Bhakti involves dedication, with nothing held back; not even a wisp of ego should remain. His command alone counts; His will prevails. Like a drunkard, the Bhakta has no sense of honor or decency, pride or conceit. He is a Matha, as Unmatha, a mad person unconcerned with all that is unrelated to his ideal. He is deaf to the call of hunger and thirst; he misses steps in logic and he calculates wrongly while dealing in the marketplace.

When the heart is pure, the Lord is revealed, He is the judge. He cannot be bamboozled. The doctor may assure you that you have no fever, but the thermometer cannot lie. The doctor may say so in order to save you from panic, but the thermometer declares the truth. God knows and God will deal with you as you deserve. Have that faith. Repent for all the wrongs done and resolve not to repeat the mistake; then God will extend His grace.

Good ideas have to be accepted and bad ones eschewed. Each idea has to be judged in the Supreme Court of Viveka (Intellect). And the ruling has to be treated as inviolable. It is in this context that we have to remind ourselves of the prayer of Gandhiji; 'Sabko Sanmathi de Bhagavan', 'O, God bestow the right understanding on all'.

You are the citizens of no mean land. Bharath is indeed a Divya Bhoomi: a land saturated since the ages with devotion and dedication to God, the path to God was sought for by even the common folk; and spiritual discipline permeated every activity of life and every detail of daily life. You are the inheritor of a great culture, which has survived the onslaughts of alien rule and political suppression.

Is the universe real ? Is it relatively unreal ? This problem has been agitating man since ages in all lands. The realists and the idealists have argued on their explanations for centuries. The scientists or realists believe that the Universe is a conglomeration of atoms in varying patterns which have assumed manifold forms and names. But this is only partially true. The Vijnana Vedins (the spiritually oriented) point out to the Dhoatik Vedins (the materially oriented) that a firm base is essential for all these transformations to happen. The Universe must have a basic force or energy or phenomenon as basic as clay is to the pot. That fundamental principle is, according to them, the Atma.

The human body is a temple-chariot; the Atman is installed therein and is dragged by emotions, impulses, passions and urges, along the streets of desire. Success and failure, joy and grief, gain and loss, are the dancers who accompany the procession of life. Here, too, many pour their attention only on the chariot, its height, its decoration and its progress. Many others are concerned with the dance of durabilities the pain and pleasure due to that is part of the procession. Few pay attention to the Atman, the crown and consummation of human existence.

Why is man so pathetically afflicted today with fear and anxiety ? Are we to search for the reason outside us or do they live within us ? The reason lies in the false emphasis we have laid on things of the material world, ignoring things of the spirit. The body that man bears is essentially the receptacle of God. It is a temple where God is installed and where God is the Master. It does not deserve all the attention you know pay to fulfill its whims. It is equipped with very valuable instruments which can help you in the journey but which you seldom use.

Many are affected by the problem of what caused the Cosmos. How did it come into being ? They advance various theories and lay down many opposing hypotheses. But there is no need for seekers to beat about the bush so much. Just as a dream results when one is cut off from reality in a state of sleep, the Cosmos is a result of being cut off from Reality, by Maya, in a state of ignorance. It is difficult to discover laws that explain or govern its infinite mysteries.

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.

Good deeds, like Puja, Japam, Dhyanam, the observance of vow etc., are 'steps'. Good thoughts, like prayer for greater discrimination and more chance to help others, also help. They slowly and steadily cleanse the mind, sharpen the intellect, purify the senses and win grace.

The Lord is described in the Purusha Suktha as "thousand-headed". It does not mean that He has just a thousand heads, no more, no less. It means that "the thousand of heads - before Me - now have just one heart, which gives life and energy to all and that heart is the Lord". No one is separate from his neighbor. All are bound by the one life-blood that flows through the countless bodies. This is the special teaching of Sanathana Dharma, which the World needs.

The Lord has endowed man with the body, and so, every limb and every sense is worthy of reverent attention. Each must be used for His Glory. The ear must exult when it gets a chance to hear the wonderful tales of God. The tongue must exult when it can praise Him. Or else, the tongue of man is as ineffective as that of frogs which croak day and night sitting on the marshy bank.

You must devote sometime regularly for study and for Sadhana. Now you are wasting time till late at night, in clubs and frivolous company. A portion of that time, if spent with God, can confer valuable results. This Motherland has given you a culture that is attracting distracted people from all parts of the world. Be grateful, study the culture and practice the disciplines it lays down. Serve the poor and the helpless and those who eke out their livelihood by hard work.

Today, we have factions everywhere at home between husband and wife, in the school between teacher and the pupil and in society between group and group. This is deterioration indeed. Peace and harmony between members of the same family are the foundation for peace in the land. The individual must be at peace with himself. The coordinated effort of all the organs of the body is essential for a healthy life.

Before every Incarnation, two collaborators for the task on which the incarnation comes, also appear Mayasakthi and Yogasakthi. Maya comes, as the elder sister, to warn the wicked; Yoga comes, as the elder brother, to enthuse and keep constant company. Maya thrusts Kama deeper and deeper into perdition, so that his downfall will be more terrible.

When some one sitting near you is immersed in sorrow, can you be happy ? No, it may be that a baby weeps within hearing, most pathetically. You will get tears in your eyes in sympathy. Why ? There is an unseen bond between the two. Man alone has the quality of sympathy. He alone can be happy when others are happy, and miserable when others are miserable. That is why he is the paragon of creation and the acme of animal advance. Man alone is capable of seva; that is his special glory and unique skill.

The only Message, the only lesson I can impart to you today is to remind you of the great traditions of Bharath and ask you to spread Love throughout the length and breadth of this great Land. Then India can again be the spiritual leader of humanity and fill the whole World with Divine Love.

Feel happy that this is your mother country; love of the country is the basis on which you can build love for the world community. Love expands; it does not limit itself to boundaries. Love your mother-tongue; then you will discover that all languages are as sweet as yours, for, a language is as sweet as the tongues of the speakers.

Strive to move away from Untruth towards Truth; attempt to acquire knowledge of yourself and of the origin of all selves and thus shed your fundamental ignorance. Move away from the thoughts and anxieties about this body subject to decay and death, and become aware of the immortal soul, which you really are.

Who is the real resident of the body ? You are the positive aspect that is activating the negative aspect, the body. The life-breath repeats Soham, everytime you breathe. It means: "I am He, I am God"! What a profound authentic declaration the breath is making every moment of your life while waking, dreaming or in a deep sleep, whether you listen to it or not! If this simple lesson, this Truth which is being dinned all the twenty-four hours of the day, does not alert you or inform you of your real task, how can you understand your reality by the mere study of books.

Do not get involved with borrowed ideologies, imported fashions or attitudes or apparels and exciting notions social behaviour. Youth, today is ruined by this fascination for the false. Borrowed ideas cannot fit into the pattern of our culture. Sanathana Dharma is the culture that has grown on this soil and is best suited to maintaining peace and joys. You cannot shine in borrowed feathers for long. They can give only temporary delight. So, do not distort or disfigure your culture by limitation or neglect.

I am neither a Sastravadin nor a Budhivadin. I am a Premavadin. So I have no conflict with either the scholar who adheres to texts or the devotee of reason. Both have their good points as well as their limitations. If you acquire Prema, then you can dispense with the Shastras, for the purpose of all the Shastras is just that: to create the feeling of 'Sarvajnana Samaanaprema' equal love for all; and to negate egoism which stands in the way.

Pilgrimages too are for elevating the heart, sublimating the impulses and leading the lower self to higher levels of thought and action. Reason serves the same purpose, or at least, it ought to. Reason seeks to know the unity of the universe, the origin and goal of all it all, the laws that govern the anu and brhath, the microcosm and the macrocosm, and it peeps behind the over-recording curtain to get a glimpse of the 'Suthradhara', who pulls the strings.

Just as you tend the body with food and drink at regular intervals, you must also tend to the needs of the inner Atmic body by regular Japam and Dhyanam and the cultivation of virtues. Sathsanga, Sath Pravarthana and Sath-Chinthana are all essential for the growth and the health of the inner personality. The body is the Bhavanam of the Bhavaneswara, His Bhuvanam. In so far as you are particular about coffee or tea at regular intervals, be also particular about Dhyanam and Japam at fixed times for the health and liveliness of the spirit.

It is here in India that there is a mine of Spiritual Wisdom and Spiritual Treasure. The Dharsanas, Upanishads and Gita and the Vedas have to be distributed, pure and unsullied, guaranteed in value and quality, to eager aspirants everywhere. We have had a succession of Sages and Saints. On account of the teachings and the lives of these people, there is a vast field of Spiritual virtue in this Land, which needs only a little more care to yield a rich harvest.

You must each one try to become ego-less; and then the Lord will accept you as His Flute. Once when a number of people were asked by Me what they would like to be in the hands of God, I got various answers. Some said the Lotus; some the Sankha; some the Chakra; but no one mentioned the Murali. I would advise you to become the Murali, for the Lord will come to you, pick you up, put you His lips and breathe through you and, out of the hollowness of your heart due to the utter absence of egoism that you have developed. He will create captivating music for all creation to enjoy.

It is only when attachment increases that you suffer pain and grief. If you look upon nature and all created objects with the insight derived from the inner-vision, then attachment will slide away, though the effort will remain. You will also see everything much clearer and with a glory suffused with Divinity and splendour. Close these eyes and open those inner eyes and what a grand picture of essential unity you get. Attachment to nature has limits but the attachment to the Lord that you develop when the inner eye opens has no limit. Enjoy that reality, not this false picture. The Lord is the immanent power in everything.

You have to carry on certain processes of thought and action in order to get to the hard core of faith that this world is a funny mixture of Sathya and Asathya, that is Mithya in fact. The Divine Life does not admit of the slightest dross in character or delusion in intellect. So people dedicated to it, must emphasise this by precept and example. Wipe out the root-causes of anxiety, fear and ignorance. Then only can the true personality of man shine forth. Anxiety is removed by faith in the Lord; the faith, that tells you that whatever happens is for the best and that the Lord's will be done.

You are all Sath-Chith-Ananda Swarupas; only, you are unaware of it and imagine yourself to be this individual or that, and subjected to this limitation or that! This is the myth that must be exploded in order that Divine Life may start. It is the Divine that inspires, activates, leads and fulfils the life of each being, however simple or complex its physical structure may be. From the 'Anu' to the 'Brahath', every single entity is moving towards the estuary where it merges in the sea of Bliss.

The Guru has very often to tell you that you have forgotten your real name or that you have lost the most precious part of yourself and yet are unaware of the loss. The Guru is the physician for the illness which brings about the suffering of alternate birth and death. He is an adept at the treatment needed for the cure. If you do not get such a Guru, pray to the Lord Himself to show you the way and He will surely come to your rescue.

When the sun is over your head, there will be no shadow; similarly, when faith is steady in your head, it should not cast any shadow of doubt. When man loses his way and strays into the wilderness believing that he is the body or Gunas or the object, then the Avatar comes to warn and guide. Keep the faith in the Lord undiminished, you can than safely move about in the world. No harm can come to you.

Husband and wife are like two pieces of wood, drifting down a flooded river, they float near each other for sometime and, when some current comes between, they are parted, each must move on the sea at its own rate and in its own time. There is no need to grieve over the parting of the two. It is the very nature of Nature that it should be so.

Divine family exists in peace and concord. Siva has snakes on His arms, on His Head and around His waist; one of His sons, Kumara, rides on a Peacock, which attacks snakes; another rides on a mouse, which the snakes feed on. One son has the head of an elephant, which whets the appetite of the lion, which is the vehicle used by Durga, the consort of Siva, who is so inseparable that She is the left half of the body of Siva Himself. Nor is the lion friendly by nature to the bull, which Lord Siva Himself has as His vehicle ! Siva has fire on the central part of His brow, and water, the river (Ganga), on His head, incompatible both. Imagine how loving and how co-operative the various components have to be, to render life on Kailas smooth and happy.

Carry to every door the name of God and let the clouds be illumined by love and reverence. Let every street in the towns, every village in the State ring with the adoration of the Almighty; every sunrise sing of Rama, Eswara and Krishna - any name is effective, provided it is suffused with the Divine Essence. Love the branches, twigs, leaves, flowers and fruits. They may appear to be different in color, feel, taste, smell etc., but they all are products of the earth, drawing sustenance from the soil and the sun. Live together in love; live in peace; and live in service.

When clouds gather in the sky, lightning illuminates the clouds; similarly, wisdom must illuminate education. The word of Sai is the path of Truth. Smaller than the smallest atom; bigger than the biggest thing. Witness of everything, the Atma is Brahmam and Brahmam is Atma.

Bamboo is valued for its form and strength and beauty. Similarly the real worth of man lies in his intelligence. His intelligence has come to him over many lives and the real value of his Buddhi is to practise Thyaga or renunciation. But one's Buddhi is covered by illusion, which is only a reflection of the Truth. When we throw away the water in the pot, we throw away the reflection of the sky in it as well. The reflection of Truth in our minds is only the conglomeration of our desires.

Bad thoughts and habits, bad company and bad food are hostile grounds where disease thrives. 'Arogya' and 'Ananda' go hand in hand. A sense of elation and exultation keeps the body free from ill health. Evil habits, in which men indulge, are the chief cause of disease in the physical as well as the mental state. Greed affects the mind; disappointment makes man depressed. Man can justify his existence as man only by the cultivation of virtues. Then he becomes a worthy candidate for Godhood.

Any one may blame you; but you should ignore all such blame and go forward in doing service without rancour. Service is your only duty. The Universe is a manifestation of God. So also the individual. All these three are like: Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara - the Trinity. Actually there are no three, they are one - it is the unified Godhead. Cherishing this thought of Oneness and serving the society is true Adhyamtic or spiritual life.

You should take to "Sarvada, Sarvakaleshu Sarvatra Harichinthanam". It is just not sufficient holding a mala and doing Japa, once in the morning during Brahma Muhurtha time, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. All the twenty-four hours, you should be in the remembrance of God. You should all the time be striving to awaken the spirit within you and for its blossoming (Atma Vikas). This is the real purpose of life.

Man has in him vast resources of power. When he does not utilise them while discharging his duties to himself and to the society which sustains him, he is only becoming a target for ridicule. When you are on a railway station platform waiting for the train that is due, and when you come to know that it arrives five hours late, how do you react ? You fling abusive words at train. When the coaches receives from you such treatment, how much worse treatment you deserve for not fulfilling your duty and for disappointing the expectations that you have raised by your being a man? Utilise your skills and learning as consistently and effectively as duty demands.

Mohammed preached monotheism and was driven out of Mecca. Jesus preached mercy and charity and he was charged with treason. Harischandra refused to give up his allegiance to Truth and was driven to such straits that he had to sell as slave his wife and son. So, when you stick to the path of Truth and Righteousness, pain and poverty haunt you. But they are only clouds passing through the sky, hiding for a little time, the splendour of the Sun.

The motherland is not a mere lump of earth. When we desire its progress, we have to promote the progress of the people who dwell therein. The skill needed for resuscitating and reforming man are found only in students. The reforming process involves the removal in daily living of bad conduct and bad habits and the practise of good conduct and good deeds. A man's worth can be measured by his efforts to reform himself. This day, the Government has no authority to reform the people; and the people have no authority the reform the Government.

The Pranava is the essence of all sustenance, the embodiment of Rasa. Of the earth, water is the Rasa; Of the water, physic (Oshadi) is the Rasa; of the Physic, the human person is the Rasa; Of the human person, the word is the Rasa; of the word, RuK is the Rasa; Of the RuK, Sama is the Rasa; Of the Sama (Veda), OM is the Rasa. These eight Rasas, the earth, water, physic, person, word, RuK, Sama and OM lead to the ninth - Ananda (Bliss). These are the Navaratnas, the nine essences, the nine sustainers; and Ananda is the goal which man is seeking, the aim of human life.

The A of AUM is the Viswa; the U is Tejas; and the M is Prajna - There is another interpretation in the scriptures. Viswa is the Walking; Tejas is the Dream; Prajna, the Deep Sleep stage. The Pranava Sadhana (the spiritual exercise of meditation on OM) is therefore very important for Seekers. The Vedas prescribe the repetition of the Pranava, while studying holy texts reciting the Name of the Divine, carrying out daily duties and offering gifts.

You have a Kalpavruksha ready to give you all that you want; you have the Lord, who protects and promotes all. The virtues of the people are treasures of the State; the Smarana of the Name of the Lord is the root of all virtues. Narada, who was afflicted with conceit that there was no other who had dedicated his very breath to the recital of the Name, was once humbled to find that a ryot who managed to repeat the Name three times in the course of his overwhelming multitude of distressing preoccupations from cock-crow to dusk was judged a great Bhakta.

Paramatma reveals its glory in man; Prema appears in various forms, attaching itself to riches or parents or children or one's life mate or friends. All these are sparks of the same flame and the love of the universal is its highest expression. This Prema cannot be cultivated by reading essays, guide-books and made-easies and learning the steps by note. It has to begin with great yearning for the Light and an unbearable agony to escape from the darkness as in the prayer: "Thamasomaa Jyothir Gamaya". The yearning itself will draw the light. The Love will grow of itself, and by its own slow alchemy, turn you into God.

Because you have taken residence in this body, you cannot call the body "I". When you sit here in this Hall, you do not call the Hall "I". You know, you are separate and that you are here only temporarily. When you go about in a tonga, you do not say that the tonga is you, do you ? You do not take the tonga inside, when you step down from it on reaching home. So, also, you have to drop this body when you reach "home".

You must cultivate non-attachment towards Prakruthi and attachment to the Lord. I am reminded of the story of Sankara Bhatta. He was a great Sadhaka intent on Japa and Aagama to such an extent that he was reduced to skin and bone. He worshipped Saraswathi or Vidya which is the key to open the doors of Mukti. Goddess Lakshmi saw his sad plight and was moved with great pity. She chided Saraswathi for denying Her votary even the common joys of life and Herself hid in his leaky hut to pour on him Her Grace. She offered him plenty and prosperity, fame and fortune. She derided Saraswathi for neglecting to award comfort and joy on Her hapless servant. But Sankara Bhatta turned a deaf ear to her allurements; he said politely, but firmly, 'No, Saraswathi has blessed me with the most precious wealth, the gift that liberates me. I do not crave your Grace. Please remove yourself from my presence'.

Jewels give joy, not Gold. You can experience the Name, you can imbibe the Form; you can take them to heart and dwell upon them and fill yourself with the joy that they evoke. That is why Jayadeva, Gomanka, Ramakrishna and others wished to remain ants, tasting sugar rather than becoming sugar itself. The Name is like the seed, implanted in your heart; when the shower of His Grace falls upon it, it sprouts into a lovely tree. All trees, that sprout from the Name, are equally lovely and shady.

Manava can become Madhava by engaging himself in Madhava Karma; he can then discover his 'Narayana - Tatwam'. What is the use of doing only Manavakarma; or even Danavakarma and claiming that man is divine ? Virtue is the lifebreath, and character is the backbone. Without these, no meritorious act will fructify. A characterless man is like a pot with many holes, useless for carrying water or for storing it. Renounce and win Peace.

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

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