Unfurl it on your consciousness

At Prasanthi Nilayam, every day is a festival day; every day is a holy day. As the saying goes, it is “perpetual joy, perpetually green (nithya kalyaanam, pachha thoranam).” Following the customary habits of people, feeling that the external signs of auspiciousness have their own value in educating and sublimating the inner emotions, the Festival of Nine Holy Nights (Navarathri) is celebrated here also. For that reason, you need not wait for Navarathri here or at home to install Durga or Saraswathi in your heart. The day you feel the urge, that day is the auspicious day. Do not delay or postpone.

I have been saying more or less the same things every time the flag is hoisted on this Nilayam. But, just as you have to eat the same items of food every day, just as you have to wash your face every now and then, the washed face being washed again, so the spoken message has to be spoken again and again. This is needed for those who have heard it from Me already; it is even more needed by those who have come for the first time.

This Nilayam (abode) is Prasanthi Nilayam (Abode of Tranquility). It is the abode of the highest form of peace (santhi), absolute peace (prasanthi). In fact, you are, each one of you, the Abode of Tranquility. That is why I very often address you as “Embodiments of Peace (Santhi Swarupulara)”! My object is to remind you that your real nature is santhi — equanimity, peace, unruffledness, non-attachment. You cannot draw out from within you that which is not there, is it not? Therefore, santhi must be there, deep down, as the very core of your being. It is the ripeness of the fruit, the sweetness filling the ripened fruit.

Peace is an ennobling, elevating experience

Peace is not just an external polish, which can be put on or brushed off. It is not the same as fortitude, like that which young Yudhishthira had when he bore without a tear or a gasp the hundred blows with a cane administered to test his stamina. It is not the resignation that comes of frustrated ambition or satisfied desire. It is an ennobling, elevating experience, which comes when one attains merger with the very source of one’s being. It is the stilling of the waves, the calming of mental activities and agitations. Everyone who has attained it has hoisted the Prasanthi Flag; in fact, each one of you should strive to unfurl it on your own hearts.

You must all become an army of virtuous (dharmic) workers, equipped with the weapons of truth, righteousness, peace, and love (sathya, dharma, santhi, and prema) to revive humanity and rid it of all the ills with which it is now stricken.

Concrete representation of the symbol on flag

I have told you often that this flag hoisting is not a mere formality; it is a meaningful rite in the inauguration and training of that army. I never do any act devoid of significance or speak a word devoid of purpose. The symbol on the flag is also full of significance.

This Prasanthi Nilayam has no compound wall, as you have noticed. It is as it should be; people can come to the Lord from any direction, without let or hindrance. But we have gates! The people who walk along that road, which takes a turn when it approaches the Nilayam are, like all else, burdened with inherited impulses and earned dents and bents in their personality make-up. They are moved on by desire and urged by the six-thonged whip of passion. They enter the gate only when they are no longer overwhelmed by quality of inertia and indolence (thamoguna) —that is, when they have the curtain of delusion drawn aside a little. From there, they move on toward the Nilayam and pass through that second gate, where they are attracted by the imposing building, the portico, the statue in front — all appealing to the comparatively superior quality of passionate activity (rajoguna). Even this falls off when they enter the hall, where quality of serenity and poise (sathwaguna) overpowers the mind, what with the pictures, images, the bhajans, the chanting of Lord’s Name, etc.

This circle in front of the Nilayam is a concrete representation of the symbol on the Flag; you should all be told about this, and you should in turn educate others about it. The first circle within the brick outline is, as you can see, strewn with sand. That is desire (kama), mere waste land, where nothing can grow, from which no sustenance can be procured. The next one is the circle of anger (krodha), enemy number two of man. It is represented here as a hardy tuber plant with many leaves, which, though cut often beyond recognition, sprouts at the next fall of rain. Anger is like that; you feel you have uprooted it, but you let your pride be injured or your wish opposed, and it sprouts again. Its roots are tentacles difficult to escape from.

Every Nine-day Festival (Navarathri), the thousands of devotees who walk about here trample the plants and leave no trace. But when the Birthday Festival comes a month or two later, the sprouts come again and grow into a sizeable height. That is the way anger grips a man. It grows into hatred and vengeance — the two red steps that you see as the next two concentric circles. When someone stands across your path, you hate him; when someone refuses to be your accomplice, you hate him. Acts of commission as well as omission cause hatred. That is why we have two steps here.

Make the symbol alive in your consciousness

Crossing the sands of greed and lust, the wilds of anger, climbing the heights of hatred and vengefulness, the spiritual aspirant comes to the green meadow of love (prema). You can see that circle of broad green grass, attractively embellished with good thoughts and virtues, which refresh and satisfy. Beyond that, we have the broad expanse of quiet (santhi), where all agitations cease and the mind is at rest in its own silence. Now is the chance: establish yourself in yoga — the practice of spiritual union with the Universal Power, the Absolute Wisdom, the Eternal Verity. The consciousness ascends through the six centres, marked on the yogic staff (yogadanda) in the centre of the circle, and then, watch what happens. The lotus of the heart blooms, the petals unfold, the fragrance permeates the universe, the rays of the sun are inhaled, and, as you see represented here, the splendour of the Atma, the unsullied effulgence (Atmajyothi), illumines you and everything else in one all-embracing flame.

Contemplate on this symbol; make it alive in your consciousness. That is what I mean when I tell you to hoist the flag on your mind. You will find it highly beneficial. When this flag waves happily with the wind on the Nilayam, it must also wave happily on your consciousness, calling you to further effort and further spiritual effort.

It is not mere intense devotion that I want, I want action motivated by devotion. Throw off all your present responsibilities and take up this new responsibility of saving yourself; then you will have discharged your duty smoothly and to your satisfaction.