The Navaraathri is celebrated in commemoration of the victory of Daivathwam (Divinity) over Daanavathvam (Satanity) through the intercession of the Mahaashakthi as Chandi, Durga and Kaali; this day is Deepavali, commemorating the victory of heavenly over hellish influences, of virtue over vice, as symbolised by the victory of Krishna-Sathyabhaama over Narakaasura, of the upward pull into Heaven and the drag down into Hell. Man’s career in this world is a perpetual struggle with the down-dragging impulses and the raising impulses. It is Dharmakshethra, where the Kurukshethra battle is being waged, from birth to death. Life is a game with fire; one has to derive the warmth without getting burnt. One has to use the senses and the intellect wisely, for liberation rather than get entangled in their wiles.
The joy one has lost has to be recovered from the inner consciousness which has been covered by the darkness of ignorance. How can the bangle, lost in the field where dhal (lentil) was grown, be recovered from the vessel in which the dhal is being boiled? Search for the joy in the inner vision; set it right and you can discover it there.
The Narakaasura in man can be destroyed by the constant dwelling of the mind on Krishna who slew him, as the Bhaagavatha relates. The smarana has to be constant. If you rub a bit of iron on a hard surface, it develops heat; continue to rub it vigorously; then it can be made red-hot: If you do so with long intervals, the iron bit will become cold and all the effort up till then is a waste. The work has to be repeated over again. There are some who set a limit of ten thousand or twenty thousand repetitions of the Naama every day and when that number is reached, they are content; they resume the smarana (remembrance of God’s name) only when another day dawns. The mind, meanwhile, like a sheet of water from the top of which floating moss has been pushed aside with great care, resumes its cover of moss very soon. The task has to be repeated.
Hold the Feet of God wherever you are
Smarana must be the unseen spring of every activity of man, every minute of his waking life; then it will become the spring even during dream and will help the ‘I’ during deep sleep to merge in the ‘He’, forever. Like the mother whose attention and anxiety are centered on the baby in the cradle, whether she is near the well or in the cow-shed, in the kitchen or the temple, man too has to keep his mind at the Feet of God, wherever his body may be.
This state of constant remembrance can come only through long practice; it will not be acquired suddenly. So, strive for it steadily. With Vishweshwara (Lord of the Universe) in your heart, you can wander over the entire Vishwa (world). A priest who was employed in a Shiva temple had to go to some village some day and so he asked his son to do the puuja (ritual worship) and perform aarathi. The son was a novice; while doing aarathi, he has to wave in a circle the lighted camphor cube with his right hand and at the same time ring a bell vigorously with his left hand. But both his hands automatically made the same movements; both waved round, or both shook vigorously.
A little practice is wanted to succeed in coordinating the two different movements. So, too, a little practice will teach you to hold fast to the Feet of God, while roaming about in the world doing all duties and carrying all responsibilities as dedicated to Him. Develop shakthi (physical health and mental alertness) and yukthi (cleverness in discovering the way to lasting happiness); then you will have rakthi (attachment, which if turned to God becomes bhakthi (devotion) which promotes virakthi (detachment from all that distracts the mind away from God) and leads to mukthi (liberation).
World must be charming when it moves away
Lakshmi (wealth) and Jyeshtaadevi (poverty), Her elder sister quarrelled as to who was superior in status; they approached the three Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – to decide it for them; but they could not assume the responsibility for the decision! They excused themselves with the plea that they had no time. When Naaradha was approached next, he recommended that they should abide by the judgement of a certain famous merchant of Vaaranaasi. They proceeded to his presence; he was caught in a dilemma, for if Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth was displeased by his pronouncement, he would suffer; nor did he want to be blessed by Her elder sister, for she was the Goddess of Poverty! So he pleased both by his reply. The elder sister is welcome, charming and beneficent, when she moves away; the younger is welcome, charming and beneficent, when she moves towards. Both were satisfied that they were declared equally charming, beneficent and welcome. The world must be charming to the seeker, when it moves away from him; that is all that there is in it. We now consider the atom as all-important and the Aathma as insignificant. This is a tragic reversal of values.
That sense of real value must influence every choice that you make. The lakshya (goal) is Godrealisation, the realisation of the reality over which all this is but appearance. That should not be allowed to fade. So long as you act with an eye to benefit by it for yourself, you will have to undergo the consequence and suffer either joy or grief, being born to bear them both. A person being transferred from one jail to another will have two constables who will escort him; the punya and paapa (good consequences and bad conseoquences of actions) are the constables who lead man from one birth to another’. If you must escape from their attention and avoid migration from one jail to another, act-but do not calculate the consequences. That is to say, do not worry about the consequences; leave it to God who prompted the act and made it possible. Dedicate the act, the will, the wish, all to God.
The process of learning lasts until death
Samartha Raamadas, while a boy, was going through the bazaar reading books. Someone reprimanded him for reading while walking. He said that Raamadas could read when he reached school. But Raamadas replied, for me, the entire world appears as a school, which I must attend throughout life. I do not see any difference between the school where I learn some lessons and the world where I learn other lessons. The household is the school for women; the office or factory or the field is the school for men. The process of learning lasts until death and is resumed at birth. Samsaara (worldly life) is the saara (the essence) of all anubhavas (experiences). Of course, you must exercise your own intelligence and pin your faith on the Name and Form you like.
You know how the father and son who purchased a donkey and brought it home were forced by others’ suggestions to carry it and when crossing a bridge, lost the donkey as it fell in the river. They first wanted the son to ride it; then someone chided him for forcing the older man to walk along; when they both sat on it, others chided them again and suggested that they both should carry it home, and when they acted upon that suggestion, the frightened animal jumped over and fell into the river, because they were then passing over a bridge. If you listen to all and sundry and surrender your judgement, this is what happens. Have one Name-Form for japam, dhyaanam and smaranam. Then only can concentration take root.
The way to build up Sai Fraternity
Reference was made to the bond of prema which binds you to this place. Your prema towards Me and My vaathsalya (affection of mother to the child), these two are the bonds. I have no desire to keep you here at the Prashaanthi Nilayam; I know you have duties and obligations to individuals and institutions who depend on your service. They are also Mine. I also want to give you the experience of My being everywhere, not restricted by time or space, or causation.
When Narakaasura was destroyed, that is to say, when the six foes of man (lust, anger, greed, rifatration, pride and jealousy), which drag him towards a fall are overpowered-then the flame of wisdom can shine clear and bright. It is in order to demonstrate this that on this Day, deepas or lamps are lit and ranged on every house, dispelling darkness, which is the home of evil and vice. Sathya or Truth will defeat the forces of falsehood. That is the meaning of Sathyabhaama being the instrument which the Lord used to destroy Narakaasura. I need not tell you in detail about the legends which have grown round Deepavali. Cultivate sad gunas (good qualifies), engage yourselves in sath karmas (good deeds), be always in sad goshti (good company) –that is the way to build up the Sai Samaaj. (Sai fraternity).