You do not know the Gem shining inside you, the Divinity whose effulgence is your intellect, and whose reflection is the Prema you evince. You know many things other than this, but not this essential thing; you do not know where such and such a scholar lives in Venkatagiri, but you know where such and such a film-star lives in Madras: This is something to be ashamed of - this loss of the sense of values: You must recognise the Higher, the Highest.

All men are kin, they are of the same likeness, the same build; moulded out of the same material, with the same Divine essence, in each. Service to man will help your Divinity to blossom, for, it will gladden your heart and make you feel that life has been worth-while. Service to man is service to God, for He is in every man and every living being and in every stone and stump. Offer your talents at the feet of God; let every act be a flower, free from creeping worms of envy and egoism and full of the fragrance of love and sacrifice.

You believe that those who have no faith in the Vedas and the Shastras and those who do not aver that there is some Omnipresent, Omniscient Being are Nasthikas; but let me tell you, those who revere their Parents and foster them and those who love and protect with care their brothers and sisters are Theists, Asthikas believe in Gratitude, Love, Affection, Duty and Dharma and these qualities are enough to save them from perdition.

All men are kin, they are of the same likeness, the same build; moulded out of the same material, with the same Divine essence, in each. Service to man will help your Divinity to blossom, for, it will gladden your heart and make you feel that life has been worth-while. Service to man is service to God, for He is in every man and every living being and in every stone and stump. Offer your talents at the feet of God; let every act be a flower, free from creeping worms of envy and egoism and full of the fragrance of love and sacrifice.

What exactly is a dream ? It is a dream within a dream. It is a dream, which unfolds before you even while you are "awake", another dream. It tries to shed some light, some joy, some courage, some faith, some hope, and some meaning on the dream called Life. Naturally, man has to seek all means of discovering the meaning of Life. For, without knowing it, he is lost; he wanders from birth to birth, receiving knock after knock and is seldom the better for all the experience.

When you go to a temple, you see the idol within but your thoughts are with your footwear that you had to keep outside the outer gate. These are matters that reveal the concentration that you are capable of. Every little point has to be taken care of, lest the benefit of the Sadhana be lost; you cannot get liberation by merely coming here; you cannot get it even by Darshan, Sparsan and Sambashan. You will have to follow the instructions, the order and the directions.

Moksha or liberation results from the breaking of the Mind with all its vagaries and wishes. You have to break your Mind but, how can you do it, when the fibrous armour of sensual desires encompasses it ? Remove them and dedicate the Mind to God and smash it in His presence. That moment, you are free.

The Gita is for saving all, and granting them liberation. Gita, in Telugu, means a line; it draws a line across and cancels the series of births and deaths; it teaches you to stand erect, unafraid, along the straight path of Dharma, along the line laid down.

The vehicle of human life is drawn in two wheels by the senses which are driven by Buddhi, with Viveka and Vairagya as the reins, the two wheels being the Kala Chakra and the Karma Chakra. The spokes of the wheel are the rules of Dharma, bound by the rim of Prema. The self is the Rider and he will not come to harm if the axle is Sathya and the goal is Shanti.

Having been born, man earns and acquires land, riches, materials, grains and articles of comforts and luxury, which he feels will give him happiness and which therefore become the object of his struggle. But, the object of realising God is forgotten. You may ask: why, should any one seek good company, do good deeds and direct his mind towards good thoughts? You are listening to Me and what do you get when you so listen? You agree that I am giving you Anandam. What do you give Me in return ? Give Me the Aacharana of what I am telling you: practice what I teach, that is enough. That is all I ask for.

Karma must not be felt as a burden, for that feeling is a sure sign, indicating that it is against the grain. No Karma which helps your progress will weigh heavily on you. It is only, when you go counter to your inner-most nature, that you feel it a burden. A time comes when you look back on your achievement and sight at the futility of it all. Entrust the Lord, before it is too late, your mind and let Him shape it as He wills.

Whom the Muslims adore as Allah, the Christians as Jehovah, the Vaishnavas as Phullajaakshe and the Saivites as Sambhu, who grants in answer to their several prayers, health, prosperity, and happiness to all wherever they may be, He is the One God of all mankind.

In every country today, men have become power-mad and they resort, without any compunction, to self-praise and dry declamation. They develop hatred against others, foster envy and feed their fatal egos. They plunge the society to which they belong into fear, anxiety and disorder. They do not know that, if elevating ideals are adhered to and practised, they could gain eternal fame; instead they are content with cheap applause and short-lived publicity.

The mansion called life must be built on a strong foundation, and the pursuit of Artha and Kama, of wealth and welfare and of all desirable objects must be regulated by the standard of Dharma. Dharma fosters those, who foster it. "Dharma Rakshithi Rakshithah". The strongest foundation is ever-present Faith in the Almighty. Some may ask, "If He is Almighty, why then can I not see Him ?" He reveals Himself only to the person who yearns for the answer, not the one who puts questions out of impudence or ignorance.

He will be present only in the transparent heart, the heart that is not clouded by egoism or attachment. The string of the rosary is present only in the Spatika heads, the crystal beads, not in the coral or Rudraksha beads. Though the string runs through these latter also, it can be seen only by splitting those beads. This is the meaning of the story of Hiranyakasipu who split the pillar; when he did that, he could see for himself the Lord, who is the core of every object and being.

Your reality is the Atma, a wave of the Paramatma. The main objective of this human existence is to visualise that Reality, that Atma, that relationship between the wave and the sea. All other activities are trivial; you share them with birds and beasts; but this is the unique privilege of man. He has climbed through all the levels of animality, all the steps in the ladder of evolution in order to inherit this high destiny. If all the years between birth and death are frittered away in seeking food and shelter, comfort and pleasure, as animals do, man is condemning himself to a further life-sentence.

The Truth can flash only in a mind clear of all blemishes. The first blemish that I would like to warn you against is: "inability to bear the success of others". Envy is the greatest of the sins. Vanity, envy and egoism are kin. They cut at the root of man's real nature. To feel proud that you are a Bhakta is also a blot. Though you may be a mountain, you must feel you are a mound and you should not pretend to be a mountain.

There are only three ways of saving oneself: Pravruthi, Nivrithi and Prapatti. Pravruthi (action, external activity) is a method of sublimating the instincts and impulses. Nivrithi (detachment; internal quiet), is a method of subduing the thirst of the senses and of the ego. Prapatti (surrender) is a method of utilising the senses, the instincts and impulses, the intelligence and the emotions for the glorification of the all-knowing, all-directing Divine. Do and dedicate, work and worship, plant and protect; but do not worry about the fruit; that is the secret of spiritual success.

When you reach the bank of a river in a strange land, you do not take advice, from a lame person or a blind person, on where you can best wade across. You follow a person who has waded often, and who is neither lame nor blind. The man who can see is a scholar; the man who can walk is a person with experience. The man with both capacities is a good guide, not those who prattle things learnt from the books or dole out set-formulae, irrespective of the stage the recipient has reached or roam about in search of people whom then can squeeze for money.

Man imagines that he has achieved much as a result of his search for material pleasures. He has discovered electricity and is using it for giving light. But what poor glory is this; when the sun rises, even the brightest bulb pales into insignificance. Man has invented the fan and, by means of electricity, he is able to create a breeze. But, when a storm arises in Nature, the toughest tree is uprooted and man's handiwork of brick and mortar is laid in ruins, with the roofs flying in the air. On what basis can he erect his pride?

The boulder on the hill, from which a portion has been blasted away to carve an idol for the temple, tells the idol, "Thath Thawam Asi" ("You and I are the same"). That and this are one substance. Yes, of one substance but what a difference? The hammer and chisel have made one, a thing of beauty and a joy for ever, an inspiration to make life beautiful and holy. You too must subject yourself to the hammer of discipline and the chisel of pain-pleasure, so that you become Divine.

All who come embodied are Avatars; that is to say, advents of the Divine, Manifestations of God. What, then, is the special feature of Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Christ? Why do you celebrate their birthdays with much reverential enhusiasm? The speciality is this: they were Aware: you are unaware of the Atma which is the Truth. Awareness confers Liberation from bonds, from time, space and causation and from sleep, dream and wakefulness. Avatars are ever alert, aware and alight.

There was a huge halo of splendour illuminating the sky over the village when Christ was born. This meant that He who was to overcome the darkness of evil and ignorance had taken birth; that He will spread the Light of Love in the heart of man and the councils of humanity. Appearances of splendour and other signs to herald the era that has dawned are natural when Incarnations happen on Earth. Jesus was to shatter the darkness that had enveloped the World and the Aura of Light was a sign that announced the event. The Masters arrive in answer to man's prayer, "Thamasomaa Jyothirgamaya"; "Lead us from darkness unto Light".

The word "Hindu" has been interpreted by scholars in various ways, but the real meaning is 'Him' (Himsa or violence), 'Dur' (far from): people who keep away from violence. The Hindus have been praying since the ages for the peace and prosperity of all the Worlds. 'Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavanthu'. Their conception of the immanence of God is strong and unshakeable. The rituals, ceremonies, vows and rites, prescribed in Hinduism, are all directed to the promotion and wellbeing of "all the Worlds". This is the reason why Hinduism is still alive and active.

Vishnu is described as "Bujagasayanam" sleeping on the snake and also as "Shanthaakaaram". The "Bujaga" or snake, which has visha or poison, represents the world of 'Vishaya' and, when you rest upon it, instead of allowing it to envelop you, you can afford to have 'Shantham' or peace. Let your boat be on water; but do not allow the water to enter the boat. Be in the world, but not of it. That is the secret of a successful life.

Saranagathi or unconditional surrender is the main gate to enter the mansion of Mukthi. It has four floors: Dhyanam, Karma, Bhakti and Jnanam. Each floor rests upon the one beneath and the topmost one cannot be reached without ascending the first three. Remember this, when you hear people arguing about the relative superiority of the Yogas or labelling themselves as 'this' or 'that' in the Adhyathmic field.

Take everything as it comes. Cultivate contentment, do not multiply your wants and foster greed and despair. You take off your warm clothing when you start feeling warm yourself. The coat of desire has to be taken off when the warmth of Bhakthi increases. Strive to secure Grace; do not strive to secure any lesser fruit.

Please do not be under the delusion that God needs light and that He requires illumination. He is 'Jyothiswarupa' with the splendour of a thousand suns. He is the force which makes Light shine and He is above and beyond the Thejas that Nature can supply. It is not so much this stone structure that needs illumination, when you come to think of it. It is the temple that you are carrying about with you, in body, that must be fitted with lights. "Dehodevalaya Proktham". The body is said to be the temple. "Jivodevah Sanathanah" and in that temple is installed the Jivi who is the "timeless" God.

You try to avoid grief; you try to taste joy instead. It is the nature of man to do so. For he is essentially 'Anandaswarupa'. When we seek 'Ananda', it is like the call of the deep for the deep. When someone asks you, "How do you do ?" and you answer, "Quite well, thank you", he does not stop to enquire why you are well. It is only, when answer that you are ill, that he stops and expresses concern and probes into the causes, symptoms and care of the illness. "Well-ness is natural"; illness is unnatural. Anxiety is caused by the unnatural only. So, you are "Suka-Swarupa" also.

Clarify the Buddhi(intellect) by Sadhana(practice) so you get a vision of the Lord who dwells within, that is the Sudarsana which saved Gajendra, the wild elephant (man) that was caught by the alligator (egoism) while rollicking in the lake (world) . The objective world (Samsara), looks upon joy and grief as teachers of handihood and balance. Grief is a friendly reminder, a good task-master; even a better teacher than joy. The Lord grants both protection and punishment, for, how can He be the Lord, if He does not insist on strict accounting and strict obedience?

The youth today, in India as well as in other lands, are afflicted with deep discontent which manifests itself in revolt against rules, regulations, curriculam and social norms and an agitational approach to every little problem that affects them. What is the basic cause of this phenomenon? The reason lies in the fact, that they have started to neglect the ancient culture of India and its ideals. They are imitating undesirable and fanatic norms of behaviour and are addicted to a code of disbelief, having no roots anywhere.

When God has come assuming a Form, take it from Me, it will not fill inferior vessels or embellish tawdry stuff or enter impure bodies. So, do not extol these falsities and ruin those unfortunates. Deal with them severely and they will be cured. Those who have seen the brilliance of the diamond will not be mislead by glass trinkets. The Lord is like the diamond, however loud the praise and however adamant the claim.

Who can give us the secret of transcending the barrier that divides the region of death from the region of immortality ? Of course, the Lord has often sent Messengers to tell humanity about it and He has Himself come down in human form to communicate it and save mankind from perdition. It is because the task of guiding man has gone on so consistently that today, in India, there is at least this quantum of earnestness to achieve it and to escape from the cycle of birth and death.

"Eshwara Sarva Bhoothaanaam Hruddese Arjuna Thishtathi" "O Arjuna, The God resides in the heart of all beings" says the Lord. He is not to be found specially in Amarnath, Kasi, Tirupati, Kedaram or Gokarnam. Just as every drop of the ocean has the taste, the composition and the name of the ocean, so too every single being has the Divine taste and composition and the name of the Lord. Only you do not realise it so clearly. The Godavari realises itself by reaching the sea: man realises himself by merging in the Absolute. "Gamyam ithi Lingam" (That which merges in the goal is Lingam).

You have to trace your ancestry and be proud of it. From Paramatma, Moola Prakrithi (Nature) descended with the emergence of Maya (illusion) and from the stuff of that illusion, Akasa (Sky) ; and from Akasa, Vayu (Air); from Vayu, Agni (Fire); from Agni, Jala( Water); from Jala, Earth. By a combinations of five elements, this tabernacle of Paramatma, that is you, was produced. The entire ladder has now to be climbed up in order to reach the Paramatma, the origin of all. There is a regular syllabus for the promotion of the spiritual aspirant, which is given in that form in the Veda and in an elaborate story-form in the Bhagavatha.

The discovery of Truth is the unique mission of man. Man is a mixture of Maya (illusion) and Madhava (God); the Maya throws a mist which hides the Madhava, but through the action of the healthy impulses inherited from acts performed while in previous bodies or through the cleansing done by austerities in this body or through the Grace of the Lord Himself, Maya melts away; for it is just a mist which flees before the Sun. Then Nara (man) is transformed into Narayana (God) and this Bhuloka is elevated into a Prasanthinilayam.

Every one has a mother as the source of his life and body. So the mother has to be strong in mind and body. Ripe in culture and character, sanctified by holy thoughts and steeped in love and dedication. Good mothers make a good nation. Mothers have to be repositories of Thyaga, Yoga and Bhakti (Detachment, Discipline and Devotion). Their Karma (Activity) must be based on these three urges.

Every little moment of incident results in sound. Only, you may not be able to hear, because the range of your ear is limited. The falling of an eyelid over the eye makes a sound and the dropping of dew on a petal makes a sound. Any little agitation disturbing the calm is bound to produce a sound. The sound caused by the primal movement that resulted in the enveloping of Brahman by self-evolved Maya is the Pranavashabda or OM. The Gayathri is the elaboration of that Pranava and so, it is now held so venerable that initiation into Adhyathmic life is achieved by its contemplation.

The one Namaskaram you do, do with devotion. That is enough. You do not do even that; you do it so callously, so indifferently and automatically. When you fold both your hands and bring them together, feel that you are offering at the Feet all the actions of the five Karmendriyas and the five Jnanendriyas as indicated by the ten fingers. Again, the purpose of Namaskaram is to touch the Feet, to have Sparsan of the Lord. The negative pole Mayasakthi, and the positive pole, Mahasakthi, have to meet in order to produce a spiritual current that will flow through you.

Come: I am the repairer of broken hearts of damaged Anthahkaranas. I am like the smith, who welds, mends and sets right. Ten years ago, a devotee prayed to Me in song, "My heart has gone dry, my lamp has gone out, my path is dark, my brain is confused. Lord make me fit again for life's arduous journey". The Lord will be waiting outside the door of the puja room of the Bhakta, anxious to fulfil his wish. Verily he, who has the Lord as his Servant, is the real Prabhu.

You may complain that God is hard and heartless since He does not respond to prayer, give a signal from His pictures and speak from 'nowhere' in clear unambiguous terms, assuaging, assuring, advising - but, 'Let Me tell you: God is Love. Love is God'. His Akara (Form) is Prema (Love), His Swabhava, essential Nature is Ananda (Bliss), and His Raktha (Life-blood) is Sathya (Truth). When even the stony cliff echoes your voice and responds when you cry, will not the softest, sweetest, love-filled heart of God respond ? When there is no response, infer that there is something wanting in the cry; perhaps, the cry is hollow, insincere, mere play-acting set to a pattern, addressed to someone alien to oneself, taken to be far away and distant as a tyrant or task-master.

Know that God is the One that is dearest and nearest to you, as dear and as near as your own heart and pray to Him. Surely His answer will be vouchsafed immediately. You may have huge hordes of men in the army; but they are useful only when the few Generals, who lead them, know where they are and whether they should proceed and how to overcome the enemy, whose strength and weakness they have comprehended. Hordes of people sing, recite, adore, worship, praise and prostrate - but these are the soldiers. Those who believe, those who have faith and who practise the disciplines are the Generals in whom the Master confides.

Talkative persons easily step into scandal-mongering. Too much talk and a tongue addicted to scandal are twins; they work together and in unison. A poet addressed his tongue thus "O, Tongue, knower of taste, relisher of sweetness, always prefer the Truth". One should not inflame passion, diminish enthusiasm or inflict injury "Sathyam Brooyath, Priyam Brooyath" (Speak the Truth, Speak pleasantly) "Nabrooyath Sathyam Apriyam" (If unpleasant, do not speak the Truth) "Priyam cha na anvartsham brooyath" (Though it may be pleasant, do not speak falsehood).

You can master all knowledge and win loud applause. (The crowds that gather may praise and proclaim "Ah what a wonderful lecture he gave".) You can be hailed as a king and rule over the realm. You can pile up vast wealth and donate gold and land. But what is the benefit gained? Karna gave away the ear-rings he wore and even sliced off his Divine suit of armour and gave it away in charity. Wherein does renunciation lead? The question is, does it purify the heart? Does it help the Divinity within to manifest itself?

Brahmacharya does not mean merely desisting from marriage. It means becoming soaked in Holy Love for the Divine, through transparent sincerity, unselfish will, pure consciousness and holy thoughts. You all know that Hanuman is described as the eternal Brahmachari. He was married to Srivatsala, yet he earned that description. How? Brahmachari means, 'He, who is in Brahman'. Hanuman had no other thought than Rama (who is Brahman) and so was ever moving in Brahman and living in Brahman. Your thoughts, feelings, desires and activities must all move in Brahman, the Universal Absolute. That is to say, whatever is spoken and whatever is seen must be cognised as Brahman. That is the real Brahmacharya stage.

Life can be sanctified and elevated to a worshipful pilgrimage if only everyone clings to his way and sees it in its proper perspective. Idle brains exaggerate matters; and cynics cause great social damage. Gulfs are widened by thoughtless criticism. If only all of you remember the principle underlying the brotherhood of man, mankind will become a mighty family, full of peace and joy.

Prema or love is a much-misused word. Any positive response to the attraction is called love. Any feeling of attachment, however trivial and transitory, is characterised as Prema. We must certainly coin new words or set aside specific words to indicate the forms of love. The attachment of parents to their children or of children to parents must be called affection. The love towards the opposite sex can be best described as fancy, fascination or delusion, Moha. The feeling of kinship or comradeship evokes dearness. The pleasure one gets through a sense of possession, especially of material objects, can be known as satisfaction. Only the yearning to reach for the sublimity that lies inherent in Truth is entitled to be called by that holy word 'Prema'.

It is My general practice to induce people to learn the sweetness of the Name. I begin My discourses with the recitation of a spiritual poem and end them with these Namavali (Bhajan), and in between, I give the lesson I love to teach. It is like a testy health-giving meal which I serve you on a plate (the problem) covering it with a lid (the Namavalis). That is how you may take it.

The Lord has said in the Gita: "Anudevega Karam Vakyam Sathyam Priya Hitam Chayat" (Speech, that does not offend, that is truthful, pleasant and beneficial, has to be praised). Such speech sanctifies the tongue. It knows and respects the limits. The ear cannot tolerate a false or discordant note. Every one of the senses responds within its own limits of tolerance and protests when that limit is exceeded or disregarded. You must be vigilant that they are put to use, with proper attention to those limits. When they stray from the path or overstep the boundaries, reason bides in head and makes you inhuman.

How can a person, who cannot himself swim, teach others the art? How can one, whose granary is empty, pour out in charity? Acquire the wealth of devotion, fortitude and peace, before venturing to advise others how to acquire them. Bharath (India) has suffered slights and disregard as a result of a spate of teachers who have not cared to practise what they teach. I know you have the enthusiasm to carry My message among the people of this country and other countries. Let Me remind you that the best and the only successful way in which you can do it is to translate the Message into your own lives. Your thoughts, words and deeds must be saturated with the message. They, then will spread effortlessly and efficiently and the face of the world will be transformed.

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

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