The bird on the swinging bough

The New year is called Vishwaavasu and you must take it as a call to strengthen your Vishwaasa (Faith); faith in your own Aathma, your own Divinity, which manifests itself as Love, as desire for immortality, as detachment, as admiration of virtue, the awe and wonder that Nature provokes. But, man is neglecting a grand opportunity, the opportunity of imbibing his own genuine grandeur. He prefers to burn the sandalwood trees for sale as charcoal, for, he does not know the value of the wood. The Divine he takes to be just human; the goal he has set before himself is the winning of sukha and shaanthi; that is the proper thing to do, but, he stops after a few steps, mistaking the pseudo for the real, that is the tragedy. He believes that if he gets two full meals a day, a few yards of cloth to wear, and a roof over his head, with a few sundry superfluities, he has reached the goal; but the joy he derives is paltry, mixed with grief, easily turning into pain, harmful to others, full of pride, envy, malice, greed and other harmful ingredients. The body that is sustained on food which will not keep fresh for even a few hours, how can it be fresh for long? That which is made and marred cannot for that very reason be truth; for, truth cannot be made and marred. It is, was and will be, without any modification.

What is the immortal part of man? Is it the wealth he has accumulated, the residences he has built, the physique he has developed, the health he has acquired, the family he has reared? No, all that he has done, developed or earned are destroyed; he has to leave them all to the ravages of time. He cannot take with him even a handful of earth, the earth he loved so much. If only the dead could take with them a handful each, earth would have become so scarce that it should have been rationed by now! Discover the immortal ‘I’ and know that it is the spark of God in you; live in the companionship of the vast measureless Supreme and you will be rendered vast and measureless.

Consider all objects that you collect here as given on ‘trust’ to be used in this caravanserai, during your pilgrimage, in this Karmakshetra (the field of action). You have to return them when you leave; they belong to another. When you hold a currency note in your hand and say proudly, ‘This is mine” that note laughs at you, for, it says, “O, how many thousand persons have I known, who have prided themselves like this!” The body is but a tent. Don’t fondle that delusion; pant for the dehi (indweller), He who resides therein and makes it active, makes it ponder and conclude and act.

The body is but a tent for the pilgrim

As the carpenter shapes the wood, the blacksmith shapes iron, the goldsmith shapes gold, so the Lord shapes in His own way, as the fancy suits Him, Prakrithi or the Created Universe, the Manifold, woven of Space and Time and Guna. Know that the Lord is the basis; and lose all fear. The tiny sparrow sits on the storm-tossed bough, because it knows that its wings are strong; it does not depend upon the tossing bough to sustain it. So too, rely on the Grace of God; earn it and keep it. Then, whatever the strength of the storm, you can survive it without harm.

Discriminate; discriminate all the time; use viveka and vijnaana (spiritual knowledge) and experience of the waking stage, the dream stage and the stage of deep sleep. In the dream stage the senses are negated; buddhi (intellect) does not work; only the mind is the master: it creates its own ‘world’. A tiger mauls you in the dream; a snake strikes deep into your leg. You feel all the pain and all the fear. How do you cure the unhappy man? There is no need to bring a doctor or a magician with his charms. Wake him; he is cured! He knows that there was no tiger or snake or bite or pain. So too, jnaana will immediately remove all the dual experiences of joy and grief, derived from these non-real objects.

Sanctify every moment by holy thoughts

You say, “I was awake,” “I dreamt,” “I slept soundly”. Now who is this “I”? Who is this “I” that has none of the three stages, that persists from birth to death, that deals with the body and all the organs and senses, all the various feelings, impulses and experiences as ‘its’, ‘its possessions’, ‘its instruments’? That ‘I’ is the thing to be known and once known, you must not allow your mind to stray away from it.

An empty iron box gets valued when it contains jewels; the body is honoured when it contains the jewel of consciousness and the valuables called virtues. Life has to be lived through, for the sake of the chance to unfold the virtues. Otherwise, man is a burden upon the earth, a consumer of food. Whether you like it or not, the length of your life is being clipped every day; the Sun takes a day off it when He sets. You have to pay Him this tribute. You cannot get it back, however hard you pine for it or promise to put it, if given back, to better use’ once gone, it is gone forever. And how can you be sure of the day ahead? You may not live to see it. So, sanctify every moment by holy thoughts, words and deeds.

Even if you have no steady faith in God or in any particular Name or Form of that Immanent Power, start by controlling the vagaries of the mind, the pulls of the ego, the attractions of sense attachment. Be helpful to others; then, your conscience itself will appreciate you and keep you happy and content, though others may not thank you. Life is a steady march towards a goal, it is not a meaningless term of imprisonment or a stupid kind of picnic. Be patient, humble; don’t rush to conclusions about others and their motives.

You have six fires raging in you

When fire rages, you try to put it out by throwing sand or water, and you keep a stock of these in readiness. But, you have six fires raging inside ‘you — lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and hatred. What have you in store to put them out? Keep ready sathya; shaanthi, dharma and prema. They will help you to scotch the flames; they are effective extinguishers.

Each one eats to assuage his own hunger; so too each one must discover the best way to appease his own spiritual hunger. Do not be led away by the scorn of others or by the recommendation of others. Contact your own reality in the silence that you create by quietening the senses and controlling the mind. There is a Voice that you can hear in that silence. The true witness of your having listened to that Voice is your behaviour. A tree is held and fed by the roots that go into the silent earth; so also, if the roots go deep into the silence of your inner consciousness, your spiritual blossoming is assured.

Yesterday, a very large number of old men, women and children were put to great trouble, since there was great rush and jostling for space. Since all were moved by prema towards Me, I felt responsible for all that. I sometimes feel that I should not thus move out to places, for when lakhs of people come, quiet becomes difficult. The loudspeakers too joined in adding to the confusion by going out of action. You must learn not to lose patience, but to wait and put the chance to the best use.