It is much easier to speak the Truth and be done with it. What you have seen or heard or done, speak about these just as you saw or heard or did! And what is Dharma? Practicing what you preach, doing as you practice in life. Earn virtuously; earn piously; live in fear of God; live for reaching God. That is Dharma.

The five elements have each a characteristic that affects and attracts the five senses: Sound (ether) which fascinates the mind through the air; Touch (air) which draws the mind to itself through the skin; Form (fire), which manipulates the mind in its favor through the eye; Taste (water), which enslaves the mind through the tongue; and Smell (earth), which attracts the mind though the nose. Contact with the external world is maintained by the senses for the sake of these experiences, which yield joy or grief.

There is not the slightest trace of self interest in Me. Whatever I do, whatever paths I pursue, everything is intended for the happiness of all, for the good of all, and for the improvement of all. Not a single action of Mine is undertaken for the satisfaction of My own personal desires. Desire is something alien to Me. My wishes are only to promote the welfare of the world. "Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu" is the only objective of SAI (May all the World be happy).

Sai's main purpose is to develop the minds and attitudes of young men to work along right lines, so that they may work for the welfare and progress of Bharat. Students are the only wealth I cherish. All my hopes are concentrated on them. To reform and train them to serve as exemplars of righteousness is Sai's sole resolve.

I do not have any particular desire with regard to food or any other need. My 'Ananda' is My food; and to secure that food I promote happiness in others and derive delight from their joy. That is the significance of My statement: "My life is my message". To feel blissful in the enjoyment of happiness which others experience is a quality of the Divine.

You will come to know that you are a spark of the Divine flame. Very soon you will realize that others too are sparks from the self-same fire. How then can hate or anger, envy or greed, survive in the Sunlight of the Vision?

You are the image of the Supreme Atma, the image that is reflected in the body that is part of 'Prakrithi'. Your body is kith and kin of all the objects that surround you in nature; your body is an object among so many. The original Divine Spirit, the individualized Spirit, which is the image and the objective world of which the body is a part - these are the entities called Eswara - Jiva - Prakrithi

It is not enough if you are at Puttaparthi. You have to engage in Sadhana to win my Sankalpa. You may think that the burden of the consequences of acts done in previous births cannot be easily brushed away. No, they can be destroyed, as a heap of cotton is by a spark of fire. 'Jnanagni Dadgdha Karmanam': the speck of Jnana will destroy the effect of Karma in a trice.

Do not jump to conclusions, abdicating your discrimination, and do not deny the validity of your own experience. Stand on your strength. Be unmoved either by adulation or denigration. Follow my Lead. I am unaffected by either. I march on alone, undeterred and of My own accord. I am My own guide and witness, have full faith in this.

Today, man dabbles in Yoga (devotional practices) in the morning hours; revels in bhoga (festivity and luxury, catering to the senses) during the day; and tosses about in roga (disease) during the night! Bhakti is not to be performed during certain periods every day and superseded by other fashionable attractions. Bhakti is a constant continuous bent of mind, a habit of thought and a way of life. It must be loyally adhered to whatever may happen: dishonor, distress, despair, deprivation, pleasure, prosperity or pomp.

Man seeks joy in far off places and peace in quiet spots; but the spring of joy is in his heart. the haven of peace is in himself. Even when he walks on the moon, man has to take with him his fears, his anxieties, his prejudices, and his pet aversions. Have faith in God and in the correctness of moral living. Then, you can have peace and joy, whatever may be the fare that fortune offers you.

The parents gave you this body and fostered the intelligence and love that are embedded in it; so, gratitude is their due. If you do not honor the parents who are the creators in human form, how can you learn to honor the Creator in Divine Form? Moreover, the parents reveal to you the glory of God and the means of worshipping Him; they are the first representatives of the authority which you meet with, authority modified by love and care. Learn to bend before that authority and you will learn how to submit before the Lord.

Poems that deal with the fundamental problems of life and death, truth and delusion, and virtue and vice, will last for centuries and will help man at all times. Problems of exterior living change and get changed. So, when poems deal with them, they are short-lived. 'Prakrithi' and 'Paramathma', Creation and Creator, are like two halves of a pulse (bean), and seeding sprouts from between them

You have it in your power to make your days on earth a path of flowers, instead of a path of thorns. Recognize the Sai resident in every heart and all will be smoothness, softness and sweetness for you. Sai will be the fountain of Love in your heart and in the hearts of all with whom you come in contact. Know that Sai is Omnipresent and that He is present in every living thing and you. Adore everyone as you adore Sai.

The span of life allotted to man is very short; the world in which he lives is very wide; time extends far behind and far beyond. What little man has to do here has to be done quickly, at the place that is assigned to him and within the time allotted to him. And, man has such a formidable task before him; it is to fulfill it that he has come as man, exchanging for this human habitat all the merit he has acquired during many past lives. The task is no less than the manifestation of Divinity latent in man.

Rise up to the Divine, don't bring Godhead to your human and even animal levels. Do not worship God as the picture before you, but worship the picture before you as God, because God is in everything and can be grasped through every single symbol. There is nothing wherein He is not; there is no might or right, apart from Him.

Snakes hiss; pigs grunt; and bills moo! They are asserting their ego, intent on keeping others away. Of the traits of ego, pride is the most poisonous. But, the pride of the scholar and the vanity of Pundits are so thick, that it is impossible for them to get rid of these.

God is the vastest among the vast, minutest among the minute. Yet, God has no Ego. How then can man, who has no claim to even the tiniest glory, parade himself as great? It is really a ridiculous pose. The egoist ignores the source which can bring respect to him. He loses the chance of developing his skills and talents on the right lines.

What can ten baths a day do to cleanse a person, when his mind is fouled by evil thoughts? What can shaven head and the ochre clothes do to foster spirituality when his mind is riddled by desires and wants? You may rotate a ball of sweets round the mouth but unless it is put into it and eaten, hunger will not be abated. So, develop sincere longings, cleanse the mind, purify the thoughts and put the precepts into practice.

Some of you claim to be Saibhaktas, Ramabhaktas, and Krishnabhaktas. No, unless you are perfect instruments in His Hand, you do not deserve that name. For example, Bharata can call himself Ramabhakta. He lived with Rama-Nama in every breath; He suffered as much as Rama; He was as much an anchorite as his brother; so, he too became Shyama (dark skinned) like Rama

The body has to be exercised to keep it trim as a tool for serving your fellowmen. The body has not been granted by God in order to be fed and well clothed and to be paraded around in pride. Plunge into the problems of society, take up the burden of the family and advance the interests of the country. Shine as examples of loving service.

When you struggle to achieve paltry fame by devious means; remember who among crores of your countrymen are honored today and for what? Don't you see that only those who gave up, renounced, and sought the more difficult road of God-realization, instead of the easier path of world-realization are honored everywhere?

The Lord rushes toward the Bhakta faster than the Bhakta rushes towards Him. If you take one step towards Him, He takes a hundred steps towards you! He will be more than a mother or father. He will foster you from within you, as He has saved and fostered so many saints who have placed faith in Him.

You must not be a bit of blotting paper, absorbing all the passions and emotions, all the joys and griefs that the actress of nature demonstrates of the stages of life. You must be a Lotus, unfolding its petals when the sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it is born or even the water which sustains it!

Faith in God is the secure foundation on which hope has to be built. The faith has to be stable and strong. The feeling that God will come to our rescue has to be vivid and vital, motivating and activating all that we do or speak or think. Service rendered to others in this spirit will be a great source of joy to you as well as to the recipient.

Women are proverbially too individualistic! There is a popular belief, born out of folk experience, that three women cannot live in unison! There is a Telugu limerick, which says, "The world shivers before one woman. The ocean will dry up, if there are two! And if there are three, O, the stars will drop down at noon!" Why is woman so characterized? Woman is extremely deficient in sahana, I mean ability to bear defeat, fortitude, forbearance, patience and quiet, suffering with no thought of retaliation. That is why woman is said to be the weaker sex.

Silence, cleanliness and forbearance. In silence can be heard the voice of God, not in the revelry of noise. Through cleanliness, you earn purity. By forbearance, you cultivate Love. You have come today to your own home. This is your home not Mine. My home is your heart. So, do not try to have your lunch elsewhere but in your home, where you get this day food consecrated by Me, the Prasad.

One should progress from this stage to the awareness of the Atma. Flowers fade and rot soon. The effect of offering flowers may not last long. What God loves more are the flowers blossoming on the tree of man's own life, fed and fostered by his own skill and sincerity. They are the flowers of his virtues grown in the garden of his heart.

It is the duty of everyone to live in the awareness of Truth. He who lives on Earth must become Man at first. Then, he has to learn the way to God, and discover the delight of the Spirit. This is the 'Raja Yoga' path that the Vedas teach. The Atma illumines all objects; It needs no other source of illumination to shine; It is the seer of the Universe.

Nowadays, man has got into the habit of acting and talking as per his whims. There is no control exercised by conscience or moral sense or manners. For one who is so perverse, who is determined to go down to his doom, there is no need for counsel! Medicine is for the ill, not for the wholly healthy, or the wholly dead. Counsel is for those who suffer from doubt, anxiety or agitation. This counsel is contained in the shastras and sacred texts.

God is seeking the pure heart that longs to reach Him. The world is reduced to a theater by man, for, devotion to God has become a histrionic performance. You find people weeping in their hearts, but, laughing their lives away. We find people who laugh in their heart of hearts, but, to all observers, weeping profusely over their fate. Worship is more for effect, a play acted with the pit in view; there is no sincerity.

Man did not come here to sleep and eat; he has come to manifest, by disciplined processes, the Divine in him. That is why he is called 'Vyakthi', he who makes 'Vyaktha' (clear) the 'Sakthi' that is in him, the Divine energy that motivates him. For this purpose, he has come endowed with the body and the intelligence needed to control it and divert it to useful channels of activity. You must achieve this by Dharma, Nishtha, and Karma - Nishtha - steady pursuit of Dharma and Karma, morality and good work.

The world itself is a great teacher, a constant guide and inspiration. That is the reason why man is surrounded and sustained by the world. Every bird, every animal, every tree, mountain and star and each tiny worm has a lesson for man, if he has but the will and the thirst to learn. These make the world a veritable University for man; it is a Gurukul where he is a pupil from birth to death.

The Linga is the Form of God, emerging from the 'Nirakara' to 'Sakara'. Other 'Akaras' (Forms) are all subsumed in the Linga Form. 'Prakrithi' or the objective world is the base; it signifies that the Lord is established in that manifestation of His, which is the concrete presentation of His play, His potentiality and His power, His Sakthi. That is why the Lord is described as Shiva, Shakthi, Atmaka and Swarupam, the Supreme to which belong Shiva and Shakthi, the latent and the patent.

If you do not feel the call at the sight of human distress, disease or deviation from the right, how can you muster the determination and dedication necessary to serve the unseen, inscrutable, mysterious God? When you do not love man, your heart will not love God. Despising brother-man, you cannot, at the same time, worship God; if you do, God will not accept that hypocrisy. God is resident in every heart; so, if you serve any one, that service reaches God within him: it brings to you the Grace of God.

The heart that does not melt at the sight of persons caught in the coils of ignorance, disease or deprivation, has to be labelled demonic; to call it bestial is an insult to the beasts. Give up egoism, sensualism and greed; fill your hearts with renunciation, belief in the glory of the Atma (Self) and Love. That is the means by which you can make yourselves efficient Seva Dal Workers.

The pollution of character that is spreading in the cities is fast invading the villages also. The villages should not yield to the temptation of imitation and invite catastrophe on themselves. They must appreciate the ancient Indian ideals of simplicity and sincerity, service and spiritual-oriented living. You must curb greed, anger, envy and pride, and live in amity and the spirit of brotherhood. Then India will be happy and prosperous. Each one must carry out the duties of his role in a worshipful attitude.

Life has been bestowed not for just eating and digesting and roaming and reclining, but for a far greater purpose - the realization of Divinity in us, in all that exists around us and even beyond all things that strike our senses. To waste such a life in vain pursuits and in mere senses of pleasures is not the sign of an intelligent person. Deserve the Grace of God by helping the weak and poor, the diseased and the disabled, the distressed and the downtrodden.

Shiva is worshipped with the three-leaved bilva, for He is immanent in the three Worlds, in the three phases of Time and in the three attributes of Nature. He removes the three types of grief; He has no basis outside Him; He is the source of Bliss; He is the embodiment of the sweetness and efficacy of nectar. Since every being is Shiva Swarupa (for without Siva, it is mere 'Sava' - Corpse), man has to live up to that Divine status.

Faith has to be cultivated, first and foremost. It has to be nurtured in Love. Love is fostered by Shanthi (equanimity). Shanthi can be got only when there is full reliance on God and complete surrender to the Divine Will. If one loses wealth, he may regain it by some means or other. If he loses health, some doctor might prescribe a tonic to win it back. If one loses status and authority he may, by sheer luck, gain them back. If Virtue is lost, it is lost forever; nothing can restore the pristine purity. So one has to be ever vigilant and should never slacken.

The greatest of the virtues is Love. Love is the basis of Character. You may have all other desirable things in plenty; but if you have not character, that is to say Virtue, which is all strung on Love, you cannot have genuine Peace. Money comes and . . . goes! But morality? It comes and grows! Morality has to be grown in the heart by feeding it with Love; then only we can have justice, security, law and order. If Love declines among the people, nations will weaken and mankind will perish.

This created Universe has two aspects. One is impermanence ('Anithyam'). In Gita, Krishna has said "Anithyam Asukham Lokam Imam Papya Bhajaswa Maam". Nothing in this world can give happiness that is, true and lasting happiness. Mistaking this world as 'All' and forgetting the Atman which alone is eternal and is the only refuge, is the greatest folly of man.

Today, man is pinning all his hopes on this slippery world and is madly running after amassing and hoarding wealth. Of course, material needs are to be taken care of, but within limits, and not at the cost of spiritual values. Money and mansions are not the only wealth. Hoard the wealth of the Spirit. Character is wealth. Good conduct is wealth. Spiritual wisdom is wealth.

Devote your body, mind and senses to the service of others. "Paropakarartham Idam Sariram" it is said. This body is intended to do only good and service to others. The body is not gifted to you so that you hate and nurture jealousy against others and live selfishly, worse than an animal. You should devote this precious gift of the body in selfless service always.

Shanthi has detachment as the basic quality. The sea which likes to gather and possess lies low; the cloud that likes to renounce and give is high up in the sky. Shanthi endows man with an unruffled mind and steady vision. The prayer for Shanthi is usually repeated thrice: "Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi", since peace is prayed for in the physical, mental and spiritual planes. Man should not bring his blood to boil nor should he yield to fear.

Man has been enslaved by money. He lives a superficial, hollow and artificial life. This is indeed a great pity. Man should seek to possess only as much money as is essential for his living. The quantity of riches one must own can be compared to the shoes one wears; if too small, they cause pain; if too big, they are a hindrance while walking. Money too has to be with us only just enough for a life of physical and mental comfort. When we have more, it breeds pride, sloth and contempt for others.

The world is becoming more and more deeply immersed in irreverence and cruelty. Codes of decent behavior are being ignored and laughed at. The material is receiving greater attention than the moral and spiritual. Faith in the victory of Truth, Justice and Goodness is fast disappearing; the distinction between good and bad is seldom recognized.

Joy is a deceptive trap; grief is the real preceptor, teaching caution, circumspection, discrimination, detachment, awareness and vigilance. Death is not the merciless one that he is made out to be; he is the friend and companion, the teacher, the kindly kinsman, who takes you into his fold and clothes you with the halo of remembrance. The heart of man has to be toughened, not hardened; it has to be made soft, not slithery; this can be achieved only by the blows of loss, grief and distress. It is God's way of shaping us in the Divine mold.

The sages of this land had known the mine of Ananda that lies in every human heart and they had discovered methods of developing that mine and working on that gold. They said that if 'Bhoomata' (Mother Earth), 'Gomata' (Mother Cow), 'Nijamata' (the Mother) and 'Vedamata' (Mother Scripture) were revered and fostered and used as best as they could be, happiness is certain and liberation is assured.

You will be doubtless agree when I say that Ananda is your greatest need. But, you cannot order it from any shop. It has to be earned the hard way - doing good deeds, moving in good company, desisting from evil and keeping the mind attached to the Glory of God. Good and bad cannot be kept together in the same vessel; then the good also will turn bad. Night and light cannot coexist.

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

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