving fast, along the line. Do not worry about the trees; see yourself, examine yourself; and then you will find that it is you that is moving fast. So also, do not blame others and point out their faults. The faults you will find are in you, and when you correct yourself, the world too becomes correct! Spiritual wisdom is the discrimination between what promotes one’s progress and what retards. Be your own guru, your own teacher; you have the lamp with you, light it and march on without fear.
God’s Grace can destroy effects of past karma
Even reaching the stage when “All is Brahman” is realised as an understatement (because that statement postulates two entities: All and Brahman, and the experience of Brahman alone, IS), you have to go a long way. But do not be down-hearted. The entire encyclopedia is composed of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, and all scholarship begins with the mastery of A and B and C and D. I am here, ready to help you from the first lesson to the last. Do not be weighed down by sorrow that your karma from previous births is against your progress. The accumulation of the effects of your past karma is stored karma, to be worked out in later lives, and out of that store, you have selected some karma for present consumption; if wisely used and cooked, this latter karma can be made sweet, palatable, and health-giving. Moreover, God’s Grace can destroy the effects of past karma or modify its rigour. Never doubt that.
If the law of karma is so unbreakable, then why recommend spiritual exercise, good living, and cultivation of virtue? Your present karma will melt like mist before the Sun if you win the Grace of the Lord! The Grace of the Lord is needed for the dawn of spiritual wisdom also.