The Vedas are the foundation of the Bharathiya Culture. If in modern Society, a trace of spiritual illumination is visible, we can ascribe it to this Vedic basis and the way of life I demand. All moral codes (Dharma) have emanated from the Vedas; and all the worlds have Dharma as their sustenance: "Vedamulam Idam Jagath".

You will learn that I am Prema itself; that I give only one thing, Ananda, through that Prema. My task is to distribute solace, courage and Shanthi. That is to say, My characteristic are the ancient authentic ones; only the manifested Form is new. My desire, if I can put it in so many words, is this: 'More, and more should yearn for Me. The desire will be realized only if I assume this Form and come among you'.

People think they live on food. Then how is it that, while the wealthy who can afford all kinds of food succumb to untimely death, the poor still live ? Man does not live by food alone. In fact he lives by the power of the Soul. Without discrimination, what is the use of physical strength ?

Once Narada was asked to name the most noteworthy among the things of the World. He answered that the Earth was the biggest. But he was told water has occupied three-fourths of the Earth; it threatens to swallow up the balance too, bit by bit. So, water, he had to agree, was more powerful. However, water too was drunk up by the Sage Agasthya and the Oceans were rendered dry by him and he, in turn, is now just a star in the sky ! Is the sky the biggest, then? For it was covered by one single foot of the Vamana-Avatar of the Lord. And, the Lord? O, He enters the hearts of the devotees and resides there. So Narada had to conclude that the hearts of Bhaktas are the grandest things in creation.

Every day, when you sleep, where are you? Who are you? Your senses are inoperative; your intelligence is in abeyance; your mind creates a World of its own, and after playing in it for some time, it lapses into inactivity. That is sleep, the nearest you reach in your journey to Samadhi. Live in the 'Atmathathwam' that will ensure 'Shanthi'. With the poison of 'Raga' and 'Dwesha' inside you, how can you be pronounced healthy? If you experience the 'Atmathathwam', you become Bhagavan Himself.

Whether one is a renowned scholar with expert knowledge of the deepest levels of religious lore or a monarch revelling in the brilliance of palatial luxury or a hero of many battles, or a miserable victim of poverty - if one has no devotion to the Lord, one does not deserve homage, honor or attention.

A life without character is as barren as a temple without a lamp, a coin that is counterfeit and a kite whose string has snapped. A teacher who instructs pupils with his eye fixed on his salary and a pupil who learns with his eye fixed on a job are born missing their vocation. The teacher has to help the pupil unfold and manifest the skills and qualities inherent in him and encourage him to rise to the fullest height he is capable of. The Divine is the Core in both the teacher and the pupil.

The desires that cling to the mind are the blemishes that tarnish man's inner consciousness. Control the senses; do not yield to their insistent demands for satisfaction. When a corpse is place on a pyre and when the pyre is lit, both the corpse and the pyre are reduced to ashes. So too, when the senses are negated, the mind too disappears. When the mind disappears, delusion dies and liberation is achieved.

Vaak or voice has to be rigorously trained to avoid chatter and wandering prattle. Keep the tongue under control; do not express what all you are prompted to say: cut that inclination to the minimum. Silence will charge the battery and you can win through a longer period of 'Dhyana'. Be full of Prema and then your words will spread Prema. They will be sweet and soothing like balm to those who suffer.

Upasana means that all your thoughts, deeds and words on those holy days must be about God; that you should spend the day 'Near' Him, 'in' Him and 'for' Him. It means that eating, sleeping and other bodily avocations have to take a secondary role and that Meditation and Japam have to take the main role. If your body wastes away as a result of these fasts, God will be blamed. So, you are only drawing down the calumny of people on the God you adore.

Why must man live for years - a burden on earth, so much of rice or wheat consumed year after year, with no return in joy or peace to himself or others ? The Petromax light will shine bright only when you pump air vigorously, that is to say, engage yourself in Sadhana and illumine your mind better and spread light on all who come near you. [PS: Petromax is a gas based lantern that is used in India.]

Those who deny God are denying themselves and their glory. All have love in their hearts, in some form of other, either towards the children of the poor or their work for the good of others. That Love is God, the spark of the Godly in them. They have Ananda however small and temporary, and that is a spark of God and the Godly. They have Shanthi, Detachment and Sympathy, All these are the reflections of the Divine on the mirror of their minds. These are all mental excellences, revealed through an appreciation of the advantages of virtue.

The principle of Love has no trace of ego or blemish. It is fully free from selfish attachment. Whatever Sai does, whatever Sai thinks, whatever Sai says and whatever Sai observes is all for your sake, not for Sai's sake. My only desire is your Ananda. Your Ananda is My Ananda. I have no Ananda apart from yours.

Whatever thoughts arise in Me are only for the peace and welfare of the world, for the progress of Youth and for transforming ideal boys and girls who will lead others along the path. You must dedicate yourselves for rendering enthusiastic service to the people of the World, recognizing that the Sai principle has no egoistic urge.

Prayer must emerge from the effect to the causes. The individual Self has to yearn for the Supreme Self. It must emerge from a pure heart. Prayer-drinking cup must be clean both on the outside and the inside. Prayer should not arise out of the tongue, as music rises out of gramophone record. When the song does not arise from your depth, when you are not involved in it, how can it draw God unto you ? You must achieve confidence. Then, the self-confidence will lead to self-sacrifice and self-realization.

Wholesome happiness arises only from the fullness of Love; Truth, Peace, Charity and Fortitude. These can fructify only in the atmosphere of Love - sayeth Sai. Men yearn for good times, high status, power and good life. But seldom do they yearn for good thoughts, wisdom and virtue. What better advice can Sai give ?

God is the entity close to man, dearest to man - your mother and father might be a little afar but God is right with you. Even if you do not Love Him, He will not depart from you or move afar. "Anoraniyam" say the Vedas ('Smaller than the Atom'). He becomes "Mahathmaheeyam" expanding beyond the Cosmos and fitting all with Grace. In every call, He well be in you. You can earn this Awareness through intense Love.

Blessedness can be conferred only by the Divine Source; it cannot be acquired from worldly achievements and triumphs. It is dependent on the immutable triad of Sathyam, Shivam and Sundaram.

It assumes all forms, this Shaantham !
It assumes all names, this Shivam !
It is Sath-Chith-Ananda, this Only One !
It is Sathyam-Shivam-Sundaram!

Let the children, even grown-up boys and girls, touch the feet of the Father and Mother every morning before the daily tasks are started; it will generate a reverential atmosphere in the home. Five minutes in the shrine-room and the Namaskaram for parents - let this be the daily routine. The Upanishads recommend this as the basic requirement of our Culture: 'Mathru Devo Bhava; Pithru Devo Bhava; Acharya Devo Bhava'.

The home is the temple where the family, each member of which is a moving temple, is nurtured and nourished. The Mother is the high-priest of this House of God. Humility is the incense with which the house is filled. Reverence is the lamp that is lit, with Love as the oil and Faith as the wick. Spend the years of your lives, dedicating them for such worship in the homes that you will find.

People crowd into film shows, rush towards social clubs - spend days together in playing cards - but when they are asked to sing the Glory of God and purify themselves and the atmosphere, they clamor for concession ! When the heads hit against each other in anger, can the feet be steady and unaffected ? They too will kick and trample as maliciously as they can.

As the Vedas announce, there is no Dharma higher than Truth. Truth gets hidden, appears distorted and is declared to be failing; so, the Avatar asserts its validity and value once again. God wears Truth, the good seek Truth and the bad are rescued by Truth; Truth liberates; Truth is power; Truth is freedom. It is the lamp that illuminates the heart and dispels doubt and darkness. The effulgence of God is Truth. Welcome God in your heart. Install Him there as a result of yearning. Be always concerned with Brahman; then you are entitled to be known as a Brahmin.

Injury inflicted on any being is sacrilege, self-injury. Love is transformed into poison, if hate contaminates it. Love some but do not hate the rest, for that hate will foul the Love and make it mortal. Love comes automatically to the realized soul; but, the Sadhaka has to cultivate it by means of Seva and inquiry into the unity of the Atman. Love must flow not from the tongue or from the head only, but chiefly from the heart.

Remember three things always. Continue Seva, wherever you are. Seek chances of helping others. Never lose an opportunity of using your skills and enthusiasm for the alleviation of sorrow, pain or distress. Again do not omit or neglect or postpone your own particular spiritual Sadhana - study, Japam, Dhyanam, Bhajan, Namasamkirtan and other such disciplines. Above all, have the faith that Swami is with you at all times and all places.

Prasadam means Grace, which flows from God when He is propitiated. My Grace is ever with you; it is not something that is given or taken; it is given always and accepted by the Consciousness that is aware of its significance, win the Grace of your own sub-conscious, so that it may receive the Grace of God which is ever available. God does not deny anyone; it is only you, who deny God. When the gift is proffered, you have to do only one little act, so that you may earn it. You have to extend your hand to receive it.

The Kshetra or field or body must be transmuted into the Dharmakshetra, the purified area of virtue and Vairagya (Renunciation of lower desires). Then the Charioteer will take charge and man gets liberated; and the body become Brahmakshetra. That is the life-story of a self-realised person.

The Avatara-Purusha, however, has come solely to save mankind, and so, he is aware of the pilgrim, the path and the goal. He is the master of creation and He is fully conscious of His power. He knows the past, the present and future of all. He leads and liberates.

Ambition to earn fame in the world, to gain some position of authority over fellow-men, to lead luxurious life - this can never ensure Shanthi, mental peace. Mental peace is the result of quite different attainments. Wealth cannot command it, nor authority commander it ! It must be won the hard way through meditation, Namasmaran and the nine steps to the presence of the Almighty. It must be won on the Earth, to which man rightfully belongs; and, not on any other heavenly body towards which he may dare navigate.

The basic lesson that each religion teaches is to surrender to the sovereign-will of God and leave the consequences of deeds, well done, to the Lord Himself. It is His will and your only duty is to shape yourself into a fit instrument. To suppress the assertive ego, disciplines have been laid down in every religion, by every compiler of moral codes, by every educator and reformer of human morals. But the oldest, most effective and the most successfully practiced system is the body of directives laid down in the Vedas and Shastras of India.

Time ticks on relentlessly and man is born, lives and dies, rotating on the wheel of Karma and consequently unaware of the means of escaping from the oncoming destiny. Agony and anxiety have not softened his heart; adventure and achievement have not made him humble. He is proud of his advance in the path of hatred and haughtiness. He revels in cruelty and sin. He displays an unholy satisfaction in immorality and untruth. He has reduced himself to a level lower than that of beasts.

The receptacle may be different but the Divine content is the same. The taste of sea water will be saline whether you test a truckload, a bowlful, a potful or a sip or a drop on the tongue: the taste of the Divine can be experienced in the atom or the Cosmos, the friend as well as the foe, the virus and the Universe. This is Realization, the Liberation, the Illumination and the Revelation: "Sarvam Vishnumayam Jagath". This sphere of change is surcharged with the Omnipresent Divine.

From the narrow vision of 'individual need', man must voyage out into the broad vision of the 'Universal'. When a drop of water falls into the Ocean, it loses its narrow individuality, its name and form, and assumes the form, name and taste of the Ocean itself. If it seeks to live separately as a 'drop', it will soon evaporate and be reduced to non-existence. Each one must become aware that he is part of the one Truth that encompasses everything in the Universe. It is reprehensible to stick, for one's whole life-time, to the narrow path of selfishness, envy and greed. Make the heart big and the mind pure.

There is no discipline equal to service to smother the ego and to fill the heart with genuine joy. To condemn service as demeaning and inferior is to forego these benefits. If a wave of service sweeps over the land, catching everyone in its enthusiasm, it will be able to wipe off the mounds of hatred, malice and greed that infest the world. Attune your hearts so that it will vibrate in sympathy with the woes and joys of your fellowmen. Fill the world with Love. Love will warn you against advising another to do something which you yourself are unwilling to do; your conscience will tell you that you are living in a lie !

Ascetic practices, years of constant recitation of the Name, pilgrimage to holy places and shrines, study of the sacred books - these will not help the aspirant to spiritual victory as much as communion with the Godly and the good. Bharath is a rare treasure house of spiritual jewels; it can confer all boons on the sincere.

There are Four *F's* that you will have to fix before your attention:

  1. Follow the Master;
  2. Face the Devil;
  3. Fight to the End; and
  4. Finish at the Goal.
Follow the Master means: observe Dharma.

Face the Devil means: overcome the temptations that beset you when you try to earn Artha or wealth or the wherewithal to live in comfort.

Fight to the End means: struggle ceaselessly; wage war against the six enemies that are led by Kama or lust.

And finally, Finish at the Goal means: do not stop until the goal, Moksha or Liberation from ignorance and delusion, is reached.

The *F's* are fundamental for the pursuit of the four Purusharthas - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.

No bird casts the seed on land to grow food for itself, nor do beasts plough and enclose fields claiming - this is mine, this is for my children and children's children. 'Nishkama-Karma' is the natural face of activity for the children of God, the progeny of Immortality. They sing and swim, they dance and drive, they talk and walk and they pray and pine, because they must; it is the nature too. They do not know what will happen, as a consequence, they do not care; they do not anticipate any result. They are just themselves when they do these things. It is Sahaja Lakshana, their innate nature and their inborn characteristic.

Jnana is not an attribute of the Universal Absolute (Param-Atma). It is Param-Atma itself. The Upanishads declare 'Sathyam-Jnanam-Anantham Brahma' (Truth, Wisdom and Eternity is Brahman). Jnana is the fulfillment, it is the goal, the consummation. Man is as ugly as a noseless face, if he has no wisdom, whatever other attainments he may decorate himself with !

Agriculture is for living; mind culture is for life. Skills are for shaping material things so that they cater more for the comfort of man; studies are for shaping attitudes, feelings, desires, emotions and impulses of man, so that they may confer more peace, more joy and more fortitude on man.

One day, Anjaneya appeared in a garden on the outskirts of Dwaraka. Krishna, who heard about the pranks of the strange monkey, directed Garuda to proceed and scare the animal out of the city limits. Garuda failed, even though he later took the entire army with him for the fray. His pride was humbled. Krishna sent a message through him to the monkey, who had declared himself as Anjaneya, that he should deign to come to Krishna's court. But Anjaneya, recognized only Rama and would obey only Rama. So Krishna had to send another message that Rama was calling him to His audience Hall ! Devotion compels the Lord to yield to the whims of His servants. Anjaneya hurried to see Rama and Krishna gave him the darshan of Rama Himself.

Egoism will be destroyed, if you constantly tell yourself, 'It is He, not I', 'He is the force, I am but the instrument'. Keep His name always on the tongue, and contemplate His glory whenever you see or hear anything beautiful or grand. See in everyone the Lord Himself moving in that form. Do not talk evil of others; see only good in them. Welcome every chance to help others, to console others and to encourage others along the spiritual path.

Man is suffering because he cannot rid himself of the greed for sense-objects, and sense pleasures, or Vishaya Vasana. He knows that he has to give up whatever he earns and collects, sooner or later; but yet his attachment waxes instead of waning, as the years go by. If every man on earth could take with him on death even a handful of mud from the earth, there would have been nothing much left and mud would have been rationed at so many ounces per head !

You have read that the Lord, melted and moved when one performs acute Thapas, comes and asks softly and sweetly: "My dear child, What is it you need ?" He wants you to express in words what you have yearned for and ask the Lord whom you have brought before you through the exercise of silence. That is the little game He plays. And sometimes He wills that the questioner answers in the way His plan demands.

To cross safely the flood of "Birth-Death-Continuum", the bridge, called Nishtha or discipline of an unflinching kind, is essential. It must be a sturdy, safe bridge: or else you will fall into the raging waters and be drawn into the sea, infested with the sharks: Lust and Anger. See how great heroes like Prahlada did not lose their hold on the Lord, in spite of heavy odds. Prahlada never gave up the repetition of the Name of the Lord, though he was tortured, twisted and burnt. One, must have that determination and faith.

Sorrows and disasters are like the clouds that flit across the sky; they cannot injure the blue depths of space. Your duty is just to strive on from this very moment. Do not vacillate or postpone. Who knows when death knocks ? May be, he may knock this very night, this very moment; therefore, do not delay. Do you postpone for tomorrow the dinner of this day ! Feed the spirit as scrupulously as you now feed the body.

You will find that you have craved only for paltry things and for momentary distinctions for fleeting fame; you should cry only for God, for your own cleansing and consummation. You should weep, wailing for the six cobras that have sheltered themselves in your mind, poisoning it with their venom: Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachment, Pride and Malice. Quieten them as the snake-charmer does with his swaying flute. The music, that can take them, is the singing aloud of the Name of God. And when they are too intoxicated to move and harm, catch them by the neck and pull out their fangs as the charmer does. Thereafter they can be your playthings; you can handle them as you please.

If you seek to fulfill low desires, why come here? Come here only if you seek to earn Grace. Go to a hospital only when you are resolved to take the drug the physician prescribes and go through the regimen he lays down. So, obey the directions that I give, whatever others may say or however difficult they may appear to be. You have not come to Prashanthi Nilayam to please those others. You have to please Me.

Rama is the personification of Dharma, So Rama partakes of the excellence of the Vedas. The Mahabharatha is generally known as the Fifth Veda. And the Bhagavatha describes the Glory and the Grace of the Lord and His splendor as the Indweller in All. So, that too is as efficacious as the Vedas to elevate man and to release him from the bondage to the mean and the sordid.

People talk loud and long from all kinds of platforms about Dharma, Prema, Shanthi, Daya, Sathya, etc. This is published in the newspaper next day and there their purpose ends. The paper of today is the waste-paper of tomorrow ! It is used for packing or thrown into the dust-heap and burnt as refuse. That is the story of all platform-professions. Put into practice a fraction of what you preach.

Turn the key in the lock to the right, it opens; turn the same key to the left; it is locked. Turn your mind towards the objective world, it is locked, caught, entangled. Turn it to the right away from the objects of the senses; the lock is loosened, you are free and deliverance is at hand. How to turn right ? Well, begin with Namasmarana, as the first step. That will itself take you through the second and the third...... to the very goal.

If liberation means the stoppage of grief and the acquisition of joy, then it is easy. What you have to do is to place all your burdens on God; that makes you grief-free and care-free. Then, when you take everything as the leela of Lord you love, you clap your hands in Ananda whatever may happen, for it is His leela and you are as happy as He is, when His plans are going through !

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

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