We light many candles with the flame of a single candle. But remember only a burning candle can light other candles. An unlit candle cannot light other unlit candles. Only one who has earned wisdom can enlighten others who are in ignorance. One who is himself unillumined cannot illumine others dwelling in the darkness, Maya. One must light his own lamp from the universal light of love and thence forward he can transmit illumination to all who seek and strive. All lamps shine alike since they are all sparks of the Param-Jyothi the Universal Luminosity, that is God.

Bhakti, to be effective, must be regularized through self-discipline; it should not be allowed to grow wild and untended. You rush forward to touch My feet or to prostrate before Me, ignoring the children, the aged and the sick, upon whom you fall when you press forward towards Me. Do not forget the Sai in those people, when you rush forward towards this Sai. The merit of all the hardship you underwent to see and hear this Sai is as good as canceled when you inflict pain on the Sai who resides in them. That plus and this minus add up to zero. In your frenzy to offer homage, you should not forget others who have been waiting long for the chance; you must provide facilities for their darshan.

If divinity is absent, everything is devilry. So teachers and students must have faith in God and boldly call on God. This will drive away the devilry that encompasses us. Of course, hesitation to address God is only superficial. During examinations, every student prays to the Almighty. When calamities happen when loss is sustained and when members of the family are struck by disease and are in mortal danger, people do pray to God ? Why, then, yield to false pride and refuse to acknowledge God. This is sheer hypocrisy.

Transmuting humanity into Divinity is the task allotted to man. Word, thought and deed are instruments for this unavoidable destiny. By unremitting practice, this has to be achieved. The priest in the temple has to ring the bell with the left hand and wave the camphor flame with the right hand : an exercise in manual coordination which comes only as a result of practice. A new priest will use both hands and shake the camphor plate. While the serpent has poison in its fangs and scorpion in its tail, man is capable of inflicting poison through his tongue, eyes, hand and mind. He has to overcome this acquired tendency and remind himself that he is 'Amrithasya Puthra' (the Child of Immortality), conferring sweet nectar and not death-dealing poison.

Man is endowed with many skills; he is offered many lives; he is shown many paths. The purpose of all these gifts is to develop in him the spirit of devotion and dedication and release him from the dual dribble of joy and grief. When man visualizes the Universe as God, its capacity to confer the dual experience disappears; he knows the Truth and is calm. God is One and One only; 'Ekam eve Adhivitiyam Brahma' ('One only, without a second - Brahmam', which is the immanent principle). So one must endeavor to know God, who is Truth.

There is none to question Me if I do not act; there is nothing I would lose if I do not engage in activity. Nor have I any great urge to be active. But, yet, you see Me very active. The reason is I must be doing something all the time, for your sake, as an example, as an inspiration, as a piece of training. Those who are leading must themselves follow; and those who command must themselves carry out what they expect others to do. I am engaged in activity so that you may learn to transmute every minute into a golden chance to enable you to move into Godhood.

If your circumstances do not allow you to partake in Sankeerthana (Bhajans), stay at home and sing the songs alone, in the silent cave of your heart. Do not do so,according to a fixed measure, so many times or so many songs at a sitting. The heart does not calculate in numbers.

I have come for the re-establishment of Dharma and so I always insist on people observing Dharma in all walks of life. Dharma is the inner voice of God. It is the conscience that has shaped itself as a result of centuries of experience and generations of ascetism and austerity; it is the voice of history, warning you against the branch of its command.

For treading the Bhaktimarga, one needs not scholarship, nor wealth, nor riches, nor ascetic rigors. Tell me what was the lineage of Valmiki, the wealth of Kuchela, the scholarship of Sabari, the age of Prahlada, the status of Gajaraja and the attainments of Vidura? - Prema was all they had and it was all they needed. The Grace of the Lord is as the Ocean, vast and limitless. By your Sadhana, your Japam, Dhyanam and systematic cultivation of virtue, this Grace is converted into clouds of Truth, and they rain on humanity as Prema showers, which collect and flow as the flood of Ananda back again into the Ocean of the Lord's Grace.

You have come here to learn and practice detachment. Get wet in the rain, while engaged in serving others. It does not matter, if death comes while serving. do not pause; if you are so determined, God will not allow it to approach you. You complain "Swami has not softened towards me". Well, melt His heart, yearn, show Him the warmth of a repentant heart and of a sympathetic heart anxious to alleviate distress. Through deep detachment, the craving for sensual pleasure must disappear. That will cleanse the Chitha or consciousness. God will then be reflected clear and the Reality can be recognized. This result in Peace and equanimity which is the highest bliss.

The wise will not give place in their hearts to covetousness and possessiveness. They know that there is a 'Kshetragna', who is the motivator of this 'Kshetra'; 'a knower of the field, who is the master of this field'. Vyasa, who collected the Vedas, composed the aphorisms that demarcate the Divine Principle (the Brahmasastram), and wrote the Mahabharatha, reputed to be the fifth Veda, could still not win mental peace. Those were intellectual feats, flights of poetry and philosophy but not flowers that blossomed from authentic experience.

Ideals must become higher and grander. Desires must become more and more selfless and sublime. Attachment must be transmuted into nobler and subtler emotions. The story will be gripping only, when there is steady development towards the denouncement. That is why one passes through the crucible of joy and grief and emerges all the purer and stronger for the experience. When a child's growth is stunted, it causes grief; when the growth is abnormal, it causes grief again.

Who am I ? Every one of you has to know that this question has to worry you sooner or later. And, everyone has to discover the answer. The senses, each specializing in one small field of cognition, are powerless to give the answer; they are at best very inadequate even in their own specialized provinces; there are sounds the ear cannot hear; there are colors the eye cannot take in and interpret to us; and tastes beyond the ken of the buds of the tongue. They are imperfect instruments for the study of the external world. How can they serve to teach us about the intangible, invisible, inner world of the self ? The Vedantic vision alone can reveal to you: "Anoraniyam mahatho maheemyam" - "the smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest".

Dharma is the road for individual and social progress in this world and through this world, to the next. It is external, basic and fundamental. The principles may not be altered or adjusted to suit personal whims or pressing problems that appear formidable to the eyes of some individuals or group of persons. It is like the mother who has to be accepted, not like the wife whom you can choose or discard.

If you can inquire deeply and reason fearlessly , you can appreciate the Indian point of view that, instead of seeking a lower standard of Ananda by feeding the senses, one can get lasting Ananda by training the mind to be ever in the eyes of the cosmic, the universal, the Lord as it is called, when you impose a Name and a Form upon it, to enclose it in your consciousness. Why does man get Ananda, when he contemplates the cosmic and the universal ? Because he himself is the cosmic, the universal.

For treading the Bhaktimarga, one needs not scholarship, nor wealth, nor riches, nor ascetic rigors. Tell me what was the lineage of Valmiki, the wealth of Kuchela, the scholarship of Sabari, the age of Prahlada, the status of Gajaraja and the attainments of Vidura? - Prema was all they had and it was all they needed. The Grace of the Lord is as the ocean, vast and limitless. By your Sadhana, your Japam, Dhyanam and systematic cultivation of virtue, this Grace is converted into clouds of Truth, and they rain on humanity as Prema showers, which collect and flow as the flood of Ananda back again into the ocean of the Lord's Grace.

All hearts are His Property. It is all His Domain, but just as the Zamindar sits only on a clean spot though the entire area may be his, the Lord will install himself only if the heart is cleansed. The Lord has said, "Mad bhaktha yathra Gaayanthe, tatra thishtaami Narada" "Where my devotees sing of Me, there I install Myself". I must tell you that you are luckier than men of previous generations. The accumulated merit of many previous births must have granted you this luck. You have got Me and it is your duty now to develop this relationship that you have achieved by sheer good fortune.

In four or five year's time, you will see Yogis and Maharishis and Munis crowding here and you may not have such chances of asking Me questions and getting the answer, of approaching Me and directly speaking to me. So, do not be like frogs around the lotus, be like the bees. Plantains and mangoes are kept, while yet green, in straw or dried grass or in a closed room so that the heat may make them ripe and tasty. The meditation on God gives you too the right temperature to ripen yourself and become sweet and tasty.

There are seven things that have to be fostered for the welfare of the World: the Cow, the Brahman-ward aspirant or the Brahmin, the Vedas, Chastity, Truth, Non-attachment and Dharma. All these are now fast declining and I have come to restore them in their pristine purity and strength. Do not think that this Sathya Sai Gita was composed by some Bhakta and that he reads it and explains it here. As he said, I am the inspirer and it is for your benefit that he has summarized My Teachings in this way. 'Ekam Sathyam Vimalam Achalam'. It is said that the One Truth is pure and unshakable.

There are now thousands and thousands of education institutions in the world. But, there is a great difference between the rest and those founded by Sathya Sai. The fundamental objectives of Sai institutions are humanity, adherence to discipline and application of what is learned in daily life. If what is learned is not put into practice, the student is like a cow that does not yield milk; a fruit lacking in taste, a book bereft of wisdom. It is not really man's task to stuff his head with transient knowledge and waste time in acquiring it. He should not engage in valueless activities and fritter away years of life. When man ruins himself thus, he descends to the level of the beast. When man uplifts himself, he ascends to the level of God.

You know from the experience of the Cauvery floods, neither status nor castes nor wealth nor even health can help unless you know the simple art of swimming. Need I say that crossing the ocean of Samsara, reaching the other shore of the sea of birth-death, is similarly possible only for those who know the art of spiritual Sadhana. Those who are trying to build the seaman community on a foundation of "Dhana", are building on sand; those who seek to build it on the rock of "Dharma", are the wise.

Dharma Moolam Idam Jagath. Dharma is the root of this world. Obey it and you are happy. The evil man is a coward, haunted by fear. He has no peace within himself. Respect for the parents who started you in life and brought you into this world, together with the vast and varied treasure of experience, is the first lesson that Dharma teaches. Gratitude is the spring which feeds that respect. It is a quality that is fast disappearing in the world today. Respect for the teacher, for the elders and for the wise is on the decline. That is why Dharma is fast disappearing and losing its hold.

Just as the body is the house you live in, the world is the body of God. An ant biting the little toe of your foot is able to draw your attention to the spot; and you react to the pain, making an effort to remove the tiny enemy. You must similarly feed the pain, misery or joy or elation whenever it is evinced in the entire land; you must make an effort to protect the land from the enemy, however remote the place may be where the enemy has presented himself. Be kin with all your kind. Expand your sympathies, serve others who stand in need, to the extent of your skill and resources. Do not fritter away your talents in profitless channels.

The entire epic Ramayana hinges on two women and two passions. Manthara representing Krodha (anger, resentment and vengeance) and Surpanaka representing Kama (lustful passion). Manthara plotted to send Rama into exile and Surpanaka caused the abduction of Sita and the destruction of the Rakshasas as a consequence. The two women are insignificant characters in the story; but the roles they play are key-roles, for they sparked off, by means of the passions they represented, strong chapters of pain and grief. Krodha and Kama are more destructive than atom bombs; but when Rama is installed in the heart, they just fizzle out.

See how the insufferable heat of the sun is controlled and modulated and reduced by your bodily mechanism to the congenial temperature of 98.4 degree F. So, you too should keep the destructive force of your elemental passions born out of the clamor Sabdha, Sparsa, Roopa, Rasa and Gandha rigorously in check and bring it down to tolerable levels, yielding comfort and congenial living. You yourselves create the Maya of which you are the slave. Deny it, a chance to lord over you; it will not harm you.

The most fundamental teaching of the ancient culture of India is Love. For generations, the youth of this land have been exhorted, encouraged and taught, by precept and example, to love the poor, the helpless, the handicapped, the illiterate and the disabled, for, the same spark of Divinity that is in us is also equally evident and active in them. Education must endow man with this compassion and this spirit of service - intelligent, timely and full. That is to say, education must not only inform but also transform.

The mind is like a boulder which the intellect transforms into an image, as a sculptor does. If the intellect allows the senses to dictate the design, the boulder will be shaped into a horrid idol. If, however, the senses are sublimated by the spirit, the image wrought by the intellect will be simply adorable. One must have the mind fully cooperating in the spiritual discipline and not obstructing its progress at every step. Liberation is the goal and the mind must help the pilgrim at every stage of his journey. The mind should not admit any activity that is contrary to Dharma or injurious to spiritual progress.

Om must be recited slowly and slowly with deliberation. The sound must be like an aircraft, first approaching from a distance from a spot where you are and then flying away again into the distance (soft at first but gradually becoming louder and louder and then slowly relapsing into silence, this silence after the experience being as significant as the Pranavas), 'U' is the zenith, the Kailas, reached by the sound in its adoration. 'A' is the initial nadir and 'M' the final.

You must realize that the Divine current that flows and functions in very living being is the one Universal Entity. When you desire to enter the Mansion of God, you are confronted by two closed doors - the desire to praise yourself and the desire to defame others. The doors are bolted by envy; and there is also the huge lock of egoism preventing entry; so if you are earnest, you have to resort to the key of Prema (Love) and open the locks, then remove the bolt and throw the doors wide open.

The day on which Jesus was born is a holy day. He announced himself as the Messenger of God. In fact, all humans are born as Messengers of God. The sole purpose of this human career is to propagate the Omnipresence of God, His Might and Glory. No one has incarnated for merely consuming food and catering to one's senses. Human life is much more precious than that. That is why the capacity to appreciate beauty, truth and goodness has been endowed only on man.

The Brahmin, when born, is just a Sudra; birth does not entitle him to take up the study of this mystery, even if the boy happens to be the son of a great Vedic scholar. It is only when he has been formally initiated by a special ceremony that he can start the study of sacred scriptures. The ceremony makes him a Brahmin; he is then born again into a sacred world of study and responsibility.

My Prema towards the Veda is equaled only by My Prema towards Humanity. My mission, remember is just four-fold; Vedaposhana, Vidwathposhana, Dharmarakshana and Bhaktharakshana. Spreading My Grace and My Power along these four directions, I establish Myself in the Center.

What profit is it for the children to know the length of the Mississippi River or the height of the Vesuvius? Why load them with information they may never require? On the other hand, give them the tonic to strengthen their spirit, the tonic of the Repetition of the Name of the Lord, the tonic of meditating on the Glory of God in the silence of the heart. Formerly, children were learning Rama Nama and the Aksharamala together: "Suddha Brahma Paraathpara Rama". They were taught to read and write. Now, they sing, "Ding dong bell, Pussy is in the well". This type of silly meaningless jargon is spreading everywhere like a poisonous infection, destroying the seeds of peace and joy.

Living becomes a glorious experience only when it is sweetened by tolerance and love. Willingness to compromise with others' ways of living and cooperation in common tasks make living happy and fruitful. Certain modes of behavior have been laid down and proved beneficial by centuries of practice. These have to be observed with modifications to suit the conditions of today. We are developing in each department of life, but it is a pity that we are not developing the unique qualities of human beings. Develop the Atmic awareness, the consciousness of the Divine and the acquisition of Divine attributes. Expand love and understanding.

My Prema towards the Veda is equaled only by My Prema towards Humanity. My mission, remember is just four-fold; Vedaposhana, Vidwathposhana, Dharmarakshana and Bhaktharakshana. Spreading My Grace and My Power along these four directions, I establish Myself in the Center.

Without mastery over the inner instruments of emotions, no man can be deemed to be educated. The latent has to be cleansed so that the patent can flourish. Experience is essential for the confirmation of consolidation of what is learnt from books. We do not see any sign in the present educational system. There is no attempt to awaken the Divine in man and awareness of the possibility of rising to the psychic plane.

Education must produce wisdom and moral character. It can be acquired only by hard living and spending days of toil, with no respite even for sleep. But present day education makes those who undergo it mere bonded-slaves to their senses. They do not know how to avoid this bondage, so they revel in envy, greed and egoism. What the country expects and demands from the educated person is, however, that he should set an example of honest labor and light the lamp of knowledge in every home.

Brahman is the cause and Prakrithi (Nature) the effect. Nature is the deluding manifestation of Brahman. It is what can be called Leelavibhuthi or an expression of Glory (Vibhuthi) done as more sport (Leela). When the Leela is perceived as apart from Brahman, it is a false and incomplete perception. The Leela is manifold, Brahman is all. To discover the One in the many is the purpose of human existence. Brahmam is eternal. It is the Nithyavibhuthi, the everlasting splendor. It is named the Kingdom of God. Leelavibhuthi is Prakrithi or Maya or Avidya or nature with deluding, deceptive diversities.

Spiritual health is preserved and promoted by attention to three Gunas: Sathvika, Rajas, and Thamas. Health is preserved and promoted by attention to three humors: Vatha (wind) Pitha (bile) and Kapha (phlegm). Thri-dosha has to be avoided, that is to say, the three humors must not get vitiated or unbalanced. A healthy body is the best container for a healthy mind, illness makes the mind agitated and anxious. The material and the spiritual are the two pans in the balance. They have to be attended to, in equal measure, at least until a certain stage of progress is attained in spiritual development.

We find individuals and groups trudging to Badrinath, Kedarnath and Haridwar in search of peace and prosperity. They also go to Tirupathi and Kaashi. Have they jettisoned even a few of their animal propensities ? That is the test; that is the justification for the money and time they have spent and the troubles they have undergone. When the animal is conquered and Godhead is felt within reach, man can assert that all this pilgrimages are within him. He has no need to travel from temple to temple. And without achieving this victory, you have no right to claim that you are a devotee of Rama or Krishna or of another incarnation of the Lord.

The human body has been given to you for a grand purpose: realizing the Lord within. If you have a fully equipped car in good running condition, would you keep it in the garage ? The car is primarily for going on a journey, to get into it and go. Then only it is worthwhile to own it. So too, with the body, proceed and go forward to the goal. Learn how to use the faculties of the body, the senses, the intellect, and the mind for achieving the goal and march on.

Man must proceed ever towards 'Balam' strength; he should not take to untruth, wickedness and crookedness, all of which denote the fundamental fatal trait of cowardice, 'Balaheenam'. 'Balaheenam' is born of accepting as true a lower image of yourself than what the facts warrant. You believe you are the husk. But really you are the kernel. That is the main mistake. All Sadhana must be directed to the removal of the husk and the revelation of the kernel. So long as you say 'I am', there is bound to be fear, but once you say and feel 'I am Brahmam', 'Aham Brahmasmi', you get unconquerable strength.

I want that you should all build new houses for happy living and install the Lord therein. I do not mean houses of brick and mortar, but houses of good thoughts, good words, good deeds and good company, where you could live calm and collected. Invite Me for the Gruhapravesam of such houses and I shall most readily agree. In fact then, the house is Mine already and I do not need even an invitation to come and enter it. These houses are for worldly comfort; that house is for spiritual joy. And My place of Residence is the pure aspiring heart.

You are going about temple, where God is the innermost shrine. The body is not a mass of flesh and bone. It is a medicine for Manthras - Manthras which save when they are meditated upon. It is a sacred instrument, earned after long ages of struggle, equipped with reason and emotion, capable of being used for deliverance from grief and evil. Honor it as such; keep it in good condition, so that it might serve that high purpose; maintain it even more carefully than these brick-houses and always preserve the conviction that it is an instrument and nothing more. Use it for just the purpose for which it has been designed and given.

It is urgent that every one should inquire into the true, the pure and the permanent; for, there is present a delusion about values. Even the leaders of peoples are hugging the false hypothesis that happiness can be got by means of wealth or health, or housing, or clothing or the cultivation of skills in handicraft and manufacture. The bird sits upon the bough that sways in the storm, confident of its wings, not confident of the bough on which it sits. So, you too should feel strong because of the wings, the wings of Sraddha and Bhakti not because of the bough of the objective World on which you have perched.

You know from the experience of the Cauvery floods, neither status, nor castes nor wealth nor even health can help unless you know the simple art of swimming. Need I say that crossing the ocean of Samsara, reaching the other shore of the sea of Birth-Death, is similarly possible only for those who know the art of Spiritual Sadhana. Those who are trying to build the seaman community on a foundation of 'Dhana', are building on sand; those who seek to build it on the rock of 'Dharma' are the wise.

The six enemies of man are eating into his vitals, embedded in his own inner consciousness. They are the demons to be killed. They are Kama (Lust), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Greed) , Moha (Attachment), Mada (Pride) and Matsarya (Malice). They reduce man to the level of a demon. They have to be overpowered and transmuted, by the supreme alchemy of the Divine urge. Then the nine nights of struggle will become a new type of night devoted to the purification of the mind and the illumination of the soul, the night described in the Gita as 'the Day of the Worldly'. What is clear and attractive to the ordinary man is uninteresting and unknown to the worldly man. This is the nature of the topsy-turvy world.

In the past Ages, Avatars rid the world of evil, by destroying the few fanatics and heroes who wrought it. But, now, fanaticism and felony reign in every heart. The number of Asuras or evil men is legion. All are wicked to some extent or other. Therefore every one needs correction; and every one has to be educated and guided into the right path. Every being is a pilgrim destined to reach Madhava and merge in Him; but most people have forgotten the road; they wander like lost children, wasting precious time in the bypass.

You cannot have this chance of the nearness of the greatest of all sources of joy in any other place. Here it is so near, so easy to attain and so full of grace. If you fall back, you will seldom get the chance again. Ask and get what will save you, not what will bind you. You ask from Me a thousand things of the world, but rarely do you ask for 'Me'. That is why I seldom address you as Bhaktas; I usually address you as 'Divyatma Swarupulaara', for that is your real Swarupa. This Divyatman is Divinity. Though you do not know it, it is a fact. Therefore, I can address you so, with confidence.

Kurukshetra must be made a Dharmakshetra. Kurukshetra is the field where brothers fought over a handful of earth; but it must be made a field for the uplift of man through the practice of Dharma. It is for the sake of Jnana that Dharma has been laid down. Bhakti and Karma are the two feet; and the head is Jnana; walk on with the help of this two.

[Source: Thought for the Day, a collection of Swami's Quotations published from Prashanthi Nilayam]

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