Where the mind ends

This Prashaanthi Nilayam is the Nilayam of Nithya Shaanthi — of the peace that cannot be disturbed — because it is based on deep discrimination and on unshakable renunciation of attachment to sense objects (vishaya vaasana). To be here on this sacred day is indeed a great piece of good fortune. Thousands of aspirants and seekers have assembled here and those who have come into this auspicious company have to make the best use of the chance. Instead of celebrating this Dasara Festival in feasting and catering to the frailties of the senses, I am happy you have determined to spend it in holy thoughts.

The Dasara Festival honours the victory of the devas over the asuras — the forces of righteousness over the forces of evil. They were able to win, because Paraashakthi (the Dynamic Aspect of Divinity) the Power that has elaborated God into all this variety and all this beauty – came to succour them and fight on their behalf. This country also had to meet the invasion by unrighteous forces and the same Paraashakthi has saved it from loss and dishonour. Therefore, we are celebrating this Festival with added significance.

Holy company such as this helps to arouse the desire to know oneself, to know the true nature of the world around us and to know how best we can discover and experience the Unity of both, expressed in the Vedhic dictum (Mahaavaakya), Thath-thwam-asi, “That-thou-art”. It is through the subtle influence of the company into which they were inducted that Naarada, the son of a maid, was transformed into the foremost practitioner and exponent of Bhakthi-maarga; that Vaalmeeki, a highway robber, was transmuted into a great sage, the first and foremost among poets; that many sinners were shown the path of repentance and redemption.

India is destined to be a huge Prashaanthi Nilayam

Bhaarath has been built on the foundation of Dharma (righteousness), laid down by sages like Naarada and Vaalmeeki, teaching the people that one should not enthuse over victory or droop over defeat, that both are to be welcomed as tests of one’s faith in God. This is a land where faith in God is imbibed at the mother’s breast by every child since millennia, and, so, it will never give way to despair and grief. It will rely on the Lord within and discover inexhaustible reinforcements of courage within each heart. The final victory is for those who have faith in the invincible Aathman, Reality. Such men will have no hate in their hearts; they will only be sad that others are greedy and envious and their prayers will be for the granting of wisdom, humility and love to their opponents: “O God, grant them sad-buddhi, discrimination, the power of cool, calm judgement.”

All sons and daughters of India pray, since Vedhic times, “Lokaassamasthaah sukhino Bhavanthu” — “May all the denizens of all the worlds be happy.” That is why India has been the Teacher, the Guide, for all humanity. That is why she has survived the onslaughts of alien cultures and is ready even today to take up that role. As a matter of fact, India is destined to be, India has all the qualifications to be, a huge Prashaanthi Nilayam, from which the message of prashaanthi (tranquillity) will radiate over the whole world.

Desire ceases when God seizes the mind

But, first, each one of you must make your own heart a Prashaanthi Nilayam. The transformation must begin from this very moment. Analyse your words, deeds, and thoughts and get rid of the evil ones that harm you and others; then, cultivate instead the sahana (fortitude), shaanthi (firm peace), sathya (speaking only the truth), etc. Now, the mind flutters about and squats on all and sundry objects in the Universe. It refuses to stay only on one idea, God. Like the fly that sits on fair and foul, but denies itself the pleasure of sitting on a hot cinder, the mind too flees from all thought of God. The fly will be destroyed, if it sits on fire; the mind too is destroyed, when it dwells on God, for, the mind is but a pattern of desire woven with the warp and woof of the same material. When Raama enters the mind, kaama has no place therein. Desire ceases, when God seizes the mind. In fact, since desire is the very stuff of which the mind is made, it becomes nonexistent and you are free. This stage is called, mano-nigraha, mano-laya or mano-naashana — the death of the mind, the merging of the mind or the killing of the mind.

Now I am about to hoist the Prashaanthi Flag and I want you to hoist it on your own hearts, at the same time. It is the symbol of spiritual discipline and success. It is delineated here, in front of this Nilayam, in this Circle. Some of you might have summed that it is here, as a decoration. No; that is not My intention. Everything I do serves two purposes; it must be charming and it must be educative, elevating. It must convey some meaning to those who seek.

This Nilayam has no wall around it, since like the heart, it is an expanse; but, it has three gates; the outermost one, representing Thamas (through which people enter with waywardness, doubt, despondency, etc.); the second one, representing Raajas (crossing this, men are attracted by Drsyaananda, Nethraananda and Mano-aananda, (the sights that please the eye and the mind), and the third one, leading to the Prayer Hall where people develop the rarer, purer qualities called Saathwik. This circle summarises the progress of the aspirant towards realisation, from the dreary sands of desire, through the wild hushy patches of anger and hate, on to the green lawn of prema (love); gaining the broad region of aananda (bliss) he sits in yogic contemplation, and the Kundalini shakthi (dormant spiritual power in man) is awakened, until the lotus of the Heart blooms and supreme Flame is kindled, scattering darkness of ajnaana (ignorance). Like the pictures in children’s books, the circle, with the concrete representation of the symbol on the flag, will serve to remind you and teach you the lesson I am emphasising.

The Mahaarani of Cutch, who is to preside over the Hospital Day this evening, was very much agitated whether she could come in time, on account of the disturbed conditions on the border with Pakistan, or whether Dasara itself will be cancelled by Me, as so many have done in Mysore and elsewhere. But, in spite of all obstacles, the fighting has stopped and news has come that peace is restored. This is another instance of the Grace which Prashaanthi Nilayam showers. This is the way Mahima (Divine Glory) works.