The greatest wonder of all is that nobody knows themself, nobody struggles to know about themself, even among those who spend their lifetime in knowing about others. Your Self is something subtler than water or air or even space (akasa). It must go into the eye, so that you may see; it must move into the hand, so that it may hold; it must move into the feet, so that you may walk. The senses are inert materials; the ‘I’ must operate so that they may function.
That “I” is Brahman, mistaken to be separate! In the Thretha Yuga (Era), monkeys (vanaras) were made to act and talk like humans (naras). In the Dwapara Yuga, human (nara) was transformed into God (Narayana) by the grace of Narayana. In the Kali Yuga (the era we are in now), the declaration is made that the human (nara) is Narayana Himself.
The space in the pot and the space in the monastery are identical with the vast sky space; only the disguises, pot and monastery, keep up the illusion of separateness. The senses are the villains; they instill the delusion that you are the body. Curb them as the bull is curbed by the nose ring, the horse by the bit in the mouth, the elephant by the goad.
When the Pandavas were traversing the Himalayas toward the end of their careers, Dharmaraja was still affected by mental anxieties, so he prayed to Krishna to spend some time with them. On His departure from their dwelling, Krishna gave Dharmaraja a note, which he was to read to himself whenever he was affected by joy or grief. The note read: “This will not last (Eppudoo undhadhu).” That is one method by which mental agitations can be calmed.
You are in this world under sentence
Take life in the world as a compulsory duty imposed on you. You are now in jail under a sentence for crimes committed in a previous birth. The superintendent assigns various duties — cooking, drawing water, hewing wood, etc. You have to do the work assigned to the best of your ability, without any expectation of reward. If you behave well, cause no trouble, and do the assigned duties without demur, then some days may be written off your sentence and you may be released sooner, with a certificate that you are reliable and good. This attitude will give you practice in selfless action without expecting reward (nishkama karma), which is very valuable for curbing the senses.
When you talk of God to some people, they ask, “We will believe only if we can see Him.” When the Vidwan Mahasabha (Society of Pandits) pandits go to the villages for their mission of spreading the truths of the Vedas, this question will crop up. Then you have to ask them, “I won’t believe that you have pain unless I can see pain with my eyes.” God is Bliss. How can bliss be shown and seen? Whether others believe or not, 2 plus 2 equals 4, You may agree or refuse to agree, but that is a fact, proved by the experience of all those who agree. So too is the fact of God.
Live in constant thought of God
You must live in the constant thought of God as well as of another fact: death. The body is the car in which you are riding to death. You may meet death any moment, while riding —some tree or lorry or ditch or slush will bring it. Remember death. Remember that time is running out every moment. Then you will not be tempted to waste time in idle talk or vain pursuits or wanton mischief or vulgar entertainment. Travel in the car carefully, slowly, with due regard to the needs of others on the road. Do not greedily try to overtake others or compete in speed; know the limitations of the vehicle and the road! Then you will not meet with any accident. Your journey will be a happy experience for you and the rest of the people.
In his speech, Jonnalagadda SathyaNarayanamurthy was exhorting you to teach, to reform, to reconstruct, and to do many other things. But not all can enter upon such tasks. First self, then help. Improve yourself, teach yourself, reconstruct yourself. Then proceed to solve the problems of others, That reconstruction is quite easy, provided you inquire calmly into your own personality. “Am I the body or the senses or the mind or the intellect, etc.?” You heard in the folk tale on Sivaji how Goddess Bhavani gave him the sword. This Siva-Sakthi (meaning Sai Baba) will give you the swords of spiritual knowledge and spiritual instruction that will destroy the forces of ignorance. Take them and become wise and happy.