Eschew body attachment

Listen to the discourse

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
International Sai Medical conference

Prasanthi Nilayam, 3 September 2005.

The Effulgent Lord who shines in every atom and pervades the entire universe will protect you always. He is the Omnipotent Lord of Parthi who will grant you Bhakthi (devotion), and will certainly help you in all your endeavours. What else is to be conveyed to this assembly of noble souls? (Telugu poem)

Embodiments of Love! 

Man thinks that he is able to lead a comfortable life with the help of wealth, food, clothing, houses, etc., he has acquired. This is not true. The very survival of a human being is dependent on God’s grace. There are many wealthy people in this world. Do they all lead a comfortable life? It is a fact that none can achieve anything in this world without God’s grace. Hence, first and foremost man must contemplate on God. One may read a number of books, acquire a number of academic degrees and visit a number of countries, but these cannot help a human being to lead a comfortable life.

Education sans educare is no education

People think that they have acquired high academic qualifications, but they enable them to acquire only bookish knowledge. At present, you find that everyone is engaged in acquiring bookish knowledge. But, they forget the fact that people led a happier and better life without bookish knowledge in the past. People think that pursuing academic education and acquiring bookish knowledge is real education. No, that is not real education. Education devoid of educare is not real education. What is educare? Educare is that which brings out the latent divinity in a human being. Divinity is also known as consciousness. It is only because of the consciousness present in him that every individual is able to know the nature of the world around him. But, unfortunately, no one is able to recognise this all-pervading consciousness. In fact, it is only this consciousness that is protecting every human being. In spite of one’s education and scholarship, one is not able to realise this truth. Education is negative and artificial, whereas educare is positive. People are going to foreign countries to acquire such artificial education. What is the use of acquiring such education? Instead, everyone should strive to acquire educare. One need not go to foreign countries for acquiring educare. It wells up from within and protects the person constantly. Educare is the unity of thought, word and deed.

Awareness of the atma tattwa is real education

One who has realised his own nature is an educated person in the real sense. One may enquire, “Who are you?” “Who is he?”, etc., but one may not know one’s own self. One might have acquired encyclopaedic knowledge about everything in this world. But, of what use is it if he does not enquire into himself by questioning “Who am I?” Real education constitutes enquiring into oneself about his true nature. You may question someone, “Sir! Where did you come from?” The person replies, “I am from India”. That very reply that he came from India connotes a negative sense. The real ‘I’ is to be explored. That ‘I’ is the real source. Without realising this source if one simply states that he came from this place or that place, it is not the correct answer. The reply that he came from India refers to the body. The body must have travelled from India. But, the consciousness is all-pervading. When someone questions, “Who are you?” The correct answer would be, “I am I”. If someone replies that he came from America or India, it connotes a negative sense. We often make a statement that this is my body, my mind, my intellect, etc. These are all artificial and not real. Nowadays, a lot of research is being made into the nature of the mind. But the mind is never steady. The mind is like a mad monkey and the body is like a water bubble. You are not this mad monkey. You are not this water bubble. The name given to the human race is “mankind”. But, today that kindness is gone and mankind has become monkey mind. You don’t find even an iota of kindness and compassion in human beings today.

Realising one’s innate divinity is educare. That innate divinity in man has been referred to by several people as atma. Without realising the nature of the atma one cannot understand the nature of the body. Educare consists of realising the nature of the atma. When someone questions you what is the meaning of the word “self”, you answer ‘I’. But that is not the correct meaning of self. It is not correct to identify ‘I’ with ‘self’, i.e., body. ‘I’ refers to Aham (individualised soul). As long as one identifies ‘I’ with self, one cannot understand the real meaning of ‘I’. It is only when one sheds attachment to self and develops the feeling of equanimity, can one understand the nature of atma. This Atma Tattwa is equally present in every being. This is the fundamental principle. It is only because of this fundamental principle that every living being acquires value. One has to recognise this fundamental principle. Only then does one deserve to be called a human being. In this world birds and beasts live along with human beings. Human beings can be differentiated from birds and beasts only when man realises that fundamental ‘I’ which is the Atma Tattwa. Since ancient times people in India have been striving to realise this fundamental ‘I’ which is present in all beings.

The fundamental ‘I’ alone is eternal

These days people are confronted with several difficulties and worries in their life since their awareness is limited to bodily relationship. Such body consciousness is artificial. It does not reveal their true Self. One has to strive to realise the fundamental ‘I’. Human body is ephemeral and is bound to perish one day or the other. When we speak of ‘I’, it should not be limited to the ephemeral human body, but to the fundamental ‘I’.

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. (Telugu poem)

The deha (human body) with which we identify ourselves saying ‘I’, is subject to birth and death again and again. But, the dehi (indweller), is the eternal devadeva (Paramatma). While the vesture of deha (body) has birth and death, the dehi is beyond birth and death and is omnipresent.

Consciousness has neither birth nor death. It has neither beginning nor end. It is present in all beings as the eternal witness. (Telugu poem)

You might have observed a beggar standing in front of your house seeking alms with a request Bhavathi bhikshaamdehi (give me alms). He is reminding you of your true nature of divinity by addressing you so.

The word ‘Dehi’ refers to divinity. He is seeking alms from God Himself. Hence, true education is realising the dehi. Education is not merely reading a number of books, which confers only bookish knowledge. Why do you run after these books? This bookish knowledge will enable you to merely eke out a livelihood. But, there is something beyond this bookish knowledge and livelihood, which all of you have to pursue.

Can you call all those who know how to read and write educated?

Can one be called educated merely by acquiring degrees?

Can you call it education which does not confer virtues?

If education is just for a living, don’t we find birds and beasts carrying on their lives? (Telugu poem)

One may acquire a lot of wealth and become a millionaire with the help of bookish knowledge and high academic degrees. But, ultimately people will give value to a realised soul and not to the one who has accumulated enormous wealth. As long as the body is present, people will refer to a person as “so and so; a very rich person; a king, etc.”

At present, man is exposed to unrest and lack of peace. What could be the reason for this state of affairs? Not even one individual is living peacefully. The whole world is in a state of turmoil. It is true that secular education is necessary for one’s living in this world. But, one has to go beyond this level and explore into the realm of universal consciousness that leads and motivates every living being. That consciousness is present equally in every human being right from a pauper to a millionaire. The fundamental ‘I’ is present in you, him and every individual. Here is a small example. Supposing you question somebody, “Who is the doctor?” The doctor will immediately rise to answer, ‘I’ am the doctor. In this example, the doctor identifies himself with his profession and says ‘I’ am the doctor. But he forgets about the fundamental ‘I’ present in him. When a question is put, “Where is God?” The natural answer would be, “He is present in all.” The same truth is enshrined in the aphorisms, Easwarah sarva bhutanam (God is the indweller of all beings) and Isavasyam idam sarvam (the entire universe is permeated by God). Different varieties of sweets like Mysore pak, Gulab Jamoon, Laddu, Khova, etc., are prepared. Names are different, but the fundamental ingredient (sugar) in all these sweets is the same. Similarly, one who realises the truth that the same Atma Tattwa is present in every human being and, in fact, in every living being, is the happiest person. Every person must attain such a level of consciousness. People in ancient times strove to attain that state and therefore they were aptly referred to as Yogis. They realised the truth that every human being was actually a three-in-one entity (1) the one he thinks he is, (2) the one others think he is, and (3) the one he really is. All the three aspects are present in one individual, with no separate entity for each aspect. This principle is changeless and eternal.

Do not give excessive importance to physical relationships

We often come across people who claim that their sons are employed in lucrative jobs in America. As a matter of fact, who is your son? You say that so and so is your son, keeping in view the bodily relationship with someone who has a name and form. Devoid of name and form, who is the son and who is the father? All these names and forms are acquired only after a person is born.

When man emerges from the womb of his mother, one does not find any garland around his neck. There are no jewels made of pearls nor are there glittering gold ornaments. There are no chains studded with precious stones like emerald and diamonds. But there is one garland around his neck. Brahma strings together the consequences of his past deeds into a heavy garland and puts it around his neck at the time of his birth. (Telugu poem)

As long as there is bodily relationship between you and him, you call him your son. If the body perishes, whom do you call your son? All these relationships are worldly and physical. As long as the physical relationship exists you consider someone as your relative, friend or foe. Hence, do not ever give excessive importance to these physical relationships. It is only when you rise above these physical relationships that you will realise the Antaryami (inner motivator). You may enquire from any of our boys, “Where is God?” They will spontaneously answer, “Everywhere. In fact, you are God.” Their relationship with God is beyond the physical level of the body.

We are always leading a life based on physical relationships. But, these are not permanent. Such relationships exist today, but may cease to exist tomorrow. As long as there is life in the body, you say, “I am”. Once the body perishes how can you call yourself ‘I’? When you enquire into the matter deeply, everything in this objective world reduces itself to zero. All that we see in this world are zeros. Unfortunately, today we consider the zero as hero. However, there is one fundamental principle ‘I’ which is eternal. That fundamental principle is hero. It is present in every individual, but it is not noticed. It is the inner motivator. We often refer to our human body consisting of flesh and blood as ‘I’. Our physical body is not eternal. It is like the passing clouds which come and go. Considering such transient body as the eternal ‘I’, we often struggle to keep the body in comfort. This is not the correct approach. The body must be employed for the purpose for which it was given to us. Man is born to realise the eternal truth. Here is a small example. You performed the marriage of your son and brought a girl into your house, claiming her as your daughter-in-law. Before her marriage to your son, who was this daughter-in-law? The relationship ceases to exist once you leave this world. Such relationships are like passing clouds. Unfortunately, today we are passing our lives keeping such passing clouds as our true relationships. This is not the proper thing to do. Every individual should desist from leading a life based on dehabhimana (attachment to the body). Even educated people have attachment to the body, they constantly strive to maintain the physical body feeding it with comforts. It is only because of attachment to the body that they are exposed to sorrows and difficulties. Hence, shed body attachment and cultivate attachment to the Eternal Truth. People crave for the darshan of Rama, Krishna and other deities, which are the names given to the physical body donned by Divinity in different ages. As long as you are attached to the physical body, you cannot realise the Atma Tattwa. In fact, atma does not have any attachment. The atma is present in you, Me and every individual and every living being in keeping with the aphorism Ekatma sarva bhutantaratma (one Atma dwells in all beings). Realising the nature of such an allpervading atma is considered to be true spirituality; not just performing some rituals like worship, religious vows and bhajans. When someone enquired of Sita, “Where is your Rama?”, she replied, “Sri Rama is always with me only.” What people generally refer to is the physical body of Sri Rama, the son of King Dasaratha. In fact, the real Rama is not related to any individual neither the son of some king nor the son-in-law of another king. He is immanent in every living being.

Instead of dehabhimana cultivate spiritual relatioship

Keeping in view the bodily relationship, people often make enquiries, “Where did your uncle come from?” Where did your aunt come from?”, etc. Supposing you question the same person, “Where did you come from?” He cannot give a correct answer. The truth is all people come from the same source. When one realises this truth, there will no more be any worry or sorrow. Hence, one has to realise this universal truth. If you do not develop faith in unity, but follow diversity, your entire life will be chaotic. Do not develop attachment to the world. Instead, cultivate spiritual attachment. When you live in harmony with your fellow human beings, you will derive happiness. Then you will enjoy the unity between human beings. The real devotee is one who has realised such unity. Unity leads to purity, which in turn leads to Divinity. One who has not experienced such unity, purity and divinity confines himself to body attachment and will be trapped in the birth-death cycle.

You are all aware of the havoc caused by tidal waves that shook the coastal villages on the east coast of India (Tsunami), a few months ago. More recently, in America a very devastating hurricane submerged several towns and villages. The entire region presented the picture of a vast sheet of water. No one knew who survived and who died. It is only after the water receded, an estimate of the extent of damage caused to life and property could be made.

Embodiments of Love!

Eschew body attachment and realise the unity in divinity present everywhere. That is real sadhana. Today, people undertake sadhana to achieve something, all the while thinking of something else. As a result, they are unable to achieve their goal. Such divided attention is the fault of the concerned individual, but not that of the objective world. Ensure that your sadhana is on the right track. Only then will you be able to realise the unity in diversity. Several people live long years of age, some even 100 years. But, they are unable to realise this unity. Instead, they visualise duality everywhere. This cannot be termed as real sadhana. One who has realised the non-dual (advaita) Brahman alone can be considered to be a real manava (human being). Hence, try to realise the unity in diversity by removing the feelings of duality and experience bliss. In fact, unity is divinity and that divinity is immanent in you. As long as you are under the influence of duality, you will not be able to realise that unity. Realise unity, experience unity and spread unity to the entire world. Unity alone brings purity and purity develops love. If only you develop such pure love, you will be able to understand everything in the spiritual realm. I will take some other opportunity to explain in greater detail the concept of pure love. If you entangle yourself in worldly attachments and still aspire for divinity, how is it possible? Hence, keep yourself away from all attachments and attain unity.

(Bhagavan concluded His Discouse with the bhajan, “Prema Mudhita Manase Kaho”.)