Editor’s note. This discourse does not appear in the Sathya Sai Speaks series.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
Athi Rudra Maha Yajna, Prasanthi Nilayam, 14 August 2006
Our forbearance is the real beauty in this sacred land of Bharat.
Of all rituals, adherence to truth is the greatest penance.
The nectarous feeling in this country is the feeling of love toward one’s mother.
Character is valued far higher than the very life itself.
People have forgotten the basic principles of this great culture and are imitating Western culture.
Alas! The Bharatiyas are not aware of the greatness of their cultural heritage,
Just as a mighty elephant is not aware of its own strength.
Embodiments of Love!
Bharatiyas (Indians) are a very rich people. Bharat is a rich country. It is a great land of merit, sacrifice, and action (punya, thyaga, karma.
Unfortunately, today the people of Bharat do not realise the greatness of their country. Just as the elephant does not realise its innate strength, Bharatiyas do not recognise their inner strength.
An elephant can knock down a man and throw him three yards away with swish of its tail. However, a mahout with his goad is able to keep the elephant in complete control. Since the elephant is unable to realise its own strength, it submits to the commands of the mahout. Similarly, Bharatiyas today, mislead by their vesture of the body, are unable to realise their innate strength.
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.
There is tremendous divine power in the physical body of a human being. The power of Truth that is present in this physical body can bind the indescribable and incomprehensible Divinity. None can assess this power of Truth. It is the Truth of truths (Sathyasya Sathyam), which no one can visualise by the mind. It can only be experienced, not described. Truth is God, verily. That is why it is said, Brahman is the embodiment of truth, wisdom, and eternity (Sathyam jnanam anantham Brahma).
Creation emerges from truth and merges into truth,
Is there a place in the cosmos where truth does not exist?
Visualise this pure and unsullied truth.
Wherever you look in this universe, it is only Truth that manifests. That there is something called illusion (mithya) is itself an illusion! However, people rely on the unreal body and consider it as real. First and foremost, one has to realise this Truth. One has to pray to Truth. One has to uphold Truth.
It is said, There is no duty greater than adherence to truth Sathyannasti paro dharma). Devoid of Truth, there is no dharma at all! The mansion of dharma rests only on the foundation of Truth.
Embodiments of Love!
You have to make efforts to realise this Truth. Unable to control our senses, unable to give up body attachment, we are neglecting the Eternal Truth. This is the effect of our so-called secular education.
What is the nature of Truth? God is attributeless, pure, final abode, eternal, unsullied, enlightened, free, and embodiment of sacredness (nirgunam, niranjanam, sanathanam, niketanam, nitya, shuddha, buddha, mukta, nirmala swarupinam).
Forgetting such an indwelling Truth, we are following the senses of action, senses of perception and the mind, which are unreal.
Do you know the nature of mind? It runs after worldly objects, indiscriminately. It is like a fly. One moment, it rests on a fragrant flower; the next moment, it sits on the garbage being carried in a cart. How can you trust such a fickle mind? “The mind is like a mad monkey, the body is like a water bubble”.
Unfortunately, today, you lead your lives reposing our faith in such a body and mind. The day you give up attachment to the body, forget the senses, and contemplate on the Atmic Principle (Atma Thathwa), you will yourself become an embodiment of the divine Self. You are not merely a human being; you are God, verily!
Though you are God yourself, you are unfortunately deluded into considering yourself a human being. You have donned the garb of a human being for being in this world. This human form is a garb. As long as you are in this world, you will wear that garb. The moment you return to the dressing room, you will leave that dress. You are enacting a role, wearing this dress. Once you leave this dress, you are your normal self again.
Humanness is sacred and divine. But people today are wasting such a sacred and divine nature by consigning to earth such a sacred and divine humanness. This is utter folly. On the other hand, you have to sanctify your humanness. Your education, your intelligence, your physical strength and power — all these are short-lived. You have to strive to realise the eternal Atmic Principle instead.
You are not the body. Suppose someone comes and asks, “Who are you?”
You reply, “I am so and so.” Thus, you introduce yourself. Taking into account your physical body, your occupation, the place where you live, etc., you say, “I am Ramadas.” This is a name given to you by your parents. Whenever someone asks, “Who is Ramadas?”, you reply “I”. The name “Ramadas” pertains to your body. “I” is your real name. That “I” is real and eternal.
Who is Ramadas? He is the servant of Rama, the son of King Dasaratha. The name Dasaratha in this context does not pertain to the King of Ayodhya. Ayodhya means the place where no armed foe can enter. The human body with the ten senses (five senses of action and five senses of perception) represents Dasaratha.
King Dasaratha had three wives: Kausalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi. These three queens represent the three qualities (gunas): purity, emotion, inertia (sathwa, rajas, thamas). Kausalya is an embodiment of the purity quality; Kaikeyi, emotion; and Sumitra, inertia.
One has to recognise the inner meaning of these terms in relation to one’s own body/mind complex. The great sages and seers realised this Truth. They were not deluded, like present-day human beings. They realised Truth, lived for Truth, and propagated Truth.
Forbearance is the natural quality of Bharatiyas (Indians). In fact, one who is devoid of this quality is not a human being at all! The mother has been given the first and foremost place in Indian culture. The Vedas declared, “mother is God, father is God (Matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava).”
You are all familiar with the Suprabhata verse sung to Rama, “Oh! Rama! Son of Kausalya! It is dawn! Get up and perform Your morning oblations (Kausalya Supraja Rama ….).” Even in this verse, Rama is referred to as the son of Kausalya. Her name comes first, since the mother is verily the God for a human being.
When Rama prostrated at the feet of his mother Kausalya at the time of accompanying sage Viswamitra to the forest to protect the ritual (yajna) to be performed by him, she blessed Him, “Son! May the supreme Lord who protected Prahlada, may the Dweller of Vaikuntha who took the child Dhruva into His fold, may the one extolled by the immortal Gods, may the Lord who is the refuge of the forlorn —may these confer victory on You!”
It is only on account of the blessings of His mother that Rama could vanquish the demons and protect the ritual performed by sage Viswamitra.
Again it was the mother’s words of blessing that was at the back of His success in the festival for the choice of a bridegroom (swayamvara) in King Janaka’s court, where He broke Lord Siva’s divine bow.
King Janaka, who was a karma yogi (one who performs all actions as offerings to the Divine, with no attachment or desire for the fruit thereof) and a realized soul (mahajnani) himself, held Rama’s feet in full view of the court and said, “Son! There is none greater than You. This is Sita, my daughter. I wish to give her in marriage to you. Please accept her.” But Rama politely declined his request, saying that he could not do so without the permission of His parents.
In contrast, today’s youth make a big show of a marriage proposal. They arrange to print expensive invitation cards with costly designs and colours and distribute to all. That was not the way of Rama. He thought, “We are four brothers born at the same time. Hence, whether it is the thread ceremony (upanayana) or marriage (vivaha), it should be for all of us together.”
Till then, Rama did not even look at Sita. Today’s youth are different. The moment an engagement function between a boy and a girl is over, they go to a cinema together. This is not good.
Sita did not come out into the open till the auspicious moment (muhurtham) when the marriage was near. Rama also did not look at her till that time. It is only after His parents came to Mithila and Viswamitra informed them of King Janaka’s proposal to give his daughter Sita in marriage to Him that Rama consented to marry her. Even then, He did not look at Sita till the marriage ceremony was over.
The couples were to exchange garlands as part of the wedding ceremony. Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Satrughna were standing in a line ready to garland their brides. Rama was the eldest among the brothers. Hence, His bride Sita was to garland Him first. Later, the other brides were to put garlands around their respective bridegrooms.
Sita stood in front of Rama holding a garland, but Rama did not look at her, since the marriage ceremony was not yet complete. Till then, she was a stranger to Him. Rama’s view and ideal was that it is a great sin to look at a “parasthree” —a woman who has not yet become His wife.
Poor Sita! She waited for a long time, but Rama did not bow His head to enable Sita to garland Him. Lakshmana then thought of a plan by which Sita could garland Rama. Suddenly, he fell at Rama’s feet, and Rama bent down to lift him up. Exactly at that moment, Sita put the garland round Rama’s neck!
Look! How sacred and noble were the intentions of people of those times! How pure and truthful were their hearts! People gave a lot of importance to character during the Tretha Yuga (Era) and Dwapara Yuga. That is why those Eras became very famous.
You should also respect and worship elders, like Rama did. You must obey the commands of the elders. Only when you pay heed to their words and follow them diligently will you be able to experience peace in life.
In accordance with the promise given by King Dasaratha to his wife Kaikeyi, Rama had to spend fourteen years in exile in the forest. Though Kaikeyi was a great queen, she listened to the words of her servant, Manthara, and sent Rama to the forest due to her promptings.
There is a lesson to be learnt in this context that we should give weight to the words of the Master and not of the servant. Since Kaikeyi succumbed to the advice of her servant, she underwent great suffering and sorrow.
During the journey to the forest, Sita also followed Rama. She firmly informed her decision to Rama, “Oh! Lord! The husband is God to a wife. Wherever he is, she should also be there.” Lakshmana also accompanied Rama to the forest, saying, “Dear elder brother! I cannot live for a moment without you.”
Lakshmana and Satrughna were born to Sumitra. True to her name, Sumitra was a woman of noble qualities. She dedicated both her sons to Rama’s service. As per her wish, Lakshmana served Rama and Satrughna served Bharata.
Lakshmana’s qualities were highly noble. Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana encountered several difficulties during their exile in the forest. All this is a well known.
Once while Rama and Lakshmana were walking in the forest, suddenly Lakshmana told Rama in a dejected mood, “Dear elder brother! Why this exile in the forest for us! It is very difficult for us to protect Sita from the demons in this forest. Why should we undergo so many ordeals here? Why should Mother Sita, who was never exposed to the sun and rain so far, encounter so many difficulties in this forest? Come! Let us go back to Ayodhya and lead a comfortable life.”
Rama realised that what Lakshmana was saying was due to the effect of place (sthala). He took Lakshmana’s hand into His own smilingly and brought him out of that place by walking some distance. Then He asked Lakshmana, “Lakshmana! Now tell Me, shall we go back to Ayodhya?”
Lakshmana realised his mistake and felt sorry. He pleaded with Rama, “Dear brother! We need not go back to Ayodhya now. We have to live here in the forest for fourteen years as per the command of our father. I never went against Your wishes nor disobeyed Your command. I do not know why I spoke like that then. I am just not able to understand why my mind had changed like that.”
Rama explained, “Lakshmana! I know this is not your nature. This is the effect of the place through which we just passed. Several demons are moving about this place. Since you entered a place inhabited by demons, the demonic qualities entered into you.” So saying, Rama helped him regain his poise.
Hence, we have to take into consideration the time and place as also the effect of the place (sthala prabhava) and conduct ourselves accordingly.
No text had ever taught so much about good character as the Ramayana did. Unfortunately, today several people are not in a position to realise the greatness of the Ramayana. The Ramayana is verily the heart of Bharatiyas (Indians). Not to realise this truth and act accordingly is the reason for all the difficulties faced by Bharatiyas today.
Wherever you reside, you cannot escape from difficulties and suffering. Nevertheless, one has to boldly face them reposing one’s faith in God.
God is your sole refuge wherever you may be,
In a forest, in the sky, in a city or a village, on the top of a mountain or in the middle of deep sea. (Telugu poem)
Only those who are able to realise the nature of Divinity can understand this truth.
Today, all the youth have to cultivate good qualities. You are all the children of God! Lord Krishna declared in the Bhagavad Gita, The eternal Atma in all beings is a part of My Being (Mamaivamsho jivaloke jivabhuta Sanathana).
Hence, we have to emulate the qualities of God and lead our lives accordingly. Only when you consider yourself as a part of Divinity will you become good citizens. On the other hand, if you take pride in yourself as the son of so and so, the brother of so and so, or the brother-in-law of so and so, etc., you will remain as such. You have to realise the truth that you are a part (amsa) of God, verily. Then only will you be able to understand the Atmic Principle (Atma Thathwa).
Embodiments of Love!
You are all good children! You are all golden children! But the environment in which you live is spoiling you to a certain extent. There is also the factor of the food you eat. If friends with whom you associate are good, they will speak good words with you. Otherwise, they will talk bad things and create bad thoughts in your mind. “Tell me your company, I shall tell you what you are”. Hence, associate with good friends.
Good company leads to detachment; Detachment makes one free from delusion;
Freedom from delusion leads to steadiness of mind;
Steadiness of mind confers liberation.
Nirmohatwe nischalatattwam, Nischalatattwe jivanmukti.
Do not make your life a ‘nuisance’, listening to the ‘nuisance’ words of others. Join good company and get a good name. “Be good, do good, see good”. Then only will you be able to realise Divinity.
Embodiments of Love!
You must lead your lives taking Rama’s life as your ideal.
Whenever someone asks you, “Where is God?”, your spontaneous reply should be, “God is immanent in me as the divine Atma.” You are verily that divine Atma. There is none other than Atma. That Atma is also referred to as consciousness.
Follow your conscience (antharatma). Keep away from bad thoughts. Don’t worry when you get such bad thoughts. They just come and go. Do not give importance to them. It is natural that when you are functioning in this objective world with your senses, bad thoughts trouble you.
There are six enemies to a human being in the form of desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and jealousy (kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, and matsarya). These six enemies will lead you into bad ways.
On the other hand, the five human values of truth, righteousness, peace, love, and nonviolence (sathya, dharma, santhi, prema, and ahimsa) are your good friends. Develop friendship with them.
If you make friendship with good people, you will be called “good boys”; otherwise, you are “bad boys”. Do not get a bad name for yourself. Get a good name for yourself and your parents. Your parents must be having high hopes for you. Hence, make them happy. The Veda exhorts you to revere your mother, father, preceptor, and guest as God (Matru Devo bhava, pitru Devo bhava, acharya Devo bhava, atithi Devo bhava).
Obey the commands of your parents. Only then will you become sacred and will your life be sanctified.