Note: This guide is not only intended for Balavikas students, this also helps every one who wants to know about the Indian Culture and Spirituality and also refresh the memory of those who have forgotten many of them. This will also guide all parents to teach their children and putting a foundation in their mind about Indian Culture and spirituality. Therefore we take pleasure in posting this in seven parts in our Forum for the benefit of all and are intended for fact-finding reading. Thanks to the author. ‘saidevotees_worldnet’
Om Sri Sai Ram
GUIDE TO INDIAN CULTURE AND SPIRITUALITY
[Based on the Divine Teachings of BHAGAWAN SRI SATHYA SAI BABA]
By Smt. KAUSALYARANI RAGHAVAN
III. BHAGAWAN BABA'S DIVINE TEACHINGS (2)
[During the first Summer Course Year 1972]
177. Give the inner meaning of Gita Upadesh?
The Gita teaches us that the Chariot is the body. The Jiva is Arjuna. The Atma is Krishna. The reins are mind. But sense organs are the horses. The whole picture has to be interpreted by saying that Krishna who represents the Atma is leading the Chariot, which represents the body, into the battle field. The fighting armies are 'Thag' and 'Para' that is this world and the other world, or good and bad: or Atma and Anatma, or what is temporary and what is destructible. The Kauravas represent the bad qualities and the Pandavas represent good qualities. The fight in Hastinapura, is actually going on everyday in our heart controlling the sense organs (horses) with the help of mind reins and with leadership and guidance of Krishna (Atma Jnana) we should defeat the bad qualities in us and the good qualities should win. Thus we must establish Dharma.
178. What is the key-note of Bhagavad Gita?
Bhagavad Gita means the "Song of God". It consists essentially of 3 parts namely Karmakanda, Upasana Kanda and Jnana Kanda.
Bhagavad Gita in addition to all these has really also given us the great saying "Tat Twam Asi", meaning "That Thou Art", The first six Chapters teaches us about "Jiva" or the Twam, that resides in the body and through which the nature of "Jiva" manifests itself.
The next six Chapters teach the nature and content of what we call 'Tat' or "That" (Path of Bhakti). The last six Chapters teach us the content and the meaning of "Asi", also tell how to realise the identity of the self, the Jivatma with 'That' the Paramatma. It also teaches us how to give up things, how to sacrifice and attain Moksha or liberation.
179. What is the true meaning of the word Saranagathi?
In general by the word "Saranagathi" we mean putting at the disposal of God our body, mind and all our powers and all that we have. This is not true meaning because our body is not in our control at all, we cannot control our mind. Nothing belongs to us in the true sense and so there is no point in saying, 'I surrender to God my taught mind' and so on since nothing belongs to us; it all belongs to God himself in reality. It is only when we accept and believe that the Divine is present in everything that we can understand the meaning of surrendering in thought, word and deed. Becoming one with God is true Saranagathi. So long as there is distinction in the mind of the individual between God and 'I' there is no surrender. To think that one who gives orders is God and one executes it is man, there is no surrender. There is bliss and happiness in unity and not in duality. So the feeling of unity with God is the real meaning of the word "Saranagathi."
180. What is the special merit by which Arjuna deserved to be taught the Gita?
Arjuna himself asked this question to the Lord Krishna and Krishna answered. 'Dharmaja had many more good qualities than Arjuna but he had only 'after thought'. He felt the guilt of action after it was over, therefore he did not deserve to be taught the Gita. In the case of Bhishma, the great scholar and valiant son of Ganga, he realised thal Dharma was on the side of Pandavas but at the same time, he was the head and the chief of the Army of Kauravas. His action was not in keeping with his belief. So he says one thing and does another; so he did not deserve to be taught the Gita.
In the case of Arjuna, he had the forethought about all the suffering that were likely to occur in the war. He was prepared to sacrifice all the pleasure of this world and the other world for the happiness of others. He surrendered to the Lord and was prepared to take whatever instructions the Lord would give. So, we can recognise in him a person who deserved to be taught the Gita.
181. Under what conditions will God look after our welfare and future?
It is God's word that if you have devotion to God he will look after your welfare. In the Gita he said this would be done provided the devotee spends all his time in the thought of God, provided he accepts God to be all pervading and as present in every being. Just like the young monkey clinging to its mother under all circumstances. We should attach ourselves to God under all conditions and en circumstances. We should have this kind of implicit faith. If we have complete faith and surrender completely to God, like the cat looking after its kittens, God himself will look after our welfare wherever we are.
182. What are the two ways by which we can free ourselves from the chain of affection and attachment or get liberation?
One way is to get the strength by which to break the chain. The other way is to make yourself so tiny, that you can slip and get out of the chain which is binding you. These two are called 'Jnana' of the path of knowledge and 'Bhakti' or the path of devotion. Bhakti path teaches us the attitude of "Dasoham" or behavior which says "I am your servant". When you are bound by a chain and within that chain if you can tell yourself "Dasoham". "Dasoham" that means you are humble, you are developing humility, your ego it becoming less and less, it shrinks you so much that your humility grows and you can slip and get out of the chain.
The other Jnana path is getting out of the chain by telling yourself "Sivoham". Sivoham, that is "I am Siva", 'I am Siva' - that means you are expanding and becoming bigger; finally, you become so big that you can break the chain and get out. There are the two paths for 'Moksha' or liberation.
183. What is Kama? What is the difference between 'Kama' and 'Prema'?
The getting of desires and harboring them are called 'Kama'. The word Bhakti is sometimes also known as 'Prema' or love. Although Prema and Kama may look Synonymous there is a vast difference in reality.
Kama gets tied up to persons or things. It is narrow and confined. Worldly desires are Kama and the desire for the universal, eternal God is "Prema".
184. Explain the term "Janthoonam Narajanma Durlabham"?
Everything that is born out of the womb is called a "Janthu".
Since Man is also born from a mother he is also referred to as "Janthu". The only distinguishing feature which marks out man from the animal is he has got intelligence he is just like an animal.
"Janthoonam Narajanma Durlabham" means that amongst all the animals, to be born as a man is extraordinarily lucky. Therefore you have to give great attention to cultivate good conduct and good behavior throughout life.
185. What does Ramayana teach us?
Ramayana teaches us that the two qualities 'Kama' and 'Krodha' are responsible for all kinds of sad experiences which we have in our lives.
For Rama, to go to forest, Manthara was responsible and for Sita to be carried away by Ravana, Soorpanaka was responsible. Manthara signifies anger that is "Krodha". Soorpanaka signifies desire that is "Kama". These two 'Kama' and 'Krodha' or lust and anger are responsible for all sorrows and experiences. Even in the case of Sita also it was only when she sacrificed all her "Kama", that is desires, she could get Rama, but the moment her mind turned to a desire for the Golden deer, Rama became distant. Ramayana thus teaches us that where Rama is, there will be no Kama; when Kama enters Rama will be distant from us.
186. What is "Vishnu Maya"?
The permanent basis, Brahman, is like a cinema screen. When it gets mixed up and combines with impermanent or transient people who come and go, then you get the picture of the world like the picture in the cinema hall. This process by which the untrue or transient picture and the permanent screen are together combining and giving you an impression of permanence may be called "Vishnu Maya" of the Jagath. The word "Vishnu" here should not be understood as an individual wearing his insignia like Sanka and Chakra. The word "Vishnu" means omnipresence. For this mixture of truth and untruth Shankara gives the name "Mithya". So he says "Brahma Sathyam" and "Jagat-Mithya"
187. "Maya is the inseparable shadow of God"? Explain this term with reference to the Ramayana.
In the forest, we know Rama was leading and walking first; immediately behind him was Sita and behind Sita, Lakshmana was following. Rama represents God or 'Paramatma'; Sita represents 'Maya', and Lakshmana represents 'Jiva'. If Lakshmana (Jiva) has desire to have a look at God or Paramatma, Sita who is between, has to move away and let Lakshmana have the Darshan of Rama or Lakshmana has to move aside.
If you try to force Maya away, hate Maya and push her out of her way, then Maya will become angry. Not only that, God too will not allow such thing and we cannot get the grace of God. So the only way for a Jiva to see God and win his grace is to realise that Maya is the inseparable shadow of God Himself and pray in all humility and ask for an opportunity to have the vision of Lord. Then Maya herself will graciously move aside and will help the Jiva to have the Darshan of the Lord or God.
188. Who am I?
In order to understand this question we have to ask many more question like - 'Am I the body’? 'Am I the mind’? 'Am I the Anthakarana'? and so on. If you believe that you are the body, then what is the meaning of the statement we generally make namely, "my body"? Who is 'my', and who is the 'body'? When you say 'my body' it means you are separate and that 'I am' distinct from the body. Again when you say 'my mind' here too it is clear that 'I' is separate from 'mind'. In the same manner we are experiencing these things by saying "these are mine". Indian culture and teachings of Vedanta take you through making the statement "this is not I" 'this is not I' and so on until you are to realise what 'I' is. The real 'I' is the Atma.
189. Who is our true Kinsman or relation?
When a Kinsman dies, one says for example a mother; she has left me and gone away. But in reality who is it that has left? The body of the relative is still there, only the life has gone. The real mother is only the life. So once life has fled then we realise that the relationship which we were enjoyed was only bodily relationship which has no value. So anything that has been permanent was only in respect of the Divine Soul that is contained in the body and not the body itself before very clear. Therefore the one true relation, true friend, true guide can be God alone and none other.
190. When can we realise our own real form?
In the context of our believing that God is omnipresent, that God is present in front of you, and outside you, there is no need for you to give any special importance to what comes from outside. You have to believe that everything is contained within us. The essence of all the Vedas comes from within the man. It is not coming from outside. On account of ignorance, on account of some illusion and due to some of the actions of ourselves in the past births, we are thinking that there is something which is coming from outside into ourselves which has got some sanctity. This is not correct. It is illusion. It is only when we are able to throw away this illusion and overcome ignorance and understand that everything is within us and turns our attention inward, then we can realise our real form.
191. We have the story in our Mythology about the churning of the ocean with the "Manthara Parvatha". What is the inner significance?
In the parable we note that there was a hill called "Manthara Parvatha" and with this hill, the milk ocean, was churned with the "Rakshasas" or the bad qualities on one side and the "Devatas" or the good qualities on the other side. Out of the ocean came some good things like, diamonds, "Kalpavriksha" or desire-fulfilling tree, "Kamadhenu" or Divine cow that gives all that you want, and the "Amrutham" or the immortal nectar, and so on, as well as bad things like poison. It is outer story. The inner meaning is - our life itself is churned. The 'viveka' or wisdom is the source. The body is the churning vessel: Our "intelligence" is the "Manthara" hill put inside for churning. The essence of Vedanta is the milk with which we are churning. "Eada" and "Pingala" are the two nerves and these have been taken as rope for churning, taking the name of the God. The churning or the "Sadhana" or the practice has to go on.
Then there will arise what is called Divine Nectar.
192. Our life is compared to a football game by Bhagawan. How?
Our spiritual heart is the playground - one side is the "Arishad Vargas" or the six bad qualities. These bad qualities are:
1. Kama (Lust)
2. Krodha (Anger)
3. Lobha (Greed)
4. Moha (Attachment)
5. Mada (Arrogance)
6. Matsarya (Envy)
On the other side are six other players, the good qualities like:
1. Sathya (Truth)
2. Dharma (Righteousness)
3. Shanthi (Equanimity)
4. Prema (Love)
5. Ahimsa (Non-violence)
6. Poornathwa (Sense of fullness)
Dharma Vidhya - that is the education relating to this world and the Brahma Vidhya - that is education relating to outer world are the boundaries beyond which the ball should not go. The good people and the bad people are hitting the ball of the life. The bad people are having physical strength whereas good people are having Divine Strength. When and after what length of time we will achieve victory or send the ball to the goal is to be seen. Thus Bhagawan compare our life to a football game.
193. What is the inner meaning of the subtle sound we hear while breathing?
"Soham" - that is the way we take the breath in and breathe out. "So" stands for the word 'that' - 'That' means God or Brahman. "HAM" means 'I' or 'Me'. Thus when we breathe in we say 'So' and when we breathe out we say "Ham". So it makes the word "Soham"-"I am God".
194. We hear different sounds. Where from, do these different sound come?
In sound, the one that is all important is called Pranava. From this one single sound all other sounds emanate. Different sounds are mere transformations of "Ekoham Bahusyam". The one willed to become many.
195. Explain how Aum is "Ekaksharam Brahma" and Rama is no other than Omkara.
Just as for the Omkara, there are three principal sounds which go to make it up, namely A, U, M, Rama who is the embodiment of Dharma also has three supporting characters who are Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna. The sound A can be compared to Lakshmana. 'U' to Bharata and 'M' can be compared to Satrughna. The combination of all these three is Omkara, and Lakshmana, Bharata, Satrughna together make up Rama. Our Vedas and Upanishads teach us that Om is "Ekaksharam Brahma" or 'OM' is the one thing which is the same as Brahman: "Ekam Advithiyam Brahma" i.e., Brahman is the one and only one. Rama, who is no other than Omkara, has taken birth on the earth in order to establish Dharma or righteousness on the surface of the earth. Rama is God.
196. Ramayana has two other names. What are they?
The Ramayana has two alternative names and these are: (1) the killing of Ravana, (2) Seethaya Charita or the story of Sita, and Ramayana is called Srimad Ramayana because it describes all the great qualities of Sri Rama. It is also called "Seethaya Charita" because Sita is the ideal woman possessing all the qualities that an Indian woman should possess, such as chastity, purity and so on; and she even teaches Dharma to Rama. Because Ramayana describes all these qualities perfectly it is called "The Story of Sita" Ravana is a very powerful, knowledgeable person and achieved many great things. Though he had all these, he could not follow the righteous path; and because of this he was killed by Rama. Ravana did not have strength of Dharma. Since Ramayana teaches the moral that we should not give room in the field of our heart to bad deeds, and that the strength of Dharma is the real strength it is called "The story of the killing of Ravana".
197. Explain the term "Saguna Brahman" and "Nirguna Brahman".
To explain these terms let us also take the example "Uddalaka" the great guru gave to his son while explaining about Brahman. Take a pot filled with water, bring some sugar and mix it well in the water. We have seen the sugar before mixing. After mixing it with water can we tell where in that vessel does the sugar lie now?
The sugar will be there in every drop of the contents of the vessel. So also in Brahman who is "Nirguna" that is one without 'guna' or attributes and "Nirvikara" - the one without form, there are no limitations of space or time; this is called "Nirguna Brahman". This Brahman assumes the form of a "Saguna" or one who has attributes or 'guna' and comes into this world and resides in every being, in everything that you see around you in this world. It is not possible to see Him separately with our eyes, it is not possible to get hold of Him separately with your hands, but it is only possible to recognize him by experiencing Him in the state of the world. You cannot do anything more with your gross body than to experience Brahman who is omnipresent and all pervading.
198. God is present everywhere and anywhere. Why should one then go to a specific place or why should one go on pilgrimages and seek God only in those specific places?
Let us take the excellent example through which our Bhagawan Baba explains this.
Let us take a cow; inside the cow right through there is blood which is flowing in the body. We can infer that milk, can be, and is present all through the body of the cow. But if you get the ear of the cow and twist it, are you going to get milk? If you want to get milk, you can do so but there is a chance of your getting milk only from a specific place. So also while God is omnipresent and is everywhere, if you want to see Him. If you want to realise Him, then you have also to choose a place and a time. If we start our life by fixing a time and by fixing a form and begin our worship, gradually by our practice we reach a stage when out of that worship we will later on realise the Nirguna aspect of Brahman. Everything will appear to us later as one infinite thing. When we attain that state of Adwaita and transform the philosophy into our experience then you need not have to go to a specified place at all. We will realise that God is everywhere and is not bound by time and we will realise God within ourself. This is true God realisation.
199. What is meditation?
The concept of "Saguna" and "Sakara" we have to accept because with the help of that we can reach the goal of 'Nirguna' or 'Nirakara'. This process is called Meditation or 'Dhyana'.
200. What is the meaning of Dhyana?
Unless there is an object on which you could meditate, it is not possible to meditate. This is called Dhyana. Process in which you meditate is called "Dhyana". The person who is meditating is called "Dhyatha". You Dhyatha, through Dhyana, have to reach and experience the object of meditation or the Dhyeya. When we go through the process of meditation, then all three coalesce into one. One who gives Prema, one who receives Prema, and the process of Prema, all three are one. Even if one of these three is missing, it is not possible to realise completeness. In all these three, Prema is present to the same extent. This is referred to by saying "Love is God and live in love".
201. How to do Dhyana?
For Dhyana, the time is important. During the period, called the "Brahma Muhurtha" which is from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. you will have to meditate at the same time every day. Sit on a wooden plank on padmasana style. Have a small Jyothi or a candle light in front of you, you look at that "Jyothi", well with open eyes. After a minute, close your eyes; feel the light in the centre of the eyebrows and gradually lead it into the heart. Have the feeling that inside the lotus of your heart, right at the centre is the Jyothi; if you cannot picture like that look at the Jyothi again and try. After that, you take the Jyothi from the centre of the heart and move it to each part of your body - bring it to your neck, from neck bring it to your mouth, from the mouth bring it to your hand, from the hand take it to your head, from the head bring it out all around you, give it to those who are related to you, affectionate to you, your friends and also to your enemies. Then you spread this light to all birds, beasts, everything around you. End your Dhyana with a prayer to your indwelling God - "Asathoma Sath Gamaya, Thamasoma jyotirgamaya, Mrithyoma Amritham Gamaya" - Meaning, lead me from Ajnana to Jnana, from Darkness to Light and from Mortality to Immortality.
202. What is the use of this Dhyana?
Where this Jyothi or light has moved, during Dhyana there will be no darkness. Our Upanishads have said "Thamasoma Jyotirgamaya" in this context. Since this Jyothi has reached your eyes, you will no longer have any bad vision or bad sight. Because this Jyothi has gone to your ears you will not her evil, because this Jyothi has reached the tongue, you will no longer utter any bad words. Since Jyothi has reached your head, evil thoughts will not enter your head or arise in you. Because the Jyothi has reached your heart, no bad ideas can enter your heart. Since the Jyothi has traveled through your hand and feet, you will no longer engage in bad acts and your feet should no longer walk into bad places. Feel so by this meditation, not only bad traits in you will have been removed, but in their place noble and sacred ideas and sacred actions would have entered. Not only that, you would be able to get the glorious Darshan of Iswara, or you would experience Adwaita, the experience of oneness, because the light that is in you is present in all human beings, because the light that is present in you is present in everything and in everywhere.
203. Can we not meditate on one of the forms of God?
A form is not a permanent thing. It is not right that you should put your concentration on something which will change, which is not permanent. You must have something which will not change. Having the Jyothi which does not change, in your meditation you can certainly see in it, the 'Rupa' or form which you like and which you want to pray to. From one Jyothi you can light a number of Jyoti's but still the Jyothi will not change or lose. The first Jyothi is called 'Akanda Jyothi'. Those who light their lights are called Jeevan Jyothis. The result of the meditation, will be that this single Jeevan Jyothi will merge itself in Akanda Jyothi and will reach Adwaita or the Oneness of this world or the entire creation. So we have a light in front of us during meditation.
204. What is "Prarabhda" Karma? What is 'Sanchita' and what is 'Agami' Karma?
Prarabhda Karma is that which we are presently, undergoing and experiencing. "Sanchita" means all the past karmas and 'Agami' refers to Karma that will follow in future. Prarabhda is in between the Sanchita and Agami and we are experiencing this Prarabhda on account of the Sanchita. The result of what we do will come in future. Even though there is Sanchita, if you try to behave in a sathwic way, in a pious and good way, you will be able to change even Sanchita. but if we perform all actions for the pleasure and glory of God, no Prarabhda will trouble us: (From the example of Dhruva and Markandeya, we know how karma can be overcome). So even though Prarabhda is there, the grace of God will certainly remove to a large extent the bad effects. If we can become beneficiaries of God's grace, we need not be afraid of either Prarabhda or Sanchita or Agami. So "be good, do good and see good; that is the way to God" says Bhagawan Baba.
205. What is the inner significance of the story of Gajendra Moksha?
Gajendra was a king in his previous birth and he became an elephant on account of a curse given to him by a sage. Here king signifies Atma. Atma is the king and Paramatma is the king master. This elephant forgot the Atma Tathva and he was leading a life of attachment and illusion, entering the forest of life. Wandering in the forest of life it became thirsty. This thirst relates to the enjoyment of the senses. Immediately it saw a lake. This lake signifies worldly desires and that is called the Samsara. He wanted to enjoy the pleasure of Samsara and entered the lake. At once a crocodile, which can be compared to 'Mamakara' or attachment and 'Ahamkara' or ego, caught hold of its leg. The elephant was not able to escape from it. It tried all its physical and mental strength but in vain. At last it prayed for God's help. Similarly we are leading our lives entirely depending upon the strength of the body and mind. But these are not capable of giving happiness or peace. When we dedicate these two strengths to God and think that everything depends upon the grace of God, then we may get peace and happiness with the grace of God. When the elephant prayed, God sent his Chakra called "Sudarsana Chakra" and killed the crocodile and saved the elephant. The inner meaning of 'Sudarsana' is "Su" means good - Darshan means vision. So Sudarsana is not merely a weapon or instrument: it is the good look of God, when elephant turned his sight to God, the look of God also turned towards the elephant. So also our Bhagawan says "You look to me and I shall certainly look to you".
206. What is the one thing we must first try to know?
You first try to know yourself. The attempt to know yourself is called "Sankhyajnana" and "Tarkajnana" is that by which to know what the 'I' is and where from this 'I' has come. Living steadily in the state of 'I' if a person tries to know the truth, that state is called 'Amanaska'. So every individual should try to know and attain the state of complete "Amanaska".
207. What is ours in Reality?
We are under the mistaken idea that one thing or another is ours but this is incorrect. This body is not ours, this mind, this life itself is not ours, since nothing is under our control. There are several divisions in our body like (1) Annamaya (Physical strength), (2) Pranamaya (subtle body), (3) Manomaya, (4) Vignanamaya, and (5) Anandamaya. As long as man depends on annamaya kosa he will not be able to know the vital things and will live like animal. When man depends on pranamaya kosa, he partakes in it in the belief that there is God. When he tries to realise the Vignanamaya he will know the happiness and sorrow and finally when we realise that nothing belongs to us, we enter the Anandmaya kosa and enjoy bliss. Everything is created by God and belongs to God. Ours in reality is only the experience of Unity with God.
208. What are the three types of Sathya ordinarily known? Explain how in reality truth is only one?
We are told that there are three truths: (1) Prathibhasika Sathya, (2) Vyavaharika Sathya, and (3) Paramarthika Sathya. Truth is only one and it is never three fold. We only think that it is of three kinds (1) For example when there is a little light and a little darkness, we come by a rope and mistake it to be a snake. In reality the snake is only in our mind and the thing that is really there is another thing, the rope. This is "Prathibhasika Sathya". This Sathya has neither basis nor existence. (2) If we stand before a mirror, we see our reflection in it. When we move away, the reflection vanishes. Here there is one basis, namely, the original thing, without original there is no reflection. This is 'Vyavaharika Sathya'. (3) On the other hand 'Paramarthika Sathya' is an Entity which is present everywhere and at all times. This is the true and eternal reality. Even though we see many forms, many names, various things, many races, many creeds and many castes in this world, we must know that the God is present in all of them; the inner Being, is in reality only one.
209. Who is a 'Sthitaprajna'. How to attain that State of mind?
A Sthitaprajna is one who is neither elated by joy nor depressed by sorrow. He has got equanimity of mind. To attain this state one has to have complete control over his senses. Though it is not easy to control the senses it is easy to divert all of them in the direction of God and give them a new orientation. By directing the powers of your senses towards God all impurities of the senses are eliminated in the process. The first step is cultivation of love towards all living creatures. This is the first and important step. One who is able to control and overcome his anger, ego and attachments becomes a great yogi. We must realise that anger, pride, and other passions reduce man to the level of an animal. So recognise vignana, pragnana and sugnana which are latent in man and direct the senses along the proper channel and thus achieve the highest state of supreme bliss.
210. How is one's anger the greatest enemy and one's calmness is one's own protection?
It is true that anger is one's greatest enemy and calmness is the best Armour. If a person is angry he, loses all calmness and becomes a worried man. In reality one's joy is one's heaven and one's sorrow is one's hell. He who is possessed by anger will be hated by people, because he will commit bad deeds and great sins as well. At times Ego also enters the feelings of anger. Anger is caused by weakness of mind. When we become angry, our nerves become weak and feeble and we lose as much strength as we gather by eating good food for three months. Anger not only debilitates us and takes away the merit of our good deeds, but also enfeebles our condition. If we are able to control anger we can attain merit through, the utterance of the Lord's name, Calmness gives strength to our mind and gives us a state of "Sthitapragna" or equanimity of mind. In order to attain this state try to fill the mind with good thoughts, good feelings and good ideas. So it is living death, if one is stressed by pride, ego and anger. A state of mind in which one overcomes these feelings and attain calmness is called Sthitapragna. This calmness is our own protection.
211. What is "Sathwic Food"?
Many people think that sathwic diet consists of milk, curd and other things. We must try to know the real nature of sathwic food. Sathwic diet does not mean simply the food we take through our mouth, which is only one among our five senses, but also means the pure air, we breathe, the pure vision we see through our eyes, the pure sound we listen and pure objects we touch through our feel. All that we take in through the doors of the five senses may be described as the sathwic diet. All the five senses it must be pure and immaculate. Then, we must endeavor to gain mastery over our senses.
212. What is the real inner meaning contained in the statement that Lord sleeps on "Ksheera Sagara", the ocean of the milk?
We all know about the Lord who sleeps on "Ksheerasagara" or the ocean of milk. Our "Anthakarana" or the inner subtle body is the "ksheerasagara" or the ocean of milk. And that which remains after Dhyana - the sesha or the remnant is the "Adisesha" or the great Serpent. The consciousness that lies in between the two is Lord "Vishnu" Himself. And the one who worships or the worshipper is Goddess Lakshmi. Several great man has taught us how to make God steep on the ocean of milk or our own "Anthakarana" or in our own heart. There is a hidden meaning as to why we think of the 'Sadhaks' as Lakshmi. Unless the inert nature is completely shaken off, the Jeevi cannot be called Purusha. It is possible to attain that principle of Purusha through the feminine nature of stree-thatva. This is the inner meaning of 'Ksheera-Sayana' of our Lord.
213. What is "Jadathwa" or inertness is? Explain in detail.
There are five phases or aspects of this inertness. They are (1) Ghatakasa, (2) Jalakasa, (3) Daharakasa, (4) Chidakasa, and (5) Mahadakasa.
(1) The name refers only to the body and not to the Atma in it. Ghatakasha is that state which says, "This is I". Even when we are lost in the knowledge of body, still there is that feel for the Atma within us. This is like the sky within the pot.
(2) The "Jalakasa" is that state which is full of "sankalpa" or intention and may be described as the sky reflected in the water. The 'sankalpa' and 'vikalpa' in us are the water.
(3) 'Daharakasa' is the state when one looks at Sankalpas and 'Vikalpas' but one is aware that he is looking at them; for example when the image is hurt physically by anybody, that injury is not felt by the object, but when the image is insulted and abused by anybody then the object, whose reflection is found in the water, also feels the insult. So in 'Sabda' or sound there is unity, but in action or 'kriya' there is no unity. And the nature of 'sabda Brahma Tathva' is hidden here. Thus in Jalakasa we also find the nature of 'Daharakasa'.
(4) Now coming to 'Chidakasa', this refers to man remaining a mere spectator. "Chidakasa" is a state when man without being, upset, without being in any way influenced by emotion, just observes and remains like an observer or a spectator whatever may happen to the body - it may be insulted or injured - the person is not affected by them - he is always engrossed in higher consciousness. This state is "Chidakasa".
(5) The pot may be broken, the pond may run dry but the 'Akasha' stands there. The great sky is the state known as 'Mahadakasa'. Nirvikalpa is the state attained by controlling the senses and under this state it is possible to realise this highest state of realisation and that is the nature of 'Mahadakasa'. And the 'Mahadakasa' is called 'Akasha' because it has an element of 'Jada' or inertness in it. The sky is known by several name such as 'akasa', 'gagana', 'soonya' or nothingness and so on. The state of nothingness is called by this name of sky. We call "Hridayakasa" to refer the heart because there is no shape for the 'hridya' or heart in spiritual sense. So, 'Akasha' has to be cleared of all base, intentions and instincts, all 'sankalpas' and 'vikalpas'. By God's grace it is possible to go straight to the state of "Mahadakasa" without passing through all the various stages of Ghatakasa and Jalakasa and so on.
214. Where that luminous "Chitshakti" which is our 'Atma' resides?
All the figures that we find in the world are only projections of the "Chidakasa". It is the atma that projects on the screen the several figures that are seen to move as in a cinema. When we close our eyes we see no one but all these people must be there. When the eyes are opened, their all these appearances are seen through the eyes, but all these appearances do not flash upon the eyes and enter the eyes. One light is projected from the eyes. The light is not projected by the object upon the eyes. For example, the sun illuminates the whole universe. The universe do not illuminate the sun. The moon is like the mirror and the light of the sun is reflected on the surface of the moon and therefore it is cool and pleasant. Our Vedas say that the moon is like the mind which reflects the glory of the soul. Of the light of the 'Atma' is reflected in the mirror of the 'Buddhi' or intelligence, then the entire dark mind may be seen shining with the light. Mind is responsible for our being to derive "Prajnana" - even though we are in the state of 'Ajnana'. When we turn our Buddhi towards 'Atma', we shall be able to dispel all the darkness from our mind Atma is the master of intelligence and what is grasped in the intelligence is beyond the senses.
215. Explain how Dharma has lost its Padas in spite of the appearance of the great Avatars?
Bhagawan Baba says that Dharma used to live and move about in 'Krithayuga' on four feet. The four feet are : (1) "Yagna" (2) "Yaga" (3) "Yoga", and (4) "Thapas". Rishis of Kritha Yuga followed all these four padas in order to harmonise thought, word, and deed. The loss of one 'Pada' in Treta Yuga really means the loss, of one sadhana - namely Thapas. In the Dwapara Yuga with the help of only two Yogas and Yagna was possible to attain Dharma. In Kaliyuga Dharma has only one 'pada' namely Yoga, that is, Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion. Thus the inner meaning is that they have facilitated the process. Avatar has eliminated the difficult ones. So Dharma has not changed. Only the means of attainment have been facilitated. Until you are one year old you use four legs (two hands and two legs to walk), later 3 legs (two legs and one helping hand), then two legs and later you start running; in this state you use only one leg actually one after the other. Dharma is imperishable and indestructible. The Avatars have taken place only to facilitate the path of attaining this Dharma.
216. Where does the Atma go after the death of the body?
There is only one reality just as there is only one Sun. Likewise, this body may be compared with the pot which is filled with water and one and the same Atma is reflected in each pot and though each image appears to be separate. When the pot breaks and the water spills on the ground, where does the Sun, who has hitherto been 'reflected' in the water go? The Sun has not come and has not gone. But he has appeared as a reflection because there is pot and there is the water in the pot. The value of the pot varies according to the material with which it is made but the reflection has the same value. So also Atma Swarupa has the same value. So all the differences are illusory. The Atma Tathva is one and indivisible.
217. What are the three types of Karma?
Though the path of Karma is difficult, it gives us varied experiences. There are three kinds of Karmas, namely, 'Karma', 'Vikarma', and 'Akarma'. Karma may be described as the ordained duty; Vikarma deals with actions which are prohibited. But such actions if and when they are undertaken for God realisation, become sanctified. Akarma is described as pure laziness or inertness. Karma is our responsibility since our birth. So Gita refers to man as 'Karmaja',
218. What does the Gita say regarding Karma?
Action will always lead to reward or fruit. The fruit of an action is a reaction, a reflection and a resound of the action itself. But the Gita teaches us that the actions we undertake must be free from consideration for reward or fruit.
Many say man has only the right to act and has no right to claim the fruit of that action. But it is wrong. The Gita has not said that man has no authority to enjoy the fruit of action. Gita has said that man should voluntarily give up the right to enjoy the fruit of the action. It has not said, "Na Phaleshu" or there is no fruit. It has said "Ma Phuleshu" or though there is the fruit, the injunction is that you must give up the desire for the fruit of action.
219. What is perfect Bliss?
When we throw anything into this great fire which is generated through the vital airs of our bodies, then it is transformed into something sacred. Through the process of dedication, jiva is transmuted into the Iswara, and then elevated into the highest state of delight. In that state, he will be absolutely silent and he is absorbed in the supreme bliss. This may be described as perfect bliss. God who is Mahakarma Swarupa has assumed the karma roopa and appears as Krishna. When Krishna in a Karma roopa is delivering the message Arjuna prayed to the Lord to remove the Veil which is born in sthula roopa and only when it was removed, he could assimilate the Gita and have a glimpse of the Viswa Roopa. Dhritarashtra also listened to the same Gita. He could not find any wisdom in it, because he simply listened to it in his Sthula roopa (gross mind). So an awakened consciousness is important for our enjoyment.
220. Into how many parts all our enjoyment can be classified?
All our enjoyment may be classified into three parts (1) "Priya", (2) "Moda" and (3) "Pramoda". When we look at an object which is after our own liking and feel happy about it, it is 'Priya'. 'Moda' is the joy we feel when we acquire that object we like. 'Pramoda' is the highest joy, the joy we feel at what we have really acquired. We must develop an attitude of Pramoda and through it develop Priya. We cannot enjoy real happiness first by Moda and Priya. For example, you want to have the Darshans of the form of God. If you only look at it, it is 'Priya' and it does give you much satisfaction. If you try to gain and master it, it gives greater happiness; when you are able to enjoy it completely that is Pramoda. In that state only you become a part of it and enjoy highest happiness. Example, only seeing the mango in the market is Priya. Acquiring it by purchasing the item may be compared to Moda. Finally only by eating that mango we can enjoy the taste. This can be compared to Pramoda.
221. Krishna was all pervading and yet the same Krishna was responsible for the destruction of forty Lakhs of men on the battle-field. Was it violence or non-violence?
An individual, let us say, has developed cancer on his back. There are millions of germs in that cancerous boil. Does the doctor pause and ask "Should I kill so many millions of germs? Is it not the duty of the doctor to save the life of the patient? Which is of greater importance? The doctor comes to the conclusion that to save the life of the patient he must kill the dangerous germs. He considers quality and not quantity. In the same way, the world at that time had developed cancer in the shape of Kauravas. Lord Krishna became a surgeon, took Arjuna as His assistant and performed the great operation because the protection of Dharma is more important than anything else. So in this case, it cannot be called as violence at all.
222. What is 'Kshetra' and what is 'Kshetragna'?
The principle which is changeless is Brahmatatva. Human life is made up of several stages. Birth, growth, ageing, getting debilitated and death are the various stages of the changing body. So the body is full of 'Vikaras' but the atma is the 'Nirvikara'. These are referred to in the Gita as 'Kshetra' and 'Kshetragna'. Kshetra is the body which is the field and the Kshetragna is Paramatma. We visit the field not to see the field but to see the master of the field that is God.
223. What is the difference between Kshetra and Kshetragna?
In the Gita Lord Krishna says He is both the Kshetra and Kshetragna. The Kshetra is not useful without the Kshetragna and vice versa. Both are inter-dependent and God is prevading through both, but there is a little difference between these two. When we take the syllables of these two words 'Kshetra' and 'Kshetragna', the syllable 'gna' is an addition in the word 'Kshetragna'. 'Gna' means 'Gnana'. Since in this Kshetra of our body, the God himself who is 'Gnana Swarupa' is residing, God is known as Kshetragna. We will never enter into bad ways and have evil thoughts when we bear in mind that Kshetra which is almost inert becomes sanctified by the residence of Kshetragna which is "Gnana Swarupa" or God.
224. What is the lesson we derive from Mahabharatha? Explain the inner significance of the Great Epic Mahabharatha?
The lesson we derive from Mahabharatha is that real strength is 'Daivabala' and 'Dharmabala' i.e. the strength that comes from God and from Dharma. The inner meaning of Mahabharatha is that the Pandavas are like the five Pranas in our body and the body is like Hastinapura, the city in which they lived. The human body should be considered as 'Hastinapura' which had nine gates like our body. The Pandavas are of Sathwic nature. On the other side are the Kauravas who have the rajasic and tamasic qualities. 'Pandu' means white - so pure. The action of purifying is called the battle. The battle is really between good qualities and bad qualities. If we install God in the chariot of our heart, He will lead us to success. Where Dharma is, there God is and where God is, there will be victory.
225. Do the objects we offer during Pooja, have an Allegorical significance?
We offer to God articles like leaf, flower, water, and fruit. We offer these things to God not because God does not possess all these things, nor is he just pleased with these ordinary things. In fact everything is created by God and belongs to God. All the objects we offer, therefore, have allegorical significance.
The word 'leaf' does not refer to 'Tulsi' or any other ordinary leaf. Our body is a leaf; this body is full of the three Gunas. The word 'Pushpa' stands for the flower of the heart and not earth flowers, which fade away. Similarly, the word 'fruit' means the fruit of the mind. It means that we must do our deeds without expecting any reward and if action is done in that sprit, it becomes a holy sacrifice. Water does not mean that which is drawn from the walls. It refers to the tears of joy which springs from the depth of the heart out of devotion of God. We must offer all these from the tree of our body which is sacred to God; then grace will be bestowed on us.
226. What is the inner meaning of offering coconut to God?
The heart is the coconut and it is covered by the fibre of desires. The water that flows out is the 'samskara' or 'earned merit'. The fibres on the surface are the desires. We must strip the heart of all desires and offer the core without the fibre. It then becomes an offering to God. If we try to get the kernel out, plant it and water it, nothing will happen. Our body may be compared to the shell and our life to the kernel. Our Samskaras are the water inside the coconut. As long as there are Samskaras within us, the heart will always cling to the body consciousness just as the kernel clings to the fruit. Control over the senses is the golden way to get rid of evil tendencies. Any action good or bad can be compared to seeds. In order not to sow such seeds. We should do all actions without desire. All action should be done in and only for the pleasure of God.
227. What is the real nature and meaning of "Yagna"?
The real nature and meaning of "Yagna" is the overcoming of all evil tendencies, throwing them into the fire of sacrifice. This is described as "bhootabali". The word 'bhootabali' has been misinterpreted as "animal sacrifice", and this has given rise to evil practices. 'Bali' means tax. By sacrificing all our evil tendencies as tax to God we are blessed with what man badly needs in this world. The sages used to perform "Yagnas" and "Yagas" for gaining mastery over their senses and desires.
228. Virtue cannot be practiced in vacuum. Explain.
If we improve our Sathwic tendency, we will be able to gain control over Tamasic and Rajasic tendencies. If we are angry with anybody, try to think of the good qualities of the person. Anger will gradually subside. Our anger grows by leaps and bounds, if we think only of the weakness of the person, there will be no place for anger, if we always dwell on the good points of every individual. Our ancients have given us the path of Yoga and Dhyana to over come evils and gain control over our senses. To control anger and hatred, ancient sages have left their villages and gone into the forest. But if you live in a forest where there is no room for anger and say that you have controlled your anger, it is not victory. Today it is not necessary to retire to the forest. If you live in an atmosphere of anger and are able to control it, then it is a meritorious achievement. So Bhagawan Baba says virtues cannot be practiced in vacuum.
229. What is the method to reach the higher attitudes of living?
We describe Lord Krishna as wearing "Kasturi Thilaka" and Kankanas. Lord Krishna has taken two pledges and so the Kankanas. The Pledges are to protect the right and the good, to protect Dharma when in danger and the second is to look after the welfare of those who devote themselves with single mindedness to God and think only of Him. Lord says "If you think of me only and of none else and if you worship, I shall take care of your welfare". So think of God as soon as you get up from bed - place your trouble and burdens at the feet of the Lord and pray to Him to guide you through life and give you only good thoughts and noble ideas which always serve as uplifting factors in life. When you go to bed at night, tell yourself that during the day you have acted according to the Lord's will and ask forgiveness if there is anything wrong and ask for His help not to repeat the wrong again. Even during your bath, if you remember the name of the God, it will be like bathing the form of God. If you offer food to God before eating, it becomes Prasadam and, all the evils are eliminated and if you take such food, you become healthy and pure. Taking active part in Seva and helping the suffering and poor and needy, and doing Nama Sankirthan are some of the means to win God's grace. Whatever you do, do it remembering God and with an attitude of pleasing God. If you try to live in such a way, it will help you to reach higher attitudes of living. As our Bhagawan Baba advises, try to do good, and see good and try to be good. That is the way to God.
230. Why namasankirthan is important for spiritual Sadhana? Is it not enough to think of God in our mind?
The mouth is the main entrance to the house, the body, and so the sacred flame of the holy name sheds light inward and outward, if we do Nama sankirthan. The birds that perch on the tree of our life are the bad qualities and bad desires and the name and 'Tala' of Nama sankirthan will drive them away. If the birds, try to come again, do Nama sankirthan continuously, they will stop coming. The tongue of man is the holiest instrument because it can utter the sweet name of God. To purify our mind and to prevent the bad tendencies from entering our heart and thought, it is not enough to think of God. In addition, Nama sankirthan is also very important. The name of the Lord must dance on our tongue for ever.
231. What are the two things one must forget and the two things one must always remember?
There are two things, one must forget; you must forget what ever help you have done to others. Secondly, you must forget whatever harms others have done to you. Because when you remember the harm done by others to you, you will always try to take revenge on them. It is bad. When you remember the help rendered by you to some one then you will be looking forward for the reward. That too will lead to disappointment and grief. On the contrary, there are two things that you must always remember. One is that God is one, and the other is that death is one. These two are eternal truths. The last journey i.e., you death can neither be cancelled nor postponed. So each individual must be prepared to face the death and should not waste this human birth which is very rare to get. He should use this life for realising God and must try to lead a good life.
232. What are the four wheels of the chariot that lead man safely to his destination?
The four wheels of the chariot that lead man safely to his destination are (1) character, (2) truth, (3) sacrifice and (4) tolerance. We should try to install God in our heart and pray to him to drive such a chariot safely to the destination. With His grace, we can achieve success in our life journey.
233. What are the four steps to reach the destination of God?
It is Baba's view that each individual should be guided on the four-fold path of (1) Self-confidence, (2) Self-satisfaction, (3) Self-sacrifice, and (4) Self-realisation. Self-confidence comes of as intensity and earnestness of aspiration which makes a person march towards his goal, regardless of all difficulties on the way. Self satisfaction is born of the fact that he has been able to put his goal first before everything else and pursue it single-mindedly. When he has settled down to the quest, it is a pleasure for him to spend all his energies for its fulfillment, even beyond his normal capacities. In this way, the seeker becomes one with his goal, the devoted with God. God - says Baba - is so much inter twined in every word and thought of the people. So to reach the goal of God-realisation we have to climb these four steps.
234. What is the meaning of the prayer?
"Asatoma Sad Gamaya,
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya,
Mrit Yor Ma Amritam Gamaya"
Man's ultimate abode is God. The infinite or God is the chief goal of the finite (Man). The Existence of man is limited by Maya or illusion, ajnana (lack of wisdom) and tamas (darkness). We live in a world of pluralities, of constant change and subject to all ills of such as existence, sickness, sorrow and suffering. We must find the unity in diversity and must be taken into the One, from which there is no return or rebirth. The above prayer expresses the essence of all ideas of the Upanishads.
"Asathoma sad gamaya" means "lead us from falsehood to truth". "Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya" means "lead us from darkness to illumination", and "Mrityorma Amritam gamaya" means "lead us from death or mortality to immortality".
235. What is Bhakti and what are the different types of Bhakti?
Bhakti is devotion to God. Supreme love for god is known as Bhakti. The great Bhakta Naradha says: ''Satwasmin parama Prema rupa". Bhakti expresses itself as the most intense form of devotion to 'That' or God. Sometimes Bhakti has been classified according to "Gunas" such as satwik Bhakti (God is propitiated by good deeds, love, self satisfaction and renunciation). (2) Tamasic Bhakti (by animal sacrifice and other cruelties), (3) Rajasa Bhakti involves himsa or violence, (4) the highest Bhakti is what is called "Para Bhakti" is classified into five types. (1) Shantha Bhakti, (2) Dasya Bhakti, (3) Sakhya Bhakti, (4) Vatsalya Bhakti, (5) Madhura Bhakti.
(1) Shantha Bhakti is like satwik Bhakti, makes the devotee absolutely devoted to God. He has no other desire. He lives free from worries and troubles and always seeks peace and inner tranquility. Example: Ambarisha, Bhishma etc.
(2) Dasya Bhakti is like the utter devotion of a loyal servant to his Lord and master. It is complete self-surrender. It makes the devotee an absolute 'slave' of God, ready at all times to serve Him and obey His every wish and command. Example: Guha, Sabari and Hanuman.
(3) Sakhya Bhakti - God is the devotee's friend with whom his relations are most intimate. Mutual love and trust bind God and His devotee. God, like a true friend, guides and protects the devotee. Example: Arjuna and Kuchela.
(4) Vatsalya Bhakti is unique. It is the feeling of intense love which the mother has for her child. The Supreme God loses His "distance" and comes close to the devotee as a child is to its mother. It is pure love, like the love of mother, without limit and without any desire for reward, absolutely unselfish. Example: Dasaratha, Kausalya, Nanda and Yasoda.
(5) Madhura Bhakti: Madhura means "Sweet". The devotee Feels ecstatic in the presence of God who is the Supreme, Divine lover. In Madhura Bhakti, the devotee cannot bear separation from the Lord and it is delight and overwhelming 'Ananda'. Example: the love of Gopis of Brindavan, Radha, Meera. Their love is not mere lust. They dedicated their lives to the service of God. Whatever may be the type of Bhakti one possesses, if he is devoted to God, and remember Him always, every where, without allowing the mind to wander, then he can easily attain God and win His grace and that is supreme bliss. Bhakti leads to Shakti and Shakti will grant Yukti. The Yukti will help you to fix your rakthi or attachment on the proper objects and your Bhakti thus promoted finally results in Mukti.
TO BE CONTINUED …
Source: GUIDE TO INDIAN CULTURE AND SPIRITUALITY Published by
Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust Prashanthi Nilayam, India
Sent with Sai love by Sai brother M. Palaniswamy, ‘saidevotees_worldnet’