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Date:1 Sep 2000 Occasion:Ganesh Chaturthi Place:Prashanti Nilayam

Way to God Realization

If money is lost, one need not be worried about it, for one can earn it again.
If a friend is lost, one can have another.
If wife is lost, one can marry again.
If one loses one's piece of land, one can purchase another.
All these can be regained; but if body is lost, one cannot 'get it back.
(Sanskrit Verse)

In this physical, transient world, everything comes and goes. The wealth that man acquires, the friends that he comes across are bound to leave him one day or the other. Likewise, he is bound to lose the body, which cannot be regained once it is lost. Man should realize this truth and sanctify his life by cultivating human values while the body lasts. "Worldly life is temporary. Wealth and youth are momentary, so too are wife and children. Only truth and righteousness are eternal." (Sanskrit Verse)

Embodiments of Love!

Man should adhere to truth and righteousness, which follow him in all the births and in all the worlds. The essence of all Puranas, Vedas and Upanishads is this: Sathyam Vada, Dharmam Chara (speak the Truth and practice righteousness). But man is forgetting the twin principles of Truth and righteousness and in the process is forgetting his own divine nature. It is impossible to experience Divinity without cultivating human values. Having been born as a human being, man's foremost duty is to cultivate human values. Otherwise his life will become meaningless. What is the purpose of human life? Is it only to eat, sleep and indulge in pleasures like birds and beasts? No. Man is born to set an ideal to the rest of the world. Uddareth Atmanaatmaanam, says the Gita. Man should redeem himself and also the fellow human beings. This is the spiritual knowledge that Ganapathi imparts. The name Ganapathi has many inner meanings. Ganapathi is the master of all Ganas (gods) and Sadgunas (virtues). 'Ga' stands for Buddhi (intellect) and 'Na' for Vijnana (wisdom). So, Ganapathi is the master of Buddhi and Vijnana. He is the master of Suraloka (heaven). Ganapathi has no master above Him. Being the master of all, He teaches the qualities of leadership. Ganapathi is worshipped and extolled not only now, but also during Vedic times. The Rig Veda and the Taittiriya Upanishad also make a mention of Ganapathi.

Divinity shines forth in every man and teaches him the proper path. But man is ruining his life, not paying heed to the prompting of divinity within. He is suffering from lack of peace as he is ignoring humanness in pursuit of physical and ephemeral things. Excellence in worldly education, acquisitions of worldly powers are not the things that man is supposed to achieve in life. These correspond to Pravritti Marga (outward path). All that is related to Pravritti is transient. One should follow the Nivritti Marga (inward path), experience the joy and share it with others. Nothing is permanent in this world.

The body is made up of five elements and is bound to perish one day or the other, but the indweller has neither birth nor death. He has no attachment and no bondage. Truly speaking, the indweller is God Himself. (Telugu Poem)

But man wastes his time as he considers the body as permanent and ignores the indweller. Time is the most precious gift of God, but man does not realize the value of time. He wastes three-fourths of his time in vain pursuits. How can such a person redeem his life? To sanctify the Kaya (body), one has to make proper use of Kala (time). The Upanishads, the Vedas and the Puranas have attached utmost value to humanness. Man studies the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas. But has he been able to understand the value of their teachings and put them into practice? Mere study of sacred texts is futile unless their teachings are put into practice.

On this day of Vinayaka Chathurthi, it is the practice of Bharatiyas to prepare delicacies, which are steam-cooked with no oil content and offer them to Vinayaka. These offerings are unique and special. Til seeds, rice flour and jaggery are mixed, made into balls, boiled in steam and offered to Lord Vinayaka. You should enquire into the purpose of making such an offering. These steam-cooked offerings (modaka) are good for the eyes and are beneficial to people suffering from Asthma and Eosinophilia. These offerings are meant to improve health and confer happiness on man. They are not to be treated as mere ritualistic practices. All that is related to God has a sacred inner meaning. Man, unable to understand this truth, treats everything in the worldly perspective.

Man is endowed with Pasu Lakshanas (animal qualities) as well as Pasupathi Lakshanas (divine qualities). Pasu Lakshanas originates from the head. Worldly education and intelligence are related to the head. The scientists make use of their intelligence to study things, which are related to the world. This corresponds to Pravritti Marga. Virtues like love, compassion, forbearance, which correspond to Nivritti Marga, originate from the heart. Today man wants to be intelligent, not virtuous. Anityam Asukham Lokam Imam Prapya Bhajasva Maam (as the world is temporary and is full of misery, by ceaseless contemplation on God attain divinity). Give up Pravritti and take to Nivritti. Only then can you redeem yourself. Today we find elders teaching the children matters that are related to Pravritti, not Nivritti. Right from a tiny tot to a decrepit old man, everyone is interested in Pravritti. But is there any one who could experience peace in life by treading along the path of Pravritti? How can one attain peace? Where is peace? "Keeping an atom bomb in hand, people give lectures on the need for peace. Such people may be able to reach the moon, but can never attain peace and happiness." There is no need to search for peace in the external world. All that you get in the external world is only restlessness. Peace is within you. It is your form. Try to manifest it from within.

Embodiments of Love!

There is no power greater than the power of love. You can attain peace by cultivating love. Peace is your birthright. Worldly peace is no peace at all. The inner peace alone is pure, unsullied, eternal and immortal. Lord Ganapathi is the one who confers such inner peace. How can one attain peace if one does not make proper use of time? The foremost duty of man is to utilize the time in a sacred manner. Today man is wasting a lot of time in vain gossip and talking ill of others. The Atmic principle that exists in you also exists in people whom you consider as others. Understand that all are sparks of the Divine. Isavaasyam Idam Jagat (consider the whole world as the manifestation of God). Deho Devalaya Prokto Jeevo Deva Sanathana (body is the temple and the indweller is God). It is not a healthy practice to show partiality towards somebody you like. Do not give scope for such differences. Treat everyone alike. Understand that Divinity is one. Ekatma Sarvabhutaantaratma (the same Atma is the indweller in all beings). Once you understand this truth, you will lead your life with peace and happiness.

Today devotees from Bangalore have brought 750 idols of Lord Ganapathi to offer worship, as this year happens to be the commencement of the 75th year of Swami's physical body. One may bring 750 idols or 7 crores of idols, but Ganapathi is only one. No benefit accrues from offering worship to a number of Ganapathi idols without purity of heart. It is enough if you offer worship to one Ganapathi idol with the feeling of oneness. What is the purpose of doing Pujas and Vratas (austerities)? These rituals are prescribed to cultivate purity of heart. Chittasya Shuddaye Karmaha (the objective of actions is to purify the heart). All the nine paths of devotion, namely, Sravanam (listening), Kirtanam (singing), Vishnusmaranam (contemplating on Vishnu), Padasevanam (serving the Lotus Feet), Archanam (worship), Vandanam (salutation), Daasyam (servitude), Sneham (friendship), Atmanivedanam (Self-surrender) are meant to confer purity of heart. Sweets like Mysore Pak, Gulab Jamoon, Burfi, etc., vary in name and form, but the sugar present in them is one and the same. Likewise, the principle of love is the undercurrent of all the paths of devotion. So, spend your life with love and end your life with love. This is the true spiritual practice.

One should offer salutations to the Karma (action) before undertaking it. A driver before taking his seat, offers salutations to the steering wheel. A dancer pays obeisance to her anklets before she wears them and starts her dance performance. A scholar pays his respects to the Bhagavad Gita book before reading it. The purpose of offering prayer to the Karma is to see that it yields good results. This is the teaching of ancient culture. You should offer the Karma and its fruits to God before undertaking it. We find an illiterate lorry driver paying obeisance to the work he does, but not a scientist who is endowed with knowledge. Ego is the main cause for this. Such a scientist who considers himself to be one of wisdom is actually one of ignorance. Just as our shadow follows us, ignorance follows one who is bloated with ego. Human life is a combination of wisdom and ignorance. It is a big mistake to consider yourself one of wisdom. Ignorance follows you like a shadow in all that you do. In order to get rid of this ignorance, you should consider the whole world as the manifestation of Vishnu (Saryam Vishnumayam Jagat). There is nothing in this world which is not divine. On this basis, Thyagaraja sang, "O Rama, right from a Cheema (ant) to Brahma (cosmos), you are present everywhere." How can one forget such an all pervasive God?

Embodiments of Love!

Consider every day as a sacred day. You do not need to wait for Vinayaka Chathurthi or Navaratri to worship God. Consider every moment as divine and make proper use of it. People do Bhajans without understanding their significance. Instead of focusing their attention on God, they are bothered too much about the tune and the rhythm. No doubt, tune and rhythm are also essential in Bhajans. But once you fill your heart with Divine love, the tune and the rhythm will automatically be taken care of. If you concentrate too much on the tune and the rhythm, you will not be able to think of God. Just as the iron ball cast in fire becomes one with it, your mind should become one with God. Water cannot be separated from milk; likewise, your mind should get merged in God. You should not think that you are separate from God. One who realizes such a principle of unity is a true human being. Do not limit worship of God to festival days alone. Each and every moment should be spent in the contemplation of God. You may think, "If every moment is spent in the contemplation of God, how is it possible to do our work?" Do not distinguish between your work and God's work. Your work is God's work because you are God. It is a mistake to think that all that you do in the prayer hall is God's work and outside it is your work. You should not entertain such feelings of separateness. Consider that your heart is the altar of God and turn your vision inward. One who understands this truth and acts accordingly is a true human being.

You think that you love your family and friends, but that cannot be called love in the true sense of the term. That is only attachment. Love towards God alone is tree love. If you call yourself a devotee of Swami, act according to Swami's expectation. Do not count the number of bags or rice and the number of Saris and Dhotis that you have given away in charity to the poor. You may submit such account to the Income Tax Department, not to God. God wants quality, not quantity. He sees the feeling behind your acts of charity. Even a small act of charity will assume mighty proportions in the eyes of God, if it is done with purity of heart. One teaspoonful of cow's milk is useful, why barrels of donkeys' milk? God is pleased even if you offer a teaspoonful of milk with love. God always observes your feelings. God's valuation is always perfect, none can match God in this respect.

Students worship Vinayaka expecting high marks in the examination. They want to become highly qualified and attain great reputation. But they do not aspire for good conduct and good behavior. They should cultivate qualities, which are dear to God. Before undertaking any task, enquire whether it is pleasing unto God. You are bound to attain success if God is satisfied with your actions. Do not go by your own likes and dislikes. Conduct yourself in accordance with God's wish. Eschew selfishness and self-interest. Cultivate sacredness and steadfastness. This is the teaching of Lord Ganapathi. Ganapathi confers on you Buddhi (intellect) and Siddhi (success). One can attain Siddhi only when one has good Buddhi. You have to love God wholeheartedly and offer Him all that you do. Then even a simple task done looks significant.

In this land of Bharat, the deity Ganapathi is highly venerated. Such a phenomenon is not found anywhere else in the world. Ganesha shines forth in every heart. Who is Bhagavan (God)? 'Bha' means effulgence. ' Bha' means the one who is in control. Having such a self effulgent God in your heart, why should you search for Him outside? Look into your hearts.

Students! Boys and Girls!

Divinity can be attained only through pure and selfless love. No need to chant a hundred and eight names or a thousand and eight names. Alt these are sterile activities. Service alone is fruitful. Penance, pilgrimage, learning of the Sastras or endless chanting, none of these are of any use in the crossing of the ocean of Samsara without true service to the pious. Service to any fellow being is equivalent to worship of God. If you find someone in distress, try to help him first before attending your work in the office or elsewhere. A small example: A boy from Delhi listens to Swami's teachings carefully. One day while on his way to the college to write exams, which were to begin at 8 A.M., he found a poor man suffering from some sickness. He helped him up, took him to hospital and had him admitted. By the time it was 10A.M. He decided that it was too late for the exam. He thought, well this was a test on my conduct by Swami Himself. He was actually happy. He had no regrets that he missed the exams. He came to Me and said, "Swami, one paper is gone, I will not pass this year. But well, next year is always there. I have no regrets for I have passed in Your test." I told him, "Don't worry, you have passed in your test also." Next month, the results were out. He had secured a first class. Your mind is your witness. The boy did not bother for the loss of his examination because he had done a noble act of service to a poor man. He thought that he had failed in the worldly test, but he had gone through successfully in the test of God. There are many students like this who would put service before self. When you have this attitude in all your affairs, you will never fail. Whatever you do, must be done wholeheartedly. This is the way to God realization.

There are many people who consider worship as important. They disregard work in the process. This is not a sensible attitude. Worship is important, of course. What is worship? Offering of various kinds of flowers to the image of God is not worship in the real sense. You should offer the flower of your heart to God. That is why I told you before, "Offer to Lord the flowers of nonviolence and sense control, compassion on all creatures, forbearance and peace, penance, meditation and truth above all. These are the flowers dear to the Lord." The best flower of all is forbearance. The possession of this flower made Dharmaja go through all his travails with tranquillity. His wife was humiliated in public. Everyone was looking down upon them. But Dharmaja was unaffected. Whatever is to happen is bound to happen at the appropriate time and place. One has to take all that comes one's way. Thinking on these lines, Dharmaja closed his eyes and meditated on Krishna. But Bhima was boiling with anger. He said, "Brother, enough of this Dharma of yours. Now, leave it to ours and see what happens." Dharmaja replied, "My dear Bhima, do not talk about your Dharma and my Dharma. Dharma is one. The course of action, which satisfies the conscience, is the Dharma to follow." Bhima said, "When your wife is being humiliated in public, you quietly closed your eyes? I shall tear them to pieces." But Dharmaja pacified him. The Pandavas had such complete trust in Dharmaja that ultimately they won." When Aswatthama killed the sons of Draupadi, Arjuna became very furious. He caught hold of Aswatthama, tied his hands and feet, brought him before Draupadi and told her, "Here is the villain who killed your sons. I shall cut him to pieces. You can anoint your hair with his blood." Draupadi pacified Arjuna saying,

"The one who is afraid, the one who has lost his courage, the one who is in deep sleep, the one who is dead drunk, the one who has lost himself, the one who has surrendered or women - O Arjuna, it is not proper to kill such a one." (Telugu Poem)

She thus stayed the hand of Arjuna and on the other hand, fell at the feet of Aswatthama and asked him, "It is at the feet of your father, Dronacharya that my husbands have learnt all that they know. Being the son of Dronacharya, was it proper for you to kill their children. How could you bring yourself to kill them, who were unarmed, young, quietly asleep, not having grudge against you, not contemplating any harm to you." (Telugu Poem). Thus she upbraided Aswatthama. But she was calm all the while. Such an attitude of calmness often solves many difficult situations. You should hold your peace under the most trying circumstances. Under any provocation, you should not contemplate causing harm to anyone. Draupadi asked Arjuna, "If you kill Aswatthama, will not his mother suffer the same pangs of sorrow as I suffer now?." In spite of that Bhima was still bent upon killing Aswatthama. So high was his anger. He said,

"This Draupadi is a stupid woman, for she pleads
For this wretch' s freedom.
She feels no anger for this murderer of her sons.
This assassin Aswatthama is not a Brahmin.
Do not release him but kill him.
If you do not do that, I myself will hammer his head
With my powerful fist, for you to see" (Telugu Poem)

But Draupadi prevailed upon in her pleadings and saved Aswatthama. Such was the nobility of character of the women of those days. Women are by nature forgiving. There were many women of fortitude, forbearance and purity in this country. It is only due to that India still holds its head high in spirituality.

Forbearance and forgiveness are qualities to be fostered in all individuals. You must be able to forgive even your enemies. This day consecrated to Ganapathi teaches us forgiveness, love, and makes us realize Divinity and enjoy bliss.

[Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, "Hari Bhajan Bina Sukha Santhi Nahi..."]