How far have you progressed using the chance of these Discourses and the Darshan and Sparsan? Bring something into your daily practice, as evidence of your having known the secret of higher life from Me. Show that you have greater brotherliness, speak less, with more sweetness and self-control, and that you can bear defeat as well as victory with calm resignation.

While speaking of God, as guarding you, I am reminded of a note that some one has sent Me from this gathering. The note wants Me to explain why I have not mentioned Sai Baba in any of my Discourses so far, though I bear the name as the Avatar of Sai Baba. Evidently, the writer of the note had in mind the people who engage themselves in publicity-work of Rama or Krishna or Sai Baba.

The aeroplane has to land at a certain place in order to take in those who have reserved the right to fly by the tickets that they have purchased. So too the Lord has to come down so that those who have won the right to be liberated may be saved. Incidentally, others, too will know of the Lord, of His Grace and ways of winning it and of the joy of liberation. There are some who deny even today the possibility of air-travel; they curse the contrivance. They cavil at it. Similarly there are many who cavil at the Avatar that has come to save them.

Your minds are wayward like monkeys that skip and jump from branch to branch. Give them to Me. I can make them steady and harmless. When I say, 'Sit', they will sit; when I say 'Stand', they stand. That is what Sankaracharya offered to do; he told Siva that he would hand over the monkey that was his mind to Him so that it might be tamed and used for his delight. But it must be a complete handing over with no reservations.

Man comes into the world, burdened with Maya and its instrument, the mind. The mind expresses itself through attraction and repulsion, Raga and Dwesha, affection and hatred, towards the external world. Raga is Rajasic in its effect and it can be used for one's uplift, as Narada used it to fix attention on the Lord. Dwesha is Thamasic as Durvasa expressed in his dealings with Ambarisha and others. Without Raga and Dwesha, the mind cannot function at all. If these two are removed, there can be no mind, and no Maya; and you get fixed in Jnana.

The study of the Vedas is the highest type of learning, since it leads to the conquest of death. All other studies deal with the means of living or the surroundings within which you have to live; they deal with earning and spending, deriving a little pleasure by this trick, escaping a little grief by that other trick. The Vedas show the path of the realm of eternal Bliss, where there is no birth or death. People learn details about China, Russia and America; they know about the volcanoes of the Pacific or the islands of the Arctic regions; but, they do not know an iota about the features of their own inner realms.

The Karma Kanda is the biggest part of the Vedas, because Karma or sanctified activity is the means by which the tree blossoms and the fruit matures and grows. The Upasana Kanda deals with Upasana, the method by which the fruit ripens, the Jnana Kanda describes Jnana, the process by which the fruit fills itself with sweetness. The first stage takes the longest time. So, it comprises the largest portion; the second and the third are quicker by comparison. So they are shorter. The third stage can be accomplished, even apart from the tree by keeping in a warm place amidst straw or a hot room.

Man can acquire the sweetness of Jnana by keeping himself in Sathsang or even by remaining in a solitary place, all by himself, by Dhyana, for example. But, by whatever means, the sweetness (Jnana) cannot be injected from outside; it must grow from within, it is the transformation of the inner nature won by a struggle with the inner foes.

Just think of this for a while. You are in this body, in this receptacle, in order, to realise the God you really are. This body is the cocoon you have spun round yourselves, by means of your impulses and desires. Use it while it lasts, to grow wings so that you can escape from it. You came into this world crying, announcing your grief and being thrust into it, grief for having lost hold on God. Having come with grief, decide not to go with it from here. Get rid of it in this life itself.

Become entitled to the honored title of Bhakta. My Glory is spread daily through who those call themselves My Bhaktas. Your virtue, your self- control, your detachment, your faith and your steadfastness are the signs by which people read of My Glory. Not that I want any such prop. But, it just happens so, in this world, where men estimate others indirectly, rather than directly. Let me tell you, such Bhaktas are very rare. That is the reason why I do not address your gathering as "Bhaktulara". You can lay claim to that name only when you have placed yourself in My hands, fully, completly, and with no trace of ego kept back to cater to your vanity.

All ills are traceable to faulty living. And what is that traceable to? The ignorance of one's real nature. Ignorance is so deep-rooted that it affects thoughts, words and deeds. The drug, that can cure it, is presented under different Names: Jnana,Karma, Upasana and Bhakti. They are all the same in potency and curative power. The difference lies only in the method of administration: either as a mixture or as a tablet or by injection.

This Nilayam should not be treated with scant reverence. Make the best use of your stay here. Do not treat this chance lightly. You come spending much money and you have put yourselves to much trouble to reach here; but you do not bloom as fragrant offerings at the Lord's feet by learning the Sadhana path. The senses have to be curbed into obedient servants of the spirit. For example, I insist on silence. Talk less; talk low, when you must talk; do not thrust your sorrows, your needs, and your problems into the ears of those who come here with their own bundles of such things.

In this Prasanthinilayam, there are certain limits laid down, certain modes of spending time usefully, recommended by Me. All who come here, whether long time residents or new arrivals, have to observe them. You have seen Me and stayed here, and heard the Discourses. Let me ask: What is the gain ? Are you going back unchanged, unaffected ? Dogs do not chew sugarcane; they seek a bone instead. Ill-fated mortals recoil, when the talk is about God, Goodness, Sadhana and Saakshathkara. But you must pull yourselves away from slums and by lanes and travel on the highway to God. Dwell always on the Glory of God; then you will shine in that Glory. Adhere to Truth, that is the surest means of removing fear from your heart. Prema can grow only in the heart that is watered by Truth.

The Shastras warn you of false steps; they console you in times of stress; and they strengthen you in distress. They give correct interpretations of moral dilemmas. They prescribe the dress, the food, the manner of speech, the methods of social conduct, the mode of mutual behaviour and the lines of onward march. They are the conscience of society.

The whole world knows what sacred ideals inspire the Sathya Sai Organisations. It is true that, in a big bag of rice, a few grains of sand may get in. Any human organisation is bound to have a few black sheep. But, that will not affect the organisation, as long as it is true to its principles. The kind of service and sacrifice, which the Sathya Sai Organisations are rendering, is colossal. The basis for all that is the Love that prevails among the members. From ancient times, the Upanishadic prayer said "Sahanaa Vavathu; Sahanaa Bhunaktu" "May He protect us all; may He nourish us all". The spirit of Oneness proclaimed in this Manthras is operative today only in the Sathya Sai Organisation.

Sanathana Dharma is bound to overcome today's rampant materialism, for it can harmonise the secular and the spiritual, into a single way of life. It can bring together into closer kinship both man and God. It is based on the Divine which is the reality of the Self. So, it is not limited to one country, one individual, one period or one set. It has a variety of procedures, point of view, disciplines and guidelines, in accordance with the special features of the region, the age, and the environment.

The scripture says: "Happiness cannot be won through happiness". "Na Sukaad Labhyathe Sukham" : "Happiness can be won only through misery." Pleasure is but an interval between two pains. To achieve the Sathwik happiness, that is positive and permanent, man must perforce take on trials and tribulations, loss and gain.

The human body is the home of countless microbes and other parasitic beings. No one can be free from these diseases inducing causes. But, one can easily overcome this sorrow, by developing feelings of compassion towards all beings and thoughts which thrive on Love and which spread Love. Illness, both physical and mental, is a reaction on the body caused by the poison in the mind. An uncontaminated mind alone can ensure continuous health.

Faith is the basis of every act. You do not run away from the barber because he is armed with a sharp razor. You place faith in him and allow him to cut your hair, quietly submitting to his idiosyncrasies. You give away costly clothes to the dhobi, since you have the faith that he will return them washed and ironed. You have faith in the driver of your car and in the engineer who built your house. So, too, believe in the inner Motivator, the Atman within, the voice of God.

The awareness of the Atman or the Divine in man can neither be gifted to another nor be accepted from another. It is, all the time, hidden behind the veil of ignorance. When the false image disappears the Truth shines in all its glory. It is like the sun behind the passing cloud. Your duty is to draw this veil and let the sun of awareness shine forth and illumine your thoughts, words and deeds.

Active participation in society, in a spirit of dedication and surrender, conceiving all acts as worship and all men as the embodiments of the Supreme, is a more beneficial form of Sadhana. For, there is no spot where He is not, no object which is not He. For, as the Sruthi declares, He willed that He becomes all this. Worship, adoration, and pilgrimage cannot be the end-all? The goal is the realization of "I am He, He is I". That alone can fill the heart with Bliss.

Man must withstand both praise and blame, success and failure, pleasure and pain, like the Meru mountain peak. He must strive to be steadfast and unmoved. Once you collect desire, you become their slave; you will find no end to them. When they are attained, others assail you and still leave you discontented. Be aware of your innate Divinity and show these recurring desires their due place. The Atma in you is unaffected by desire or defeat or victory. They are passing clouds.

Sense control will guard you against a host of evils. Do not believe that, because you are equipped with the senses, nothing harmful can happen. Through their free exercises, you may have your car registered in your name and be driving it yourself, but, if you do not apply the brakes timely, accidents are bound to be your lot. Your body can be compared to a car. Your eyes are like lights. Your stomach, the petrol tank; your mouth, the horn; your mind the steering wheel; Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, the wheels; the air within the tyres is faith; and intelligence or Buddhi, the switch.

The knowledge derived through the mind utilising the senses is always incomplete, but, the knowledge that is earned through the Buddhi or intellect illuminated by the Atma, is full, freeing and revealing the Truth. The first is termed 'Manojnana' and the second 'Atmajnana'. 'Manojnana' informs that you are distinct from others; that God is at Kailas, Tirupathi or Kasi; or Prasanthinilayam. But names, forms and temples are only for the kindergarten stage.

The prayer that rose from millions in this country from all its temples, theerthas, holy seafronts, shrines and altars for centuries has been, "Sarve Janaah Sukino Bhavanthu" - "Let all the people of the World be happy and prosperous"; "Samastha Lokaah Sukino Bhavanthu" - "May all the worlds have peace and prosperity". So pray for all humanity, for the welfare and happiness, the peace and progress of Russia, China, Africa, Pakistan and all the countries of the world and all beings everywhere.

Man has all the resources he needs himself. He can tap them by identifying them and manifesting them and by sharing them with others. He is Sath-Chith-Ananda; he is Siva-Sakthi Swarup, matter-energy. When man extols himself, he is extolling God. Do not cultivate the conviction that you are mere men; be assured that you are destined for Divinity. When Divinity takes on the human form, as described in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavatha, one has to interpret the actions as providing examples and lessons and not as human stories enacted for entertainment.

We have at present persons who pride themselves on their encyclopaedic scholarship and technical skills; they claim to know the innermost secrets of nature; they fly into outer space and even land on the moon. But, ask them if they have 'Ananda' and can stay in 'Ananda'; they will reply that they have not yet experienced it. If they know everything worth knowing, why have they missed this? It is clear that they are suffering under some delusion.

Be eager to confer consolation and courage; be anxious to be of help. Watch for the chance. Snatch each opportunity to expand yourself by sympathy, to enlarge the horizon of Love by understanding and prayer. Do not keep another at arm's length, saying "My God is different from yours" or "My God is opposite to yours". It can never be so. Paramatma, the Name for God, does not mean a stranger God but the Supreme God. Who can vouchsafe for the correctness of the picture which you now worship as the picture of Rama or Krishna ? The poet described and the painter delineated, but, both rely on their imagination, rather than on actual authentic vision.

Cynics question the validity of the type of adoration and say that it will only confirm faith in a superstition. "Can God be a stone, or a peace of paper ?" they ask. This attitude is not correct. By adhering to the traditionally laid down ritual worship many aspirants have attained the vision of the Omnipresent and stayed in that incommunicable Bliss.

In fact, Puja (formal worship at regular hours), with the recitation of hymns and songs, is the very first step in the spiritual pilgrimage. Many seekers have undoubtedly achieved an awareness of God by years of asceticism among jungle caves. But, starting early with scrupulous care, the rites of archana, bhajana and aradhana (offering of flowers with the repetition of God's Name, singing His Glory and adoring Him as a living presence) are more fruitful and satisfying.

The sixteen modes of worship laid down in the Shastras to make the aspirant aware of that he is the very presence and that every gesture and movement of his has to be motivated by devotion and dedication, ensure the purification of the mind of man from ego and all its brood of blemishes. This is 'Chittha Suddhi', the cleansing of all levels of one's consciousness.

Puja or archana offered, without a purified heart is sheer waste of time. But even a short sincere session of Puja, spent in Divine Awareness, yields much fruit. Thiru Thondar, a Tamil Saint, confessed that he had engaged himself in worship of the Lord's idol in order to cleanse his mind. The material and the form are inseparable, but the seeker must dwell on the Form which he desires to be manifested in all its glory rather than on the material.

Technology must be dedicated to the promotion of high ideals, those which are cherished in Bharathiya culture. For, without the background of the culture, educated people are easily turned into slaves of other cultures. Those who belong to a country have to proceed along the special circumstances and resources of the country. Of course, one must love all mankind; all are children of God. One must not emphasise the differences between nations or between castes and creeds, cultivate universal heartfelt Love.

The five Pandava brothers are five qualities in human character, all observing the norms set by the eldest, which is the noblest and the most righteous. Rama is the example of uncompromising adherence to the principle of righteousness, whatever be the temptation to bypass it. Rama was charged with love that transcended all considerations of advantage and of caste or creed and extended to animals and birds, human and subhuman beings. Love is the key to open the doors locked by egoism and greed.

What exactly is implied by 'Adhyatmic' ? Is Bhajan or congregational prayer 'Adhyatmic' ? Or does it involve 'Japa' or 'Dhyana' ? Or does it denote religious rituals and ceremonies ? Or does it extend to pilgrimages and holy places ? No. These are only beneficial acts. 'Adhyatmic', in its real sense, relates to two progressive achievements or at least to sincere attempts towards those two achievements: elimination of the animal traits still clinging to man and unification with the Divine.

The mind is the altar. Place the animal which is to be offered as oblation (the evil aspects of your character, behaviour attitude etc.) and sacrifice it to the deity involved. Though born as a human, man is burdened by animal instincts and impulses, that have attached themselves to him during his previous lives as an animal. He has passed through many animal-existences and each has left its mark on his mental makeup, like a scar on the skin when a wound has healed.

Buddhi is the only instrument for realization. Jnana alone can grant the Vision the ultimate Truth. That is why the Gayatri, a Vedic prayer to the Light, that fills the Universe, to illuminate the intelligence is a prayer for prompting the spirit of inquiry and illuminating the path by the inner light of the Spirit.

Your devotion to God is best expressed by achieving the control of senses. For the senses rush towards the temporary and the tawdry and they foul the heart. I require from each of you no other gift, no more valuable offering than the heart I have endowed you with. Give me the heart, as pure as when I gave it to you, full of nectar of Love I filled it with.

It is certainly wasteful to spend precious time in mere study without any attempt to translate it into action. You need not give your word to Me now, but try to put into practice at least a few of the good things that appeal to you and that are helpful in giving you peace and contentment. To evoke the Divine in you, there is no better method than Namasmarana.

The mind is the altar. Place the animal which is to be offered as oblation (the evil aspects of your character, behaviour attitude etc.) and sacrifice it to the deity involved. Though born as a human, man is burdened by animal instincts and impulses, that have attached themselves to him during his previous lives as an animal. He has passed through many animal existences and each has left its mark on his mental makeup, like a scar on the skin when a wound has healed.

Food and recreational habits are the two main causes for ill-health. Great care has to be bestowed to ensure that injurious tendencies do not affect these two. At present, though drugs have multiplied and hospitals have been established in every nook and corner, ill-health is also widespread. This situation is attributable to the spread of deleterious food habits and pastimes.

It is certainly a wasteful way of spending precious time in mere study without any attempt to translate it into action. You need not give your word to Me now, but try to put into practice at least a few of the good things that appeal to you and that are helpful in giving you peace and contentment. To evoke the Divine in you, there is no better method than Namasmarana.

You must take every step in Sadhana or in Samsara, only after deep deliberation and satisfying yourself that it will be for your good. Otherwise, it will be like the story of the weeping city. One day a close female attendant of the Queen came to the palace weeping in great sorrow, and so the Queen began to shed tears. Seeing the Queen in tears, the entire Zannan wept and the weeping spread to the male attendants also. The King, finding the Queen inconsolably sad, also wept profusely in sympathy, and the sight made the entire city weep loud and non-stop. At last, one sensible person set in motion an inquiry, which passed through person after person until the Queen herself was accosted. She said that her attendant was in sore grief, and when she, a washer-woman by caste, was interrogated, she confessed that it was all due to the sudden demise of her favourite ass. Reason out; discriminate; and do not rush to conclusion or be led away by mere hear-say.

To remove the evils of egoism, service is the most efficient instrument. Service will also impress on the person doing service, the unity of all mankind. He who dedicates his time, skill and strength to service will never meet with defeat, distress or disappointment, for service is its own reward. His ward will be ever sweet and soft and his gestures ever revered and humble. He will have no foe, no fatigue and no fear.

The same Divine Compassion, that blessed Dhruva, saved Gajendra, restored Kuchela and stood by Prahlada, has come to earth, as the refuge of the refugeless, as the Lord of peace, harmony and righteousness, as the Lord of all the worlds, as the Sath-Chith-Anandamurthi, as the Puttaparthi Sathya Sai Sath-Chakravarthi - the king of kings.

When you scatter seeds on the surface of the soil, they do not germinate; you have to keep them inside the soil. So too, Bodha, if scattered, on the surface, will not germinate, grow into the tree of knowledge and yield the fruit of wisdom. Plant it in the heart; water the plant with Prema; and measure it with Faith and Courage. Keep off pests with the insecticides of Bhajan and Sathsang, so that you may benefit in the end.

Do not try to delve into Me; develop faith and Sraddha and derive Ananda through Prema. That is the utmost you can do; do that and benefit. Do not run after all and sundry who blabber textbook-stuff and wear the cloak of fakirhood. Examine, judge and admire. Examine the daily conduct, the motive, the outlook, the trend of the advice and the co-ordination between what is said and what is done.

Without surrender, there can be no liberation. So long as you cling to the narrow "I", the four prison walls will close in on you. Cross out the "I" and you are free. How to kill the "I" ? Place it at the feet of the Lord and say, "You", not "I" - and you are free of the burden that is crushing you. Associate always with the the vast, the unlimited, the Divine; dream and plan to merge with the Absolute; fill your ears with the call from the Beyond and the Boundless. Transcend the walls, the bars and bolts, the locks and chains. You can do so easily by fixing your mind on your own infinity.

I had to do My Dharma; and every act of Mine has its significance, which you cannot understand. You are in the dark, and you fear more. You cannot notice the heaps of earth and the pits on the road. You cannot even know that the road is smooth and fine. There is no fault or partiality in creation; be confirmed, in that. Then you will no more waver in your faith. If God's creation itself was faulty, all would have suffered equally.

Lakshmi or wealth accrues by fair means as well as foul; money is earned by gambling, by various forms of deceit; by highway robbery; by high and low; by all and sundry. Worship Lakshya, the Goal of expanding your Love till it embraces all beings, till it sees every being as your mind's eye; then, Lakshmi will, of her own accord, favour you to the extent necessary for realising the Goal. Never doubt that. Never falter.

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

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