Love of God is true education

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Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourse
Dasara, Prasanthi Nilayam, 28 September 2006

Embodiments of Love!

People think worldly education is real education. This is not correct. Real education comes from the heart. Such an education is unwavering and lasting. Atma Vidya (knowledge of the Self) is the real education. Devoid of such atma vidya, what is the use of all your intelligence and education?

Contemplation on God grants divine bliss

The Gopis, though lacking in worldly education and intelligence were pure at heart and deeply devoted to Lord Krishna. The ladies in Repalle used to go to the house of Nanda and Yashoda every evening and light their oil lamps from the one kept in front of their house. That was the tradition in those days. Even now this practice is in vogue in some villages. The tradition had originated from the belief that if they lighted their lamp from that kept in the house of a wealthy householder, they would also become prosperous. Nevertheless, not all the mothers-in-law in Repalle would permit their daughters-in-law to go to the house of Yashoda for this purpose. They were afraid that if they were allowed to go and see Krishna there, they may out of their devotion get mad and run after Him. They, therefore, used to chide their daughters-in-law saying, “Can’t we light the lamp in our own house? Why should we get it from their house?” In spite of these restrictions, all the ladies used to gather near the village well and discuss about Lord Krishna only. Then a new bride of one of the houses arrived in the village. Her name was Suguna. She had heard a lot about the divine leelas of Lord Krishna. She developed a deep desire to have the darshan of Krishna, somehow. She did not reveal her desire to her husband or her mother-in-law. She kept it as a tightly guarded secret within herself. However, it is impossible to conceal the truth. The entire creation has originated from truth:

The 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.
(Telugu poem)

In spite of her keeping her desire as a closely guarded secret, it became known to all. One day, she went to the house of Yashoda and was lighting her lamp from that kept in front of their house. Suddenly, she could visualise Krishna in that flame. She lost her bodily consciousness in that divine experience and put her fingers in the burning flame. Her fingers were getting burnt, but, she had no body consciousness at all! Meanwhile, Yashoda came out smelling the burning finger. Immediately, she pulled out the hand of Suguna from the lamp and asked, “What is the matter with you girl? Are you asleep? Your fingers are burnt badly. Don’t you realise? Don’t you feel the pain?” Suguna then came to her senses and replied, “Mother! Lord Krishna gave me His darshan in that flame. I lost my body consciousness on seeing Him.” The other gopis heard her explanation. They were very happy to know about the divine experience of Suguna. They went round the village singing and dancing:

It seems our Suguna had
The vision of Krishna,
In the house of Nanda;
Krishna appeared to her
In the flame of the lamp.
(Telugu poem)

Thus, if you constantly contemplate on God, you can forget your sorrows and difficulties and experience divine bliss. Devotees, since ancient times, have experienced bliss by constant contemplation on God and shared their experiences with the world.

Today, intelligence has increased but educational standards have declined. Wherever you see, the students refer to newspapers and magazines from abroad. They do not however evince the same interest in their textbooks. They do not at all think about their own customs and traditions. Students in this modern age are accustomed to such false sense of values. They would like to engage themselves in discussion about all unnecessary things. For example, they discuss about novels making comments like “so and so author has written a book; how great it is!” They involve themselves in discussions and argumentation over such trivial matters. But, they forget about their lessons in the textbooks. Thus, they go on acquiring knowledge about all and sundry and try to increase their worldly knowledge. They do not have any concern for the glory of real education.

Our karmas are resoponsible for our happiness or sorrows

We should desist from aspiring for the fruits of our karma (action). The Gita exhorts us “Karmanyevadhikarasthe ma phaleshu kadachana” (you have right only on action, not on its fruit).

Man is born in action, sustained by action and ultimately merges in action. Action is the cause for pleasure and pain. Truly speaking, action is God for man. (Telugu poem)

The karmas (actions) that we perform are responsible for all the happiness and sorrow we experience. When we perform good deeds, we get good results. When we perform bad deeds, we get bad results. Good deeds will result only in good results and bad deeds in bad results. That is why it is said, “Do good, be good, see good; this is the way to God.” When you cultivate good thoughts and undertake good activities, you will experience good results. Therefore remember that the result of our own actions is responsible for all our sorrows and difficulties. All our elders have experienced peace and happiness by following our ancient traditions. But, today’s children gave up those good traditions, forgot the path shown by their elders and are exposed to various kinds of unrest due to modern education. They are not only exposed to unrest, but they do not also have contentment and satisfaction in life. With the result, they are becoming sick mentally and physically.

Man’s thoughts and resolutions are the root cause for his ill-health. For all the unrest and agitation he suffers, the gunas (qualities) are responsible. Hence, our thoughts must always be good. You may observe that a person taking good and sattwic food, drinking pure water and breathing unpolluted air is always healthy. In contrast, people consuming unsacred food, drinking impure water and inhaling polluted air are exposed to various kinds of diseases. The root cause of man’s ill-health today is unsacred food and impure water. All that we consume must always be pure and sacred. The Dasara celebrations are meant to foster good and noble qualities in us. We can always lead a happy life by taking a good bath, performing puja in our house, partaking of sanctified food and drinking pure water. If we follow this routine, our face will also be radiant. On the other hand, if we consume unsacred food, drink impure water and move about in a polluted atmosphere, there is the danger of forgetting our humanness even! In such a situation, we may lose our divine nature and acquire demonic qualities.

Several people wonder, “Swami is nearing 81 years, yet, his physical body does not reveal any signs of old age.” My answer to those people is: “My dear devotees! I am not taking unsacred food or breathing polluted air. I am breathing the air of prayers of the devotees. How then can I lose My divine effulgence?” I have no ailment of any kind. I have no pain at all! Sometime back, I fell down on the floor on account of an inadvertent error committed by a student. I broke My leg then. Hence, I feel a little difficulty in walking. That is all! There is another reason too! Nowadays I don’t feel like walking. Nevertheless, I am coming to Sai Kulwant Hall daily and giving darshan to the devotees. What difficulty or pain is involved in this routine? I do not have any pain or suffering. When I am able to make the devotees happy, I too will be happy. Sorrows, difficulties and pain are nowhere near Me. I am always happy and blissful. Bliss is My food. There is no greater happiness than My bliss. If for any reason I am unable to come out and give darshan to the devotees, I feel very sad: “Alas! How much the devotees are pining for My darshan! For how long they have been waiting in the hall! How much suffering they are undergoing?”, etc.

Sometimes I may be late in coming to Sai Kulwant Hall due to some urgent work. Still I do not miss giving darshan to the devotees. Hence, you should not feel that Swami has not come due to pain or suffering. I am revealing these facts to you today, so that you may not feel any distress because of My absence and always be happy and cheerful.

Be rooted in the atma tathwa

I expect that you should face difficulties boldly, reposing faith and devotion in God. If you constantly contemplate on God, no other thoughts will trouble you. Sorrows and difficulties will not affect you. I am always happy. You should also be happy always. Happiness is union with God. When you are associated with God, you will not feel any pain or suffering. You may have some physical pain or mental anxieties. But, you should ensure that they do not disturb your Atma Tattwa (the principle of the atma). If you are thus firmly established in the atma tathwa, nothing can bother you. This is the message of Navaratri. We encounter several difficulties, sorrow, pain, etc. We are mentally disturbed day in and day out due to several reasons. But, we should ignore them with a detached feeling, “They are not mine, they are somebody else’s.” They just come and go like passing clouds. As for Myself, I do not at all attach importance to them.

We should not think that someone else is putting us to all these difficulties. We should not blame others for our difficulties and suffering. Our sorrows and difficulties are of our own making. The Kauravas tried their best to cause suffering to the Pandavas. But, the Pandavas did not relent. What was the reason? It was only because of their unwavering faith and devotion to Lord Krishna. They felt that when Krishna Himself was constantly protecting them, any number of difficulties and obstacles could not cause any fear in them. Similarly, you also develop firm faith that Swami is always with you, in you and around you. Do not at all worry about these sorrows and difficulties. These are all like passing clouds. None of them can shadow the blazing sun. It is only during rainy season that the clouds come in the way of sun rays. Similarly, it is only when our mind is wavering and disturbed we suffer from sorrows and difficulties. When our mind is steady and firm, no ‘clouds’ can disturb us. Hence, keep your mind pure and steady. Develop courage and fortitude.

How does a man lead his life today? He is enacting his role in the cosmic drama, singing the songs of kama (desire) and krodha (anger) and playing games obsessed with mada (pride) and ahamkara (ego). Several people appreciate their acting as “very good”. But, some people are not carried away by this ‘acting’. Unconcerned with the reaction, reflection and resound of this drama, they repose their faith in ‘reality’. And that ‘reality’ is Divinity. Divinity is unwavering, invisible and beyond delusion. We must hold on to that ‘reality’, firmly. When we rely on such reality, our thoughts, words and actions will always be pure and sacred. Hence, Dear Students! You should not at all be afraid of these ‘passing clouds’. You should not be concerned with them. You perform your duty well. You fulfil the aspirations of your parents. Your parents have sent you here with great expectations. If you go against their wishes, you yourself can imagine how much they will feel. If you cause pain to your parents, it amounts to causing pain to Swami. Are you not praying daily.

Thwameva mathacha pitha Thwameva,
Thwameva bandhuscha sakha Thwameva,
Thwameva vidya dravinam thwameva

You alone are the father and mother, friend and relation, wisdom and wealth. (Sanskrit sloka)

There is no difference at all between God and parents. Hence, keep your parents happy. Swami is always happy. Establish that truth firmly in your heart. Then only can you be called true students.

Once, Hiranyakasipu called his son Prahlada close to him and enquired, “Dear son! I have placed you in the hands of the gurus. I requested them to teach you good things. What did they teach you?” Prahlada then replied,

Father! The teachers have taught Me many many things; I have understood the four objectives of life – Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), and Moksha (liberation). I have studied many things; In fact, I have understood the very essence of education. (Telugu poem)

Hiranyakasipu felt very happy at his son’s reply and told him, “Son! Please explain that secret of all education”. Prahlada then replied “Dear father! All that we see and experience in this world is unreal and impermanent. Only Divinity is real and true.” The father got angry. He held his son by his neck and pushed him down. He commanded his officers to throw him into the sea, saying, “a son who flouts the commands of his father does not deserve to be in my presence. Take him away and dump him in the sea, immediately.” Thereupon, the demons took Prahlada to the top of a hill and pushed him down into the sea. Even then, Prahlada chanted the name “Narayana! Narayana!” Lord vishnu then emerged from the sea and saved Prahlada from drowning. Hiranyakasipu noticed that Prahlada was still alive. He fretted and fumed with anger on seeing Prahlada. He then ordered him to be thrown into the fire. Immediately, the flames subsided. Even the fire was not willing to consume him. What is the inner meaning of this episode? Good people will always encounter problems from bad people. Nevertheless, the good people will not be affected by them. It is only the fruit-laden tree that receives stones. Similarly, good people will always face certain obstacles. However, one has to face such difficulties boldly reposing faith in God.

Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati represent thoughts, words and actions

Dear Students! You should obey the commands of your parents and God meticulously. Cultivate good behaviour. Then, everything will turn out to be good for you. Nothing will deter you. No difficulty will ever bother you. It is only to enable you to put such good thoughts into practice that goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped during these Dasara celebrations. Durga is not to be understood as a ferocious goddess. She is the goddess supreme who protects you.

Lakshmi is the embodiment of all wealth. Then, Saraswati is the goddess of speech. Good thoughts, good words and good actions (behaviour) represent the tathwa (nature) of these three goddesses. He who teaches good things to you is verily the embodiment of goddess Saraswati. He who teaches evil is verily a demon. Goddess Durga destroys only such demons. Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati are, in fact, not different from you. They are very much installed in your own heart. They exhort you to lead the life of a human being, since you are a human being. Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati are the three mothers to a human being.

You should treasure these good words in your heart and put them into action. Thereby you should come up in life and set an example to others. You should, by your example, spread the message to the world that Bharatiya Vidya is great. There are several people in the modern world imparting education that leads to evil ways. You should denounce such education. You should not go after it. You must enquire, “will it help to purify my heart or not.” If you feel it is not conducive to your progress, you must give it up immediately. It is only when you are able to satisfy your conscience that your life will be happy, peaceful and contented. Do namasmarana incessantly.