Cast off body attachment to develop atmic consciousness

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
Guru Purnima, Prasanthi Nilayam, 13 July 2003

Embodiments of Love! 

The entire universe has been created out of the Will of God. God creates the universe and sustains it. The universe ultimately merges in God, the source of its origin. The universe, which has originated from Divine Will, is known as Viswam. The correct meaning of Viswam is that which is selfexpansive and full of bliss. God has created the universe with a purpose, but man is acting contrary to it. Viswam is not merely a manifestation of physical matter. It is a direct manifestation of God. It is the very embodiment of the Cosmic Personality, with all His limbs. The Viswa symbolises the expansive nature of God, which can be understood only through viveka (discrimination). God is beyond time and cause. The physical world functions by so-called reason, but the Divine Will is not bound by reason. God is the primal cause behind the universe. The universe is the reflection of God. Viswam and Vishnu are not different from each other. The letter ‘V’ in the name Vishnu stands for Viveka and Vistara (expansiveness). Hence, Viswam is the very form of Vishnu. The entire creation constitutes various limbs of God.

Every object in the creation has five aspects, namely, sath, chit, ananda, rupa, and nama (existence, consciousness, bliss, form, and name). The first three are eternal principles, whereas name and form are ephemeral. Sath, chit, and ananda are the basis for name and form. All human activities are based on name and form. It is God who decides who has to do what. Some people are rajasic (passionate, active) in nature and some others are thamasic (slothful, dull). Evil qualities like hatred and jealousy are predominant in such people.

People attribute various names and forms to God on the basis of their own feelings. They forget the three main principles of sath, chit, and ananda and assume name and form to be the sole reality. In reality, name and form are not permanent. But people are overwhelmed by name and form and ignore the eternal principles of sath, chit, and ananda. Consequently, they are deluded and tend to forget the mighty power of God behind the name and form. He is called Padmanabha (One who has a lotus emerging from His navel). Here, the lotus represents the Divine Sankalpa (Will). He is also called Hiranyagarbha, since He has a golden womb. He is known as Vaastha, since He is present in the form of ‘I’ in all beings. The principle of ‘I’ is all-pervasive.

God has no specific name. All names are attributed by man to God. Each name, like Padmanabha, Hiranyagarbha, and Hiranmaya, has a profound inner meaning. Spirituality is meant to explain the principle of Divinity and the inner meaning of the names attributed to Him. One who follows the spiritual path should make efforts to understand and experience the principle of Divinity and propagate the same. But, man today has not really understood what spirituality means. He is under the mistaken notion that spirituality means merely offering worship and prayers to God and performing rituals. People should be taught the inner significance of spirituality and various names and forms attributed to Divinity.

In 1968, the First World Conference of Sathya Sai Seva Organisations was held in Bombay (now Mumbai). It was the time when the foundation stone of Dharmakshetra was laid. Indulal Shah was mainly responsible for the construction of Dharmakshetra. He has been working tirelessly for the propagation of Swami’s message. His wife Sarla Shah has been a source of strength to him. She played an active role in the development of bal vikas and mahila vibhag. In this manner, both husband and wife have contributed to a great extent for the furtherance of Sai movement in the entire world. Even at this advanced age, they are exerting a lot in the service of Sai Organisation.

It is not possible for all to understand the nature of Divinity. This world looks like a picture painted on a wall that has no support. One has to make efforts to understand the principles of adhara (basis) and adheya (object). Do not waste your time in merely performing rituals. True spirituality lies in realising the truth that man is but a spark of Divinity. This is what is declared in the Bhagavad Gita: Mamaivamsho Jivaloke Jivabhuta Sanathana (all beings are a part of My eternal Being). Vaasudeva-sarvamidam (the whole world is permeated by God, Vaasudeva). You have to experience this truth and propagate to the world.

Many Sai centres are established all over the world. Each centre has a history of its own. Dharmakshetra is no exception to this. Only Swami knows the innumerable difficulties that Indulal Shah faced during the construction of Dharmakshetra. In those days, there were no approach roads to the place where Dharmakshetra stands now. He had to walk through thorny bushes to select a suitable site for the construction of Dharmakshetra. He showed Me the place for approval. It is situated on the Mahakali Caves road. He worked hard for its construction. Many people helped him in the fulfilment of this task.

It is not possible to undertake a work of this magnitude without the help of others. When you undertake a good work there are bound to be certain obstacles in the beginning. But you should not lose heart. When the ocean of milk was churned by devas (gods) and danavas (demons), it was a deadly poison that emerged first. But that did not deter them. They continued their efforts with unflinching determination, and ultimately obtained the divine ambrosia. Our heart can be compared to the ocean of milk and the sadhana (spiritual practices) to the process of churning. Initially, there are bound to be obstacles when you undertake sadhana. We should not be deflected by these obstacles but should continue our efforts with full faith. Only then can we attain an exalted and blissful state. Many individuals in the past had to put up with a lot of difficulties while constructing pilgrimage centres. Bhadrachalam is one such pilgrimage centre. Adi Sankara, unmindful of the physical strain, walked all the way from the deep south to the north to establish pilgrimage centres at Badrinath, Amarnath, and Kedarnath.

No matter who one is, one has necessarily to enlist the cooperation of others to accomplish stupendous tasks. Where there is unity, there is bliss. In this age of Kali, people have that spirit of unity no longer. There is neither unity nor purity. Hence, enmity has found a place in the human heart giving rise to troubles and turmoil. In fact, unity is the need of the hour. The true strength of humanity lies in unity. As the thought, so is the action. As the action, so is the result. Today, man is unable to reach the goal of his life because he does not entertain sacred thoughts. In the first instance, he should develop sacred thoughts.

There are many who have deluded themselves that they love God. But they are full of body consciousness and crave for money and material things. Such love cannot be true love at all. It is artificial love. Many people write to Me, “Swami we love You. Please keep us near and dear to You.” In this context, let Me emphatically tell you that Sai cannot be attained so easily. You may say that you love Me. But how can I believe you? Is there a spirit of sacrifice in your love? There is no consistency in your words and deeds. You make a promise one day and go back on it the very next day. How can one believe the love of such impostors?

True and eternal love originates from the heart. Real love is a heart to heart relationship. It is associated with the Atmic principle, which is present in everyone. Atma is the source of consciousness. Atma and Brahma are one and the same. The love that originates from the heart confers on you the eternal, immortal and non-dual bliss.

But where is such love nowadays? You are heroes in speech but zeros in practice. Today, the world is being duped by such people. Those who have true love in their heart will not indulge in tall talk. They demonstrate their love in action. Today people speak a lot without translating their speech into action. Such people are verily thieves. How can you attain the goal of life if you believe in such unscrupulous people and rely on them?

Your heart should melt and flow toward God. Only then can you attain His grace. People may talk as they please; do not be carried away by them. Unmindful of hardships and difficulties, hold on to the principle of divinity and reach the goal of life. Today, people lack the will and determination to reach the goal of life. How can those who do not understand the goal of life, attain it? True love cannot be fragmented. One cannot have love for God as well as for ephemeral objects and relationships. The love which is fragmented is artificial only. You have only one heart. You cannot break it into pieces and distribute to various people. It is not like a laddoo or sugar cane, which can be broken into pieces and distributed. It is the eternal truth. It is nectarous and full of bliss. Ignoring the immortal bliss within, people tread the worldly path thinking that bliss lies therein. It is only a figment of their imagination. He is a true devotee who makes efforts to attain God with full faith and determination without caring for trials and tribulations.

Having resolved what ought to be resolved, hold on to it till you have succeeded. Having desired what ought to be desired, hold on to it till your desire is fulfilled. Having asked what ought to be asked, do not leave the hold till you get it. Having thought what ought to be thought, hold on to it till you have succeeded. With heart mellowed, the Lord must yield to your wishes. With no thought of yourself, ask Him with all your heart. Persevere, be tenacious, and never give up, for it is the quality of a devotee never to retreat, abandoning the resolve. (Telugu Poem)

Devotees of modern times are trying to hoodwink even God with sweet talk and artificial love. Such people can never attain God. You should have unwavering faith. Even in times of dangers and difficulties, your faith should remain steady. God can be experienced only in times of difficulties. Kashte phali (hard work yields rich rewards). It is also said, Na sukhat labhyate sukham (one cannot derive happiness out of happiness). Consider difficulties as God’s gifts and accept them in the right spirit.

Sarla Amma and Indulal Shah had to face innumerable difficulties those days. They overcame all those with courage and fortitude. They reside in Bombay (now Mumbai) which is not an ordinary place. It is like a ‘bomb’. Whatever you do, be it good or bad, you have to face difficulties. Being in such a place, they did good work. In fact, Indulal Shah was troubled by many. But he continued his work with unwavering devotion and achieved success. You need to have God’s grace to accomplish anything. You cannot but seek the help and cooperation of others to fulfil a mighty task.

Those who are engaged in God’s work must be prepared to face any obstacle. Indulal Shah’s life bears ample testimony to this. He has been serving Sai for the last forty years with strong faith and determination. He went round the world propagating the message of Sai. Whenever people approached him with doubts, he would give most appropriate answers and clear their doubts. One should be prepared to take up any challenge, be it worldly or spiritual. They have spent a great amount of their physical energy working tirelessly for the Organisation.

I want to share a small incident with you. Last month, Sri Shah had come to Brindavan to see Me. He saw Me resting on the bed and felt very sad. He did not tell it outwardly, but he was praying within that Swami should get well soon. He did not have proper food and sleep during the last one month because he was constantly worried about Swami’s well-being. Consequently, his body became weak. Otherwise, he always maintains good health. He has a number of plans for the future of the Organisation. He is praying that Swami should give the necessary strength to implement those plans. Both Sarla Amma and Indulal Shah were very anxious about Swami’s health and were all the time thinking of Swami. They do not go by what others say. They depend on their own conviction.

Nobody needs to be worried or anxious about Swami’s well-being. No danger can ever befall Swami. Swami comes out of all difficulties and troubles unscathed. He will achieve all success. There may be some changes at the physical level. They are only temporary and not permanent. Hence, Swami wants all of you to be courageous. Now I have recovered and am standing before you.

What medicine did I use? The intense prayers of the devotees are My medicine. During the last one month, be it in Madras (now Chennai), Hyderabad, Bangalore, or Mumbai, devotees have intensified their prayers and spiritual activities. Each and every house conducted bhajans and Namasmarana. Some devotees undertook penance and performed Yajnas. In this manner, a number of spiritual activities were undertaken praying for the well-being of Swami. It is as a result of such fervent prayers that I am able to stand before you and address you. Neither did I want this suffering nor did I desire its cure. You wanted this body to be cured of the pain, and you achieved it through your prayers. This body is not Mine. It is yours. Hence, it is your responsibility to look after this body. I am not the deha (body); I am the Dehi (Indweller).

The body is made up of five elements and is bound to perish sooner or later, but the Indweller has neither birth nor death. The Indweller has no attachment whatsoever and is the eternal witness. Truly speaking, the Indweller, who is in the form of the Atma, is verily God Himself. (Telugu Poem)

The Atma has neither birth nor death. It has no pain or suffering. You may not believe it, but the doctors have seen the extent of injury to My hip. For anybody else, it would have taken at least two to three years to walk normally. The ball in the hip joint broke into pieces. There were no muscles for support. My bones are as strong as diamonds. It was not possible to join them together. Hence, they put a rod and performed the surgery. After undergoing such a complicated surgery, it takes a number of years to walk normally. Without caring for all this, I started walking. Doctors made every effort to protect this body. They did their duty. But I did not think of this body at all. I demonstrate the ideal that one should not have body attachment. Not only now, for the last two years, I have been repeatedly exhorting you to give up body attachment. Gradually reduce your dehabhimana (body consciousness) and develop Atmabhimana (Atmic consciousness). You are not the body; you are the embodiments of the Atma. The physical body comes and goes. The body only has suffering, not the Atma.

When I fractured My hip, it was not possible to even move My leg. The slightest movement caused excruciating pain like that of an electric shock. I told the doctors, “This is not My body. This is yours. You may do whatever you deem fit.” One who has given up body consciousness will have no suffering at all.

Satyajit was with Swami all the time. He has a strong determination and has taken a vow to be with Swami always. When I was being taken to the hospital in a van, he sat right near My head. When I was taken into the operation theatre, he followed. Usually, when surgery is done, nobody is allowed into the operation theatre. But Satyajit did not want to leave Swami. He wanted to see what the doctors would do to Swami’s body. Hence, he wore the surgeon’s dress and entered the operation theatre. I told Satyajit, “You will not be able to bear the sight of blood. Hence, you remain outside.” But he lovingly insisted that he might be allowed to stay inside. He was with Me at the time of operation. He saw the doctor making a hole in the bone with a hammer. After the operation was over, he asked, “Swami, how could you bear such pain and suffering?” I told, “The love of devotees like you is My strength.” The power of love is the ultimate. You can overcome any pain or danger with the power of love.

You should have strong and unwavering faith without even a trace of doubt. Your thoughts, words, and deeds must be in harmony with each other. Many devotees who have such strong and steady faith became recipients of Swami’s grace. During the last month, bhajans were held in every village. Their only prayer was that Swami should recover quickly and grant them darshan. Swami’s well-being was uppermost in everybody’s mind. I received lakhs of telegrams from devotees wishing for My speedy recovery. Many devotees were very anxious and were praying within. Their anxiety turned into penance. The power of their penance bestowed good health on Swami. It is because of their love and devotion that Swami is hale and healthy now. I have never used My divine power to cure Myself. If I were to use it, I would have been cured of the suffering in a trice. I don’t have the selfish feeling that I should get cured. There is not even a trace of selfishness in Me. Everyone should be happy. This is My only desire.

Everybody should experience happiness. This is the essence of the culture of Bhar (India). This is the Age of Kali. In this age, people will have several doubts, particularly the younger generation who are highly educated ‑post-graduates and double graduates. It is but natural that under the influence of the Kali Age and with their modern educational background, the younger generation will not be able to develop firm faith in Divinity.

During midnight, at the odd hour of 1 o’ clock or 2 o’clock when I get up from the bed and look around, I find these two boys Satyajit and Dilip sitting one near My head and the other at My feet, safely guarding this body. One of the boys, Dilip is working in the Super Speciality Hospital here. He had a fracture recently in his leg and it was still in a plaster cast. In spite of that, he came over to Bangalore, the morning he heard of Swami’s indisposition, to serve Swami. Both these boys were attending to the needs of Swami with great devotion. I can emphatically say that none can equal them in their love and devotion to Swami. People may pay lip service, uttering the word ‘love’, ‘love’ mechanically; but no one can do such a great service as these two boys have done.

Even at an odd hour, if I just utter the word ‘Satya’ in a feeble voice, the boy would immediately get up and attend to My needs. He was so alert and attentive. They used to attend to all My needs, including feeding Me. In fact, they completely forgot their own personal needs while serving Swami. All this is due to the great merit accumulated by their parents. It is only because of their parents’ devotion to God and the merit accumulated by them that these boys are able to cultivate such noble feelings of devotion and service. Therefore, the parents should first become devotees of God.

I used to tell these boys often that I was feeling better and that they could go and take food. But they would not leave Me. Whenever they received any phone call from devotees making anxious enquiries about Swami’s condition, they simply used to reply that Swami was fine. Never did they give any details. They used to answer the queries of devotees with great love and tact. How did they acquire such great love and tact? Not because of higher education or age. It is only because of their intense devotion and faith in Swami. That is the real quality. Basing on such a noble quality, they did great service to Swami. There are several people ready to undertake Swami’s service, provided they got an opportunity. But, none could get such an opportunity. They got this unique opportunity and they made the best use of it. What greater sadhana (spiritual discipline) could there be than serving Swami? What greater fulfilment could there be than Swami acknowledging their love? You will not find people doing such great service for a full month continuously, day and night, at such a young age. Several people may talk of love and service, but you will not find such loving and devoted boys. I have seen great faith, devotion and steadfastness in these boys. That is why they are able to win the heart of Swami. With faith and devotion, one can achieve great tasks, even lifting a mountain.

Take the example of Hanuman. When Lakshmana fainted in the battlefield, Rama was in great distress. Then Hanuman was sent to bring the Sanjeevani herb to revive Lakshmana. Hanuman did not know where exactly the herb was. Therefore, he lifted the whole mountain on which the herb existed and placed it before Rama. Similarly, a devotee of God must be prepared to undertake any service, however mighty the task may be. Generally, people will have a tendency to run away from difficulties and rush forward to enjoy happiness. That should not be. One must be prepared for anything. The human body is susceptible to several diseases and difficulties. You should not get depressed by them. You must develop firm faith in Divinity. That viswasa (faith) must be your swasa (breath).

Today, I am able to stand before you and give a discourse, only because of the great service rendered by these two boys.

I must tell you one more thing. Millions of people all over the world during the period of Swami’s indisposition have ceaselessly prayed for Swami’s speedy recovery. Several people have undertaken several vratas (religious vows). Countless telegrams and telephonic enquiries have been received about Swami’s health. Particularly, Geetha Reddy, chairperson of the Andhra Pradesh Congress (Mahila Vibhag) stayed for one full month in Brindavan praying for Swami’s welfare and hoping to have His darshan somehow. Because nobody was allowed at that time into Swami’s residence, she could not get an opportunity to have His darshan. Nevertheless she stayed back with a firm determination, even though she had pressing engagements in Hyderabad. She was almost shuttling between Bangalore and Hyderabad daily by aeroplane during that period. She did not even care for the huge expenditure involved and the difficulties at home. What she wanted and craved for was Swami’s speedy recovery. She considered Swami as her very life. That is real love and devotion, which can please Swami. Devotion and surrender to God can cure any amount of suffering.

Another small incident I wish to reveal to you. There was a patient in the U.S.A. She was extremely afraid of the disease diagnosed by the doctors. The diagnosis revealed that she had cancerous growth in the heart region. She and her husband came to Bangalore praying for Swami’s grace. I assured them that I would cancel the cancer and that they should not have any fear in the matter. She took treatment for one week and the cancer disappeared! A little malignant portion was left and I instructed the doctors to remove it by surgery. The doctors performed the surgery as instructed by Me. On the very next day she started walking! She is now quite normal and healthy.

There are several such cases. The chanting of the Divine Name can cure even the most incurable disease. That is exactly what she has done. The lady is in the habit of chanting the Divine Name “Sairam”, “Sairam” continuously. There are several such people who chant the Divine Name. I have cured several people of the most dreaded and incurable diseases. There are also a number of people whom I have helped in ever-so-many ways. All of them have now prayed for My recovery. It is only their prayers that helped My speedy recovery.

Not only this, I lost vision in my left eye some 9 years ago. All these years I was seeing with one eye only. Now the doctors in our hospital, and also Narasimha Murthy (Warden of Sri Sathya Sai College Hostel, Brindavan), prayed that I should undergo an operation for the left eye, along with the operation for the hip bone. I told them that since I was able to manage with one eye, so there was no necessity for operation to the second eye. But they prayed and prevailed upon Me to undergo the eye operation.

When I wanted to come down to the Sai Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam at 7.00 a.m., to give darshan to the devotees, Satyajit prayed that I must slightly postpone My darshan to 7.30 a.m., keeping in view the physical strain I would have to undergo in early morning darshan. Thus, he is anxious about My welfare every moment. Not only he; there are several such devotees with noble thoughts. That is why, Saint Thyagaraja sang his immortal Kirtan, “Endaro Mahanubhaavulu (Many are the great souls)”. In fact, it is only because of such noble souls that the country of Bharat (India) has been able to exist peacefully. Bharatadesa is not just a mass of earth. Bharat is verily the heart of the entire world. If Bharat is safe and secure, the entire world will be safe. Unfortunately, the people of Bharat do not realise this truth. Wherever you see, selfishness is rampant. Therefore, cast away your selfish motive and engage yourself in activities that help others. Pray for the welfare of elders. Pray for the welfare of all. That is the real meaning of the prayer, Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. Pray for the welfare of the entire world, wholeheartedly. You will definitely prosper. I think I have taken a lot of time and caused inconvenience to you.

Taking the example of these two, Sarla Amma and Indulal Shah, I wish you should inculcate a spirit of service in everybody. I also wish that the bal vikas and Mahila Vibhag should progress well. I wish both of them a long, healthy and happy life. Bhagawan concluded His discourse with the bhajan, “Hari Bhajan Bina Sukha Santhi Nahin”.