Pappu and uppu

In the Garudapurana, Sri Hari instructs Garuda about the daily decline of human life, and the attacks that Death deals on him, with His army of diseases, accidents and natural calamities. You have earned this human body by the accumulated merit of many lives as inferior beings and, it is indeed very foolish to fritter away this precious opportunity in activities that are natural only to those inferior beings. Life moves so quick that people often wonder how they grew so old so soon. It appears only yesterday that they were in college or playing in the streets; but they have grandchildren playing about them! While life is carrying people forward towards death so fast, pride makes them force others to fall before them; humility does not induce them to fall before the Almighty!

Since New Moon, the whole country is celebrating the Festival of Raamajananam and today is the actual Raamanavami, the day on which Raama was born. Raama is Dharma, Dharma is Raama. The four ideals of man as laid down in the Vedhas are Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha; Dharma is the very base. If that is given up or disregarded, sorrow will persist. Raama considered Dharma as all-important. When his brother Bharatha overpowered by grief at his father’s death, his mother’s greed, and his brother’s exile, sought him in the forest and, meeting him, rolled at his feet in terrible anguish. Raama lifted him gently and asked — What do you think he asked? — He asked him, “Are you maintaining Dharma in the Kingdom of Ayodhya, respecting the subjects, the poor, the elders, the scholars, the saints and the sages?” Even when the direst calamity overtakes man, he should not stray away from the path of morality and justice. Raama was wakening Bharatha from the sleep of ignorance; the poor fellow was overcome by his own grief, as if the father, mother, brothers, kingdom, power and position – these mattered, as if they were real, eternal. Raama reminded him that they are all but instruments one must utilise for the exercise of dharma.

In spiritual matters, faith is the very essence

Just as the wild elephant roaming in the forest as the head of the herd is trapped and trained to sit on a three-legged stool in the circus ring, the mind of man too has to be trained by systematic processes of discipline shama, dhama, uparathi, thithiksha; shraddha and samaadhaana (inner and outer sense control, endurance, steady faith, equipoise) so that it may subserve the best interests of man. To go before a magistrate and plead, one has to pass the LL.B degree examination; to be able to prescribe medicine to a sick man, you must pass the M.B.B.S. degree examination. You have to obtain a licence or have your name entered in the Register of Medical Practitioners. Everywhere for every profession or post they ask you your qualification. How much more is the need for proper qualifications in the spiritual field, for winning the Grace of

God? You aim high, but, you make no effort to reach that height.

In spiritual matters, faith is the very essence. Doubt shakes the foundations of saadhana and is therefore, to be avoided. Have faith in the wisdom of the ancients; do not pitch your tiny little brain against the intuitions of the saints and their discoveries. For example, take the question of offering food in the fire, on the anniversary days of the death of parents, what is called pinda pradaan. Nowadays, smiles of scorn are cast when such rites are mentioned. “How can the food placed here reach there? The dead man must have taken birth somewhere long ago and his present address is not known. Can a meal given one day in the year satisfy the accumulated hunger of 365 days?” they ask. “Let your father sit on the terrace of your house; then place food for him on the ground floor. Can he reach the food or can the food rise up to him, however many manthraas you repeat?” they laugh. “Why are dead men given food, when living men suffer?” they argue.

There is a science of the spirit

You post a letter in the box, and it goes straight to the addressee, wherever he is, however far. Does it mean that the postmaster is your friend, or that he is so sympathetic to your anxiety to correspond with the addressee? If the address is written correct and clear and if the necessary postage is paid in stamps that are valid at the time, the letter is carried by men, by car and bus, train and plane and steamer, right up to the doorstep of the person whose name is on it. The ritual fire is the authorised post box; the fire is the postal authority, the manthraas are the stamps. There is a science of the spirit, as there is a science of matter; it has its own categories; its own modus operandi; its own experts and authoritative theses.

Only by saadhana can the secrets of either matter or mind be known, grasped and used for one’s benefit. In the Vivekachuudaamani, Shankara says, “If the Nikshepa or Treasure that is embedded in the bowels of the earth must be brought up, mere calling it up by name will not help. You must know exactly where it is, through the advice of experts; you have to excavate the spot; you have to move away rock and stone and sand that come in the way; you have to grasp it and heave it up to the ground”. So, too, the reality of the “self” has to be first learnt by means of instruction from a knower of Brahman; then the processes of manana, dhyaana, nididhyaasana (refelction, meditation and concentration) have to be gone through; finally, when, in a flash, the Truth is revealed, the Self must be firmly established in the Aananda of that moment.

Leave it to Him, let His Will prevail

The Brahmasuuthra begins with the statement, Athaatho Brahmajijnaasa — “After this the consideration of Brahmam”. After what? What are the preliminary steps? When does a person become entitled to participate in the discussion and study of Brahman? We have two other texts which have to be studied earlier, one which says, “Athaatho Karma jijnaasa”, “after this consideration of Karma, activity”, and the next one begins with, Athaatho Dharma jijnaasa · “after this, the consideration of Dharma (righteousness)”. So, man becomes entitled to the knowledge of the Universal Principle that is the very substance of everything since eternity, only after his mind is purified by karma and dharma.

It is only after you place a morsel on your tongue that you discover whether the salt in it is enough or whether it has not been salted at all. Pappu (dhal) requires uppu (salt); that is to say, the boiled dhal must have salt in it for taste. So too, it is only when you have moved in the world and taken a share in its activities according to a moral code, you discover that without the salt of jnaana, it does not taste well; take it with a sprinkling of the salt of jnaana, the knowledge that you are not the body but the resident of the body, that you are but the witness of the everchanging panorama of Nature and you feel happy and peaceful. Slowly, step by step, confirm yourself in the thought of the Unity of the World in Brahman. Then, even without praying and pleading, everything worthwhile will be added unto you. That is why Thyaagaraaja sings “Adigiukhamulewaranubhavinchiri?” — ” Who experienced joy and happiness, by means of praying to you?” Leave it to Him, let His Will prevail, do not ask for this or that other thing. He knows best. Did Sabari pray for anything? Did Jataayu call out for His Presence? Did Guha plead that Raama may come to him?

Revival of Dharma is close at hand

Each of you must follow the moral code prescribed for the profession you are engaged in and the age and status which you have reached. Once the King of a large State asked a sanyaasin whether it is possible for a man to live up to the height of the code. Some time later, the King died and, according to custom, they sent the Royal elephant round with a garland to choose the successor. The elephant put the garland round the neck of the sanyaasin (monk). But, he was resisting the importunities of the people and running towards the forest. He reached the innermost recesses and was happy that he was safe from the calamity that had encompassed him!

These moral codes are given in the Shaastras and the Prashaanthi Vidwanmahaasabha has been formed to tell people in simple language their main duties. It is not a limited group of scholars with a limited scope; it is every one’s right to utilise the scholars and get the result of their learning for themselves. There is no other motive behind the formation of the Sabha. It is for you all, for all places. It was in connection with the activities of this Sabha that I recently visited several places in East and West Godaavari Districts and other areas. It was a triumphal march, resounding with the devotion, the faith and the Aananda of the lakhs of people who attended. The enthusiasm of the people to listen to the message of Sanaathana Dharma which I carried was most inspiring to those who came with Me. The scenes reminded one of the Kritha, Thretha and Dwaapara yugas, not the Kali Yuga. The pages of the Bhaagavatha became alive before us.

A twelve-acre expanse of land was found too small for the gathering that assembled in one place. At another place, every tree had many adventurous men clinging to the trunk and branches, even the flail “drumstick tree!”. These are all signs that the revival of Dharma is close at hand.

Welcome hardships to realise the Lord

Only you must have the staunch determination to use this chance to the full. You are near and those who are far are so only with reference to space, not with reference to My Prema. To realise the Lord, you must welcome hardships, trials, and sufferings. You must dwell on the Name and Form steadily and with faith. You must discard all inferior sources of joy. When a son is born, worry too is born with him — worry that he should grow up healthy and pure, learned and good, famous but humble, bringing a fair name to his parents and elders. As a matter of fact, I would advise you to postpone the celebration of the birth of a son until the day when he brings sathkeerthi (good fame) to the lineage and the country. So also, celebrate the accumulation of wealth when it is spent justly and with love, on beneficial and deserving purposes. A tree is justified by fragrant flowers bringing forth sweet fruits. If, on the other hand, its leaves get dry and its flowers fade and the fruits refuse to grow, an agriculturist will examine the roots and discover that they are eaten up by pests or white ants. So too, the roots of Divinity must have been destroyed or harmed if a man’s virtues do not blossom and yield sweet fruits. Envy, greed, malice — these pests destroy the roots quickly.

By moderating and modulating habits of eating and drinking, one can lay the foundation for spiritual life. One must prefer Saathwick to Raajasik foods. By drinking intoxicating stuff, one loses control over the emotions and passions, the impulses and instincts, the speech and movements, and one even descends to the level of beasts. By eating flesh, one develops violent tendencies and animal diseases. The mind becomes more intractable when one indulges in Raajasik food; it can never be remoulded if Thamaasik food is consumed with relish. To dwell in Raama thathwa (Raama principle) constantly, one has to be vigilant about food and drink consumed by both body and mind.

Raama thathwa is essentially Aananda thatwa. Raama means “He who pleases”, “He who fills with Aananda”, “He who is the spring of Aananda in every heart.” So, when you repeat Raama naama, you are but touching the very source of Aananda, the Aathmaa-Raama (God as self). Just as you have come by various routes from various villages and towns, all persons have to reach that Source for, there alone can they get the Aananda without which there is no peace.