The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
“Beware of Barriers”
February 29th, 2004
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
knowledge is a barrier in spirituality
We started our session ten minutes late, for reasons best known to you. I have been thinking about what I should talk about this morning. I selected the topic, “Beware of Barriers.” I certainly hope that you will find something useful, profitable and meaningful, and that you will benefit from listening.
What is the first barrier in spirituality? The first barrier in spirituality is knowledge. This may be a shock to many people. It may not be acceptable to many others, and it may sound meaningless to the rest. But it is the fact of facts. Knowledge is the first barrier.
Let us beware of this barrier of knowledge. Why? Knowledge is a thing that you gather or collect from books written by somebody else. It comes from their past. It cannot be your experience. It cannot be your own understanding. It cannot be your own creativity. It is only second-hand information. I am not overstating this. It is a barrier.
That is the reason why many of these scholars are not necessarily eminent devotees. Many of them are very good in their scholarship. They are very good in their interpretation. But as devotees, they may not be that good because their knowledge is a barrier.
Why? A man of knowledge feels that he knows everything. Once I start feeling that I know, I stop growing. There is no hope of growth. Knowledge gives the false feeling of having known that which is not known. After all, what he knows are some facts and figures; or a few quotations and verses which he could understand to repeat and quote, and at the conclusion be applauded. That shows a scholar or a well-read man!
Life is not for reading. For spirituality, reading is a barrier. Knowledge is certainly not the path towards realisation.
Many times Baba has said, “The table with many bottles, tablets, capsules, or syringes on it, proclaims that the master of the house has been a successful patient for a long period.”
He has many capsules and tablets. Likewise, if my office table is full of books, it only means I am a patient who immediately needs a cure through worldly experiences. Experience is the cure for the disease of ignorance, not knowledge. What do these people of knowledge do? What do they have? At their fingertips, they have insignificant and nonsensical details, which are irrelevant and silly.
Baba gave one example: One fellow went to a mango garden. There he saw mango fruits, which were quite ripe. This fellow called the gardener and asked him, “What is the plinth area of this mango garden?”
The gardener answered him, and the man replied, “Oh, I see.”
Then he asked, ““How many trees are here?”
Again the gardener answered and the man replied, “Oho!
Then he asked, “How much fruit does each tree bear?” “How long does it take for the fruit to ripen?” “How much money do you make? The rebate, the commission, the wholesale, the large scale?”
He continued discussing the method of manuring, the process of cultivation, the number of trees and the number of fruits, but he did not eat the fruit. Whereas, a young boy came along, jumped up, plucked the fruit and ate it. Now who is the wise man?
The one who eats the mango fruit is more practical. He has had more of an experience than the fellow collecting data about the mango garden. Yet, that is what the scholar does; that is what a man of letters does. It is a foolish verbal literary gimmick, which does not quench the appetite at all.
Therefore, the first barrier to spirituality is knowledge. This fact that knowledge is a barrier comes from Bhagavan’s discourses, and from the teachers of all times. It is not my own concoction. People who differ with me on this should pardon me, because these are not my ideas. If you are capable of pardoning Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, then that is what you should do. It is what they all have said.
Another point: Due to knowledge taken from a book, most people say, “I know.”
Suppose someone says, “Sir, this is what Swami said; so I know.”
We should tell him, “You do not know that you do not know.”
When can you say, “I know”? You can say, “I know” only when you have experienced the truth of it, when you have experienced the validity of it, when you have had the experience in your daily life. You cannot simply say, “I know” because you have read a book on it.
Baba has said, “Repeatedly, I speak about Love, Devotion, Prema and Bhakti. Because I always speak about Love, some people say, ‘Swami, don’t You get bored speaking about Love? It must be boring, really, the many millions of times You speak of it.’”
Swami said, “I will repeat it again and again until you start loving people.”
You need to be taught about Love until you can Love. Similarly we should never say, “I know,” until we experience what we say we know.
The fact that we say, “I know” is only verbal, textual, and academic, with no relevance in daily life. This is the point, my friends. If you say, “I know this; I know that; I know you,” who are you? Are you the known? No! Are you the process for knowing? No! Who are you? The knower! Am I clear? You are the knower! I know! Who is this ‘I‘, the one who knows? Therefore, if you say, “I know,” it means you do not know because you are the knower. The one who knows is God.
So all the knowledge, all the books that we gather, all that we say, all that we share in conversation, that is the real knower, and that knower is God Himself. Therefore, when the knower tries to know everything, what is it that the knower does not know? If we say knowledge is known by the knower, then he is more than the known. You understand!
I am more than the pen I hold. I do not think that my pen is greater than I am, unless I am from a lunatic asylum. Right! I am more than the pen. Similarly, the knower is more than the known. So, all that is known is knowledge. The one who knows, the knower, is more than the knowledge. Therefore, this knowledge is inferior to the knower. Knowledge will not help you.
The second thing: Suppose I say, “I have seen this; I have seen you.” Who are you? Are you the seen? Yes. You are the seen; I am seeing you. The mike is the seen; I am seeing it. The pen is the seen; I am seeing it.
Then who am I? I am the seer. If we accept that the seer is greater than the seen, then all that is seen is inferior, when compared to the seer, and all that is known is inferior when compared to the knower.
Therefore my friends, knowledge does not speak of the knower. Knowledge does not speak of the seer. Knowledge refers only to the known and the seen. That’s all! The knower cannot be known. The seer cannot be seen. I am not playing with words, my friends. I am not yet capable of literary gimmicks.
You may be thinking that it is impossible, that I cannot see. Well, see your back if you can. Can you see your back? Try! If you turn again and again, the head will remain like that for sometime. It won’t come back to normal. (Laughter) Can you see your ear? The ear and eye are near, but they do not see each other. Similarly, you are the seer, whom you cannot see. You are the knower, whom you cannot know. So, that which is not known is the knower. That which cannot be seen is the seer. Knowledge cannot help you.
So the first barrier, the first obstacle, the first bottleneck in the field of spiritual comprehension is knowledge. Those that boast of knowledge deserve sympathy and pity, because knowledge is a poor instrument with which to know and experience God.
Baba goes one step further. Baba is Ultimate Reality. All teachers and seers stop at one level, but Baba goes one step beyond. He is the latest God, you know? He will not stop you at the previous century. He will take you to the present century.
Unless you empty your head, you cannot experience God. Empty your head! The head is full of nonsense. The head is full of matter only to spew out and repeat. Therefore, empty your head. If the head has information, this will prejudice you; it will make you biased and partial. You cannot be open to experience. Therefore, empty your head. That is what Bhagavan said. When your head is empty, the flower of enlightenment can bloom. When the manifestation of Divinity starts blossoming, the flower of the Self starts opening.
FEAR OF GOD IS a BARRIER in spirituality
The second obstacle is fear of God. Ask anybody, “Why do you go to a temple?”
“I go to the temple so that I may not have difficulties in life.” Oho!
“Why do you go for darshan?”
“If I don’t go for darshan this evening, Swami may not look at me.” Oho!
“Why do you go for darshan?”
“If I don’t go, I may be asked to leave the ashram. So I go.” I see.
Most of my friends are God-fearing people. Some people say, “Mr. Anil Kumar, you know I am a God-fearing man.”
God-fearing is a disqualification. Please understand that. You should fear a snake, a tiger, a lion or a dangerous fellow. Don’t fear God! God-fearing is a disqualification. We should be God-loving and not God-fearing. I think I am clear. Let us be God-loving people, not God-fearing people.
Why? Love knows no fear. Trust knows no fear. Where there is fear, there is no Love. The child has no fear because the child is by the side of its mother. The child loves the mother, so there is no fear.
Yet, we are saying, “Mata Pita Daivamu Mari Antayu Neeve: ‘You are my Father, You are my Mother, You are my Guru’… but I am afraid of You!” It is nonsense! So let us be God-loving people and not God-fearing people.
Then this is the wonder. What in this world should we be afraid of? One may be a millionaire or a pauper; he may be literate or illiterate. But there is one common fear - the fear of death. No one says, “I love death.” I have yet to come across such a person. If I do, I will give him the address of a good psychiatrist. Everyone is afraid of death, please take it from me. If there is someone who says, “I am not afraid of death,” he is more afraid of death than anybody else. It is only talk, that’s all.
Some people say, “I don’t care about money.” He has twenty-five lakhs in his bank account, so of course, he doesn’t care. (Laughter) Nonsense! We are tired of such people. Let us state only facts. The fact is that we are all afraid of death.
So if you fear God, it is meaningless. Why? God is life. Are you afraid of your life? No! You are afraid of death, not life. So when you love God, God is life. That is the correct spiritual path. We have fear of death. Actually speaking, what is it that dies?
Somebody asked Ramana Maharishi, “Bhagavan, is your life coming to an end? Are you going to die?”
He said, “I was never born.”
“Oh! I see. This fellow must be quite mad.”
“I was never born.” So, how can the question of dying concern the fellow who had no birth; there’ll be no death at all! That’s what Ramana Maharishi said.
Now let us think together. There is no birth; there is no death. Then what is death? What is birth? Why two words when there is no phenomenon like that?
Birth is the appearance of the body. Death is the disappearance of the body. That’s all! There is no birth at all. There is no death either. So what is it now? We are just a water pipe, a tunnel, a canal or a channel. The water starts at that end through the channel. The water goes out through the other end of the channel. So the body is just like that. Life passes through this tunnel, endless, beginningless.
So life has no beginning; life has no end. It is only the body that has a beginning, and naturally, it has an end. So my friends, we should be afraid of death. We should fear death, not God.
EGO IS a BARRIER in spirituality
What is death actually? Death is nothing but the death of the ego. We call it death in the ordinary sense. Why? It is the so-called ‘I’: “I am that. I am this.” This death is nothing but the death of the ego. Man dies as an ego; man never dies in relation to life. In relation to the ego, there is death. Egolessness is deathlessness. Egolessness is immortality. Death means the death of the ego.
Then we should welcome death. We should not be afraid of the death of ego. That is why Baba always quotes Jesus Christ, who declared on the cross: “Death is the dress of life.”
Death is the dress of life! When I go and change my dress, do I cry? No! Do you cry? You may cry because my dress is better than your dress; it is better than yesterday’s dress; perhaps I look more handsome in this dress. So when one changes the dress, it should not be the cause for misery. Therefore my friends, the death of the ego is a celebration. The death of the ego is a festival, because the ego is the worst barrier in the field of spirituality. It is an obstacle. Therefore, we should welcome death in relation to the ego.
Why? Baba always says, “You are the Truth. Truth has no end. Truth has no beginning. Truth is eternal. You are part of the Truth - Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahma.”
Satyam - Truth, Jnanam - Wisdom, Anantam - Infinite, Brahma. You are Truth; you are Infinite; you are Wisdom. Wisdom is deathless. Infinity is deathless. Truth is deathless. You are the Truth. You are deathless. That is why the Holy Bible says, “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.” Once you know the Truth, you are set free from the death of ego.
Asatoma Sat Gamaya - From untruth to Truth! Untruth is the death of the ego. The Truth is eternal and immortal. So once you are part of the Truth, there is no question of death at all. My friends, the third barrier stopping enlightenment is the barrier of ego. Therefore, to experience God, we should see that the ego dies as early as possible.
Tamasoma Jyotir Gamaya - There lies the light of wisdom. Tamas is the darkness. Jyoti is the light. With light, darkness is dispelled. Darkness is death. The light is Truth, Bliss, Peace. The light is eternal.
Therefore my friends, we are birthless, deathless and eternal; we are Truth itself. We celebrate birthdays because, having enough money, we want to have a social function. We enjoy it for a while, happily arranging it. “Happy Birthday!” But actually you were never born. It is only the body that appeared. That’s all! You existed even before the existence of this body.
Baba gives this beautiful example: There is electricity everywhere. But when it is inside the electric light bulb, it sheds light. OK! When the bulb is removed, the electricity is still there, is that not so? So, electricity is ever-present. When the bulb is fixed, you get illumination. When the bulb is removed, you don’t get illumination. With the bulb or without the bulb, electricity exists. You are Divine energy. You are Cosmic energy. You are the eternal Truth. The bulb is the body. That’s all! This is what Baba said.
Somebody asked Swami, “What will happen after death?”
Swami said, “Nothing will happen!”
After death, nothing will happen. Others may find that the world becomes a better place in which to live, because we have been a nuisance up to our departure! (Laughter) Now at least others can be happy. Those who are rich enough will celebrate, dividing our properties.
So my friends, there is no birth at all. Just as electricity exists, so does energy! Energy exists everywhere. But energy is transformed into different forms. Sometimes the energy becomes matter. The latest quantum theory physics says that there is no matter. Ha! Yes! There is no matter at all. All that we see is only energy. But we cannot say, “Sir, bring the energy and put it in front of me so that I can speak.” No, it is not like that. Because of its practical purpose, we call this a mike. But in reality, it is energy. The latest physics, quantum mechanics, also says there is only energy. There is no matter.
Therefore my friends, the only One that exists is Cosmic energy, Divine energy, Sat (Truth), that is existence. Sat not only means Truth; Sat also means existence. So I am ever existent! I never appeared, nor have I disappeared. That is the point that I wanted to tell you.
seeking GOD is a BARRIER in spirituality
The fourth barrier is this: Some people say, “After coming to Swami, I found God.” Oho! Very good. Other people say, “I am in search of God.” Both are wrong!
I always tell my friends on different platforms, on many occasions everywhere, that the greatest gift that Bhagavan has given us is the gift of wisdom, the practical Vedanta (Indian spiritual knowledge). We can receive this because of Bhagavan. All the other things that Bhagavan does is only to ultimately give us this.
When the child refuses to eat, the mother tells it stories. The child listens to the story, but still does not eat. The mother starts a second story, and the child eats a little. She starts the third story, and a little more is eaten. The mother goes on singing and telling stories, although she is very tired with the willful child. However, love is the only thing that makes the child eat.
So, Swami may give us interviews. Swami may give us rings, watches, lockets, sweets, darshan (the public appearance of Swami), sambhashan (speaking to Swami). All these are stories to make all the children eat the food of spirituality.
Bagavan’s food is spirituality, but we don’t want spirituality. We want our problems solved: the daughter to get married; the son to get his visa; to a get promotion, to get the backache and joint pain to go, the blood pressure to come down or, at the age of seventy, to run like a young man. Oh! Yes! OK! So that’s why I am here in Puttaparthi.
It is foolish! And Swami plays on this foolishness. The more egoistic we are, the more we become wonderful puppets for Him to play with. The more fools we are, the more He will make us greater fools. Why? Until we come out of this foolishness, until we come out of His play.
Therefore, just as a mother goes on singing and narrating stories to make the child eat a morsel of food, Baba also arranges functions, discourses and cultural programmes with so much care. The Divine Mother is more merciful and more compassionate, so that we may eat a little morsel of the food of spirituality.
If you say, “I want to know God,” this is what Baba says: “If you say, ‘I want money’, you can get it by working for it. If you want position, you can get it by struggling for it. If you want to be influential, yes, you can be. You can desire anything in this world, but you attain God by non-desiring.”
You should not desire God! I am afraid some of you may now get up and leave this auditorium! Here is a man who says non-desiring is the way to God. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not mad yet!
Let us understand this word, ‘desire’. I desire money, because I don’t have money. OK? I desire a position, because I don’t have a position. I want to be a man of influence, because no one says ‘Sai Ram’ to me. Because nobody looks at me, I feel neglected and the ego is affected. Therefore, I want to be influential, to sit on the veranda, to be a VIP. OK! So you can desire what you do not have. But you cannot desire God because He is already in you. God is already in you! You are eating, you are talking, you are walking, and you are thinking because of God. You are alive! That life is God; that aliveness is God. Then, why do you desire God!
Suppose I say, “I want a pen.”
Somebody will say, “Is there anything wrong with you, Mr. Anil Kumar? We saw you this morning at darshan. You were quite normal. We never thought one could become so mad, all of a sudden. Why do you ask for a pen when you have two pens in your pocket?” It sounds silly.
Similarly, to desire God, when God is in you, is total foolishness. Therefore, my friends, non-desiring is a qualification to find God. Desiring is necessary for worldly things. Non-desiring is the true spiritual path.
Some say, “I am in search of God.” This word is wrong.
I can say, “I am in search of my friend, Mr. Ramanaih.” I can say, “I am in search of my friend, Mr. Narayan Rao.” Because they are my friends, I am searching for them. They may be in the canteen, at the railway station or somewhere else; so I am in search of them.
But to say, “I am in search of God” is foolishness. Why? God is everywhere! Where will you search for Him? He is inside, outside, above you, below you and around you.
That is what Baba says:
Anatar Bahisch Tat Sarvam
Vyapya Narayanaha Stitaha.
Anatar Bahisch Tat Sarvam. He is inside and outside - everywhere! What is the fun of’ searching?
If anyone is walking along and says, “I am in search of sunlight,” what do we do? We avoid such a fellow because he may bite us tomorrow!
Someone may say, “I am in search of wind.”
“Oho! Please keep searching, but leave me alone.”
You can search for any worldly thing, but God is found by ‘not-searching’. You can find God by ‘not-desiring’.
“Sir, I seek an interview with the District Collector.“ ”I seek an appointment with you.” “I seek your permission.” Seeking is a process seen in the world. We don’t have to seek God.
People say, “Knock, it shall be opened. Seek, you shall find.” You don’t need to seek. You only have to seek that which you have not seen. You have to seek that which is not near you. When God is in you, what are you seeking?
So, to find God, you should be non-seeking. To find God, you should be non-desiring. To find God, you should be non-searching. I think I am clear.
These statements may look challenging, but they are positive truths. They are the truths of truths. God is in you.
For example, the heartbeat: Am I responsible for the heart beating? I have never said, “Oh, dear heart, please beat.”
While I wait for this to happen, others could start beating me! (Laughter) We cannot make our heart beat. The heart-beat is a natural process. Of course, the sweetheart is different. I am not referring to the sweetheart. (Laughter)
For the heartbeat, God is responsible. For the blood circulation, God is responsible. For the lungs to work, God is responsible. For you to sleep, God is responsible. When God does not help you sleep, you lie awake all night, and make others get up as you don’t want to see them sleeping when you cannot sleep! (Laughter) Your appetite is because of God; your sleep is because of God; your life is because of God.
Smiles and laughter are because of God. A fellow who cannot smile, well, you can say that his face has no God in him. As a result, the face is lifeless. To quote Baba, “Castor oil faces - no smiles, full of wrinkles, stretched elastic, rubber-like faces.”
Chi! Such faces say, “There is no God on my face!” Thank you. It is obvious and self-evident. Therefore my friends, God is there. This body is functional. When this Divinity is withdrawn, the body is paralysed. You cannot control the body. So that vitality, that dynamism, that spirit, that life is God.
Jeevam Eva Sada Sivam
Sivam Eda Sada Jeevam.
“God is life. Life is God.” That is what Bhagavan says.
Therefore, you can find God by non-seeking, by non-desiring and by non-searching. We must remember these three concepts. God is so great that He has given Himself to us. To say that I have not seen God is really an insult.
Your mother cooks for you; your mother helps you. If you say to your mother, “So far, I have not made your acquaintance,” the mother will cry for having given birth to such a worthless child. Unfortunately, the number of such people is increasing day-by-day.
Therefore my friends, when life is in you as the bubbling dynamism, digestion, ingestion and assimilation, there is no sense in saying, “I don’t know God.” As time revolves, God is expressing Himself. You might as well say, “I don’t find electricity. I can’t find it anywhere.“ What! Then there is something wrong with me.
So, God is seen in the opening of a flower. God is seen in the happy smile on a happy face. God is seen in a blossoming flower. God is seen in the running rivers. God is seen in the floating clouds. God is seen in the sunrise and sunset. God is unseen, making us see the scenes around.
This is the point that we should always keep in mind. The barrier is the search for God. The obstacle is to seek Him. Bhagavan says because you are God, it is ignorance to attempt to find and desire Him.
RELIGION IS A BARRIER IN SPIRITUALITY
The next barrier -- do not get disturbed, my friends! Religion is a barrier. I am not an atheist. I am not a naxalite. I am not a terrorist. I am not a reactionary. I am not a man of violence. Religion is a barrier.
We have gathered at the Feet of Baba, who does not speak of any religion. What is the religion of Baba? Here, there is no religion!
If anyone says that Baba speaks of Hinduism, that fellow has not understood His teachings. Baba does not speak of any religion, because religion is a barrier. Why? Every religion tells you the way to God: “This is the way.” “That is the way.”
Christians say, “Christ is the goal. Christianity is the way.”
Muslims say, “Allah is the goal. Islam is the way.”
Buddhists say, “Buddha is the goal. Buddhism is the way.”
So every religion speaks of two things – the goal and the way. Both of these are nonsense. Why? God is not a goal. I repeat: God is not a goal!
Why? It is simple. At the end of this talk, our goal is the foreigners’ canteen (Laughter), or the North Indian canteen (to eat). What is the way? You climb down the steps and go there. Right! The way is clear. The goal is clear. The time is not yet, that’s all.
So, when there is a goal and a way, there are two points - one is the time; the other is the distance.
“Sir, how far is the foreigners’ canteen?”
“Oh! Three hundred yards.” The distance!
“Sir, how long will it take me to get to the foreigners’ canteen?”
“Five minutes.” Oh! I see, the time.
“Sir, where is the North Indian canteen?”
“How long will it take?”
“It is just a yard -- about two minutes.”
Whether it is here or there, every goal has a time and a distance. When God is inside me, when I am God, what is the distance? There is no question of distance at all. How much time will it take? To know that I am Anil Kumar, how long will it take? If it takes a very long time, I think it’s time for me to say goodbye to earth! I am Anil Kumar. I don’t need to take time to know that I am Anil Kumar. How far do I have to go to know that I am Anil Kumar? No! No! No! I am!
Similarly, when you are God, you don’t need to go any distance and you don’t need time to know. There is no way to reach the goal because time and distance do not exist. I think I am clear. God is not the goal!
Some people ask, “What is the goal of your life?”
You reply, “God!”
Hopeless. You do not understand. God cannot be your goal. Now, who are you? Are you a dog? If you are a dog, it may take some time to reach God. When you are God, why is there any question of going? Therefore, distance and time do not enter into it because God is never a goal, and there is no way to find Him.
What is Baba doing here? In May, Buddhists come from all over the world to celebrate Buddha Pournima. On Christmas, Christians come to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. On Krishna Janmasthami, we celebrate the birth of Krishna. On Sri Rama Navami, we celebrate the birth of Rama. Why? We taste Divinity as being the same in all Forms.
A simple example: There is an ocean here. You can taste the ocean anywhere and know that it is saline or salty. To know that seawater is salty, you don’t have to go into the sea and drown yourself. It’s not necessary. To know the taste of the sea, you don’t have to go to a specific place in the ocean. You can taste it anywhere.
So, Christmas, Buddha Pournima, Janmasthami, Sri Rama Navami, Vinayak Chaturthi, Shivaratri -- these are all the different spaces located in the ocean of the Divinity of Sathya Sai Baba. Sathya Sai Baba is the ocean, and these are the special occasions that we take advantage of, to taste this Divinity.
Many people have told me, and it is on record as well, that there are three beautiful books written by Christian bishops, which link Baba and Jesus Christ, Krishna and Christ, Jesus and Sathya Sai. Why I mention bishops is because a bishop is supposed to be a professional, an expert on the subject of religion. What do they write?
All of them have said one thing: “After coming to Baba, I have tasted Christianity. However, to the best of my knowledge, He never said anything about Christianity.”
Why does a bishop say that He ‘tasted’ Christianity? He sees all the Love and all the sacrifice of Christ. All that Christ symbolises is contained in the life of Bhagavan, whom he sees right in front of him.
I have also known people who, after coming to Bhagavan, have said: “Now I know what Buddhism is.”
All Buddhists say three things:
Buddham Sranama Gacchami.
Dharmama Sranama Gacchami.
Sangam Sranama Gacchami.
“Why do you say that?”
“My father wanted me to say it.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Dharmapada, the Buddhist books, says it.”
Many Buddhists have told me, “Sir, after coming to Baba, we have more insight into Buddhism.”
If you are a Christian, Baba has the face of Christ. If you are a follower of Lord Buddha, you will have more insight into Buddhism. Why?
Baba says, “Buddham Sranamam Gacchami.” This means, “Surrender to the Feet of Buddha.”
Baba also says, “Where is Buddha now, for you to fall at His Feet?” Shall we fall at the feet of His statue? Many people do fall, and this is responsible for the fall of many! Instead Baba says, “Buddham Saranam Gacchami” meaning, “Surrender to your intellect.” Buddhi: Surrender to your intellect. Don’t surrender to your body. Don’t surrender to your senses. Don’t surrender to your mind.
Why? The buddhi (intellect) is close to Atma (spirit). Because “Buddhi Graksham Atendriyam” - Buddhi is very close to Atma - follow buddhi so that you are close to God. That’s Buddham Sramnam Gacchami. Will any Buddhist give that meaning of Buddham Saranam Gacchami? This is the insight that Bhagavan has given us: “O fellow, make use of your intellect. Make use of your buddhi to walk along the right path.”
With this buddhi or intellect, what should I do? “Dharmam Saranama Gacchami”: I should know dharmam, righteousness, and adharmam, unrighteousness. With buddhi, I will know dharma – what righteousness is. Without buddhi, I will not know what is dharma and adharma, what is righteous and unrighteous. So with buddhi, let me know dharma and follow dharma. Where do you follow dharma? “Sangam Sharanam Gacchami.” In society, the path of dharma is to be followed. Baba provided a wonderful insight into Buddhism.
He can do this because Sathya Sai is not a religion. Sathya Sai is not a sect. Sathya Sai is an ocean of spirituality. In this spirituality, you can have the feel of Hinduism, the taste of Christianity and the insight into Buddhism.
So, one barrier to spirituality is a religion that impresses upon you that God is a goal, and there is a way. They are both wrong.
To have preferences IS A BARRIER to spirituality
My friends, here is another barrier: When people repeatedly go to Puttaparthi, they are asked, “Why do you go to Puttaparthi so many times?”
What answer should we give? “I have no answer.”
However, some people will say, “I go because I want things to happen according to my choice.” Oh! I see.
Then somebody will say, “Though you went to Puttaparthi, why did your son fail in the examination?” “Why did you not get the promotion in your office?” If you go to Puttaparthi regularly, “Why are you notorious, or why aren’t you famous?”
My friends, we come to Baba not just for the fulfilment of desires. No! Don’t misunderstand me. This is the point: God wants us to accept anything that comes, anything that happens in our life. Total acceptance is spirituality.
If someone says, “If my son fails in the examination, I won’t go to Puttaparthi until he passes,” that fellow is a spiritual businessman; he is in religious commerce. We should not be like that. We should accept whatever happens, the total existence of the experience.
Who is God? God is total existence and we have to accept Him in totality, totally. God is the total harmony of the existence. How can I say this?
This happened one day. A fellow said, “Swami, my leg is fractured.”
He said, “Chaala Manchid.” (Very good)
Another fellow said, “Swami, my grandmother died.”
“Santosham!” (Very good)
“Swami, this is the wedding card.”
“Manchidi bangaru!” (Very good)
He always says, “Manchidi, manchi, manchi, meaning ‘good’.
Death…manchi. Birth…inka manchi. Wedding…good. He never says, “This is bad; this is inauspicious. Why? God is a harmony of total existence. What is meant by that?
There are different instruments in the orchestra. Every instrument is played, and all work together in perfect harmony. Birth and death happen in perfect harmony. Day and night happen in perfect harmony. Good and bad exist in perfect harmony. Nothing is opposite to anything.
Some people say, “Sir, I like the day.” Even if you don’t like it, there will be night.
“Sir, I like the night.” Even if you don’t want it, there will be day.
“Sir, I want good things.” Yet, bad things follow you like a shadow; good and bad are not separate.
Please understand this: There is nothing absolutely good and nothing absolutely bad. Every bad man has something good in him. Every good man has something bad in him. If he says he is totally good, do not believe him. He is a good-for-nothing fellow. This table is perfectly good because it cannot be bad.
Good and bad depend upon time and convenience. The food I eat is good. The next morning, it is bad. The oxygen I breathe in is good. The carbon dioxide I breathe out is bad. So, what is good and what is bad? Good is followed by bad. Bad is followed by good. Good and bad follow like day and night.
So what is God now? God is total existence. God is the totality. God is the harmony of both the positive and negative in life. We put up a barrier when we are preferential or when we want this or that to happen.
Some people say: “Should I have this kind of attitude? There are some bad qualities in me. What should I do?”
My friends, God is great. God is compassionate. He forgives all our bad qualities. Once you say, “I am bad,” you are no longer bad. That’s all. If you are bad and declare goodness, then there is something wrong with you. Yes!
A simple example: All the rotten stuff, if it is in the house and kept in the dark, stinks. However, when the bad matter is kept outside, it turns into manure; it becomes a fertilizer for plants to grow. Once we see our faults, God can make all the bad become manure. He can make all of our bad become fertiliser.
Let us not complain that God is beyond. Let us understand ourselves in depth. This is most important. Some medicines we take are harmful. If a medicine is used at the wrong time, it can be poisonous. Still, other poisons can act as medicines. Now, what is bad and what is good?
My friends, these are a few of the barriers to spirituality that I could share with you this morning. To sum up, the first barrier is knowledge. The second barrier is to fear God. The third barrier is to seek God. The fourth barrier is ego. The fifth barrier is to think of God as a goal. The sixth barrier is to think that the way to be near Him is in religion. The seventh barrier is to have preferences, to have certain choices in life, without realising the fact that life is a totality, that life is a perfect harmony of existence. There cannot be any existence, there cannot be any choice, which is partial. Let us free ourselves from these barriers.
I have a few questions to answer. Kindly bear with me. I will read them, OK? This is the first question.
IS THERE A REALISED SOUL?
Baba said there are many realised souls. One gentleman asked Swami in the interview room, “Swami, are there realised souls?” Swami said, ”Yes! There are many.” A young man asked me this question, “Have you seen a realised soul?”
The answer came from Bhagavan. All of us are along the path of realisation. We cannot say 50% are unrealised souls, and 50% are realised souls. That counting may be alright for the sole of a shoe! But not for this. No! We are all along the path of realisation. Nobody is backward; nobody is forward. We are just walking, hand-in-hand. That is what Swami said.
Journey together. A journey to eternity. A journey of friendship and amity. A journey in perfect comprehension, understanding and cooperation.
So, have I come across any realised souls? Yes! I come across them every day. In what form? I see people going along the journey of realisation, along the path of enlightenment. Am I clear? That’s my answer.
FORGIVE AND FORGET
Yes! Another question: ”We cannot forget and forgive everybody so easily because we are human beings. But Swami says to forget and forgive. Swami can smile in all situations. We cannot. Can you show the right way towards life, or should we say a spiritual life? How to smile in all situations?”
I see! In all situations, we can only smile when we smile at ourselves. Please understand. We can laugh at others only if we smile at ourselves. How?
A simple example: Somebody said to me, “Has Swami given you anything?”
“Has Swami given what?”
“Anything. A ring or a watch?”
I told him, “When I am not permanent, do you think the watches and rings that He gives are permanent?” I don’t think so. I am not permanent. The ring He gives cannot be permanent.
Then that man asked me, “Then, why does He give?” A very good question!
“He gives as a token of Love. He gives as a token of Grace.”
It is not that a ring can be permanent. Some people say, “Sir, you may lose your shoe, but the polish will last. The shine on the shoe lasts even if you lose the shoe.” It is something like that.
I smile at myself whenever I consider silly things so important. When Swami talks to you and I get jealous, I should smile at myself and think what a fool I am! He may talk to you tomorrow; He may talk to you the day after tomorrow; He may not talk to you after that. It is up to Him! Why should I feel bad about it? Therefore, we can smile if we can witness and see our own life!
I always tell my friends, “Arrey! Please be convinced of this. When everybody says, ‘Sai Ram! Sai Ram! Sai Ram! You are a great man,’ do not think that you are great. You are great because you are near Swami. When you are away from Swami, the moment you cross the gate, then you will know just how great you are! You are not at all great.” Because we are here with God, all the devotees are godly and they respect and love us for that. That’s all. The credit goes to Bhagavan and not to any of us.
Similarly, when you want to smile, be a witness to your own life. Why am I jealous? Why am I worried about simple things? If somebody sits where I usually sit, I say, “It is my place.” Thousands sat there before I came! (Laughter) However, since I started to sit there, I claim it is my place. If somebody sits there, I feel so bad. (Laughter)
Now I should smile at myself. Why? Having left family, friends, and properties…all in the name of God…now I want to fight for that place, that stone surface on which I sit. Is this worthwhile at all? What a fool I am that I want this seat. Arrey…arrey…rey!
Let us fight for a seat in the heart of Sai, not for a seat on the floor of the auditorium. It is foolishness. So, we can smile at our own whims and vagaries, at our own silly stupid attitudes. After all, what is all this? When Swami starts praising somebody, we feel so bad and think, “Is he so great? I am greater than him. Perhaps He does not know.” (Laughter) Swami praises so that you can become better. Swami praises to encourage you. Swami praises to correct you. Why don’t you think of it like that?
Suppose every father says, “You know, Mr. Anil Kumar, my son is pacca…a man of discipline,” When you start talking about his discipline, he will be disciplined for that day, at least. Next, he will claim, “My son is very intelligent, you see. He reads regularly.” But the fellow never touches a book. So, the father goes on speaking, sending positive signals, with the effect that the son will start reading from that day on.
Therefore, we cannot interpret these things. Be happy and smile at your own self (ego) for all its silly ideas. This is possible only if you consider yourself a witness. That’s what I can say.
There are just a couple of minutes more.
BABA AS GOD
“Will Baba show the whole world that He is God in this body, or in the coming body, that of Prema Sai?”
This fellow believes in the future also. (Laughter) Will Baba show that He is God? Showing is something different from what He is. Is that clear? I show my book. I am different from the book. Right? I show my glasses. I am different from the glasses. Baba shows that He is God. That means He is separate. But He is not. He is God! What is the fun in showing? It is not a question of showing, because if He shows now, then He is not God after the show. It is something like a magic show. He is not God after the show.
So my friends, He is God and He need not show. Will the sun show that it is the sun? It does not need to show. The sunlight shows that it is sun. Will the flower show that it is a flower? The very smell shows that it is a flower. Will gold show that it is gold? No! The very shine, the glitter itself, is proof that it is gold. Will Baba show that He is God? He is God because His life is godly - His form, all His actions, His words and His thoughts. So He is God. Am I clear? That is the way we have to take it.
FACING EVERYTHING IN THE SAME SPIRIT
“Whatever happened to me was for my own good. I killed a person for a minor provocation. Is that also for my own good?”
Yes! It is also for your own good, if you face the punishment with the same spirit.
A simple example: It seems a fellow committed a murder and was brought to the court. The judge gave his pronouncement: “You are a culprit and a criminal. Since you committed a murder, you will be kept in prison for a lifetime.”
The prisoner was a philosopher, so he said: “Your majesty, a humble suggestion. I am not the body. I am not the mind. So, how can I kill? I am not the killer. How can you give me a punishment?”
The judge said, “I am not giving a punishment. I am not the judge. The punishment is to your body. This body is giving punishment to that body. You have not killed, and I have not punished you.” (Laughter)
This is the Vedanta vernacular. Therefore my friends, if you kill somebody, is it for your own good? Yes! It is for your own good if you face the punishment. This idea of whatever happened to me is for my own good is a principle that will withstand the test of time.
“It seems that the state president issued a list of ninety bhajans with a directive that no other bhajans be allowed to be sung in the bhajans mandali. The list does not contain the old and new bhajans sung in Prasanthi Nilayam. What shall we do?”
I don’t think that there is a prescribed list of bhajans. I don’t know. In a hotel, you will have a list of items prepared. You can eat any item. There is nothing like a list of bhajans.
A simple example: Suppose you are in a reflective, meditative mood, so you sing to yourself, “Dina Bhandava Sri Sai Deva.” Suppose you are in a jovial, happy mood; then you sing “Gopika Maala Haari Pyaari, Maayi Meera Mana Vihaari, Madana Mohana Murali Dhaari, Krishna Jai.”
No one can say: “This is the list of bhajans you should sing now.” A person cannot cry and sing a happy bhajan. It is not possible! It depends on your mood and the place where you are.
Many of our friends are abroad. Some are too busy; others stay alone at home. A person might sing Devaki Tanaya Dayanidhe, Dayanidhe….Kripanidhe. He thinks of God to feel His nearness - Darshan Deejo Deva Deva, Dinanatha Sai Natha, Devaki Tanaya Dayanidhe.
When you are alone at home, when you think that nobody is there for you, that nobody cares for you, the husband and children are away and the night is dark, what do you do? You cannot be joyful. You cannot sing a song with a fast beat. You sing a song to contemplate Him, to make Him feel very close…very close. Suppose someone near and dear to you has died; you cannot sing a song in a happy mood.
Naturally as a boy said,
Punarapi Jananam Punarai Maranam
Punarapi Janani Jatare Sayanam
Iha Samsare Bahu Dustare
Kripaya Pare Paahi Murare.
In that mood, he will understand the momentary nature of life.
No one can say, “This is the list of bhajans you should sing.” We are not dictators like Musharaff and Bin Laden. We cannot do that; we should not do that.
The next question: ”Will Baba transfer His powers to somebody?”
If it happens, we are the first applicants. (Laughter)
If He transfers His powers, to what? Will we have our chair by the side of the Hanuman statue there in the Hillview Stadium, giving interviews and charging money? (Laughter) There is nothing like the transfer of powers. There is nothing like the delegation of powers. You are the power.
Baba has said, “You are powerful! The power in Me is patent. While the power in you is latent and hidden, the power in Me is exposed.”
Therefore, there is no need for Him to transfer powers. You are the power. He has given you all the power. You are God!
Still, I want powers. Suppose you find a rich man begging near the railway station, what do you say? “He is a rich man; so why should he be begging there?” Similarly, when you are powerful, nobody needs to transfer power to you!
Those were the questions passed on to me for this week. Thank you so much for being here this morning. I appreciate your time. (Applause)
Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!