The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
Part 1:" Mind Your Thoughts"
February 15th, 2004
OM... OM... OM...
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
WHY DON’T WE KNOW THAT GOD IS EVERYWHERE?
One boy, a postgraduate student, asked this question: “Bhagavan, why don’t we know that God is everywhere? Why don’t we experience Him? If what You say is true, how is it that we don’t know that Truth?”
This is the answer Bhagavan gave. He said, “See, this is a paper. If you look at this as a paper, you make use of it, in the way it should be used. You consider it as only a paper, a material. But on the other hand, if you think it is God, you will be reverential; you will be worshipful. So your worship or reverence is based on your thought. Therefore, if you consider the worldly objects as material objects, as non-living objects, as created objects, as inert, passive and lifeless, you will have only a material approach to the objects of the world. You will have an objective approach. You will have physical approach. But, on the other hand, if you think that everything is God, you will have spiritual awakening, spiritual experience and spiritual awareness. So your attitude and your thoughts are most important.”
HOW TO EXPERIENCE THAT GOD IS EVERYWHERE?
The second part of the boy’s question to Swami was: “Swami, how can one experience that God is everywhere?”
Swami answered thus: “You can experience Divinity if you think of the Divine constantly, get immersed in the Divine, and identify with it. Until you are in deep thought about the Divine, in deep communication with the Divine, and are one with it, you cannot experience this cosmic Divinity as the very reality around you.”
WAITING FOR THE RIGHT TIME
Then another boy put this question: “Bhagavan, does it take time to experience Divinity? Is there a time factor involved to experience God everywhere?”
Bhagavan answered simply and straightforwardly. “Yes, everything requires time. Things happen at the right time. You have to wait for the right time.”
He gave an example. “When the housewife is pregnant, you have to wait to see the baby when it is delivered. Even if you want to see the child before delivery, you cannot. You have to wait until the time of delivery. Similarly, you have to wait until you get the experience of Divinity.”
And that boy asked, “Swami, what does the ‘right time’ mean?”
Bhagavan said, “The right time depends upon circumstances, conditions, maturity, your own depth, your own intensity, your own understanding, and your own sadhana - the spiritual path that you observe and practice.”
Then He gave another example. “You see, it takes two and a half to three hours to digest the food that you eat. Right? Food digestion takes time. A child’s delivery takes time. So also, a time factor is involved to experience the manifestation of Divinity. The time factor involves the intensity of our sadhana and our yearning for God.”
IT IS A BLESSING TO EXPERIENCE BHAGAVAN
Swami gave yet another example from the epics. I strongly believe that no one can give the spiritual explanation and interpretation of our epics better than Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself [Applause].
Prior to coming to Swami, we listened to many people speak, and we studied many books. All we found there was description and narration. The world teacher, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, passes on to us gems via words of depth. He, who is a gem Himself, passes on pearls of wisdom. We should not miss this wonderful opportunity. Listening to His discourses is education. Experiencing what He says is a blessing. To see Him is a valediction, and to practice what He says is liberation.
This blessing is not given to everybody. As Bhagavan says, “Nobody can be here unless I will it. Nobody can associate with My work, with My mission, unless I will it. Nobody can participate in the different wings of the organisation, anywhere in the world, unless I will it.”
My friends, we are extremely lucky to be here. We are not here merely as a result of our desire to be here. We are here because He has chosen us to be here. We have been chosen by Bhagavan to be here. [Applause] It is a great blessing to have been chosen to be here on the occasion of Shivaratri.
GOD IS NOWHERE – GOD IS NOW HERE!
Now, here is Bhagavan’s example from our scriptures. I don’t want to go into all the details, as it is a long story. Most of you must have heard at least some of the story.
There was one king, a demon, known by the name Hiranyakasipu. He had a son called Prahlada. Little Prahlada was a great devotee with devotion of Himalayan heights. Hiranyakasipu was a modern man, with no time for spirituality, and no experience of God. He was a materialist, a scientist and a technologist. Like all scientists, Hiranyakasipu trusted the evidence gathered from experimentation, observation and all the nonsense around us today. His little son, a tiny tot, was a great devotee. There was always a debate between father and son, Hiranyakasipu and Prahlada, just as one finds everywhere today. The argument between son and father was about reality, existence, and Divinity.
The father said, “There is no God; God is nowhere”, whereas the son said, “God is now here.” “Nowhere” is the declaration of the father. “Now here” is the response of the son.
This went on and on. The father sent his son to acquire higher learning and knowledge. The boy returned and said, “God is everywhere.” The father’s investment was in vain. Ultimately, the father was very irritated. He could not control his temper. He dragged his son by one arm, towards a pillar. “Arrrgh, you dirty fellow! You say that God is everywhere. Do you think that God is there in that pillar?”
The son answered, “Yes, Dad. God is very much in the pillar. Why not?”
The father challenged him, “Let me see whether God is in the pillar or not.” He hit that pillar so hard that it broke at the center.
Hiranyakasipu represents one who has physical strength, mental capacities, and intellectual power minus God within himself. [Laughter] He has got all the Ph.D.’s in science. He has got the D.Sc. also. He is an expert in space sciences and inter-planetary travel, but he has no place for God within himself.
He said, “Oh sonny! If you say that God is there in the pillar, I will break it. If God is there, show me. Let me see He is there.” He hit the pillar hard and it broke in half. Out of that broken pillar emerged a God called Narsimha.
See how Baba has developed this subject. Anything you give to Him takes on a new dimension. What a lovely God He is! [Laughter]. Everything is carved, molded and shaped into a beautiful piece of art by Bhagavan.
Little Prahlada, being a devotee, finds God everywhere, whereas his father, a technologist, a scientist, a space scientist with aeronautical engineering skills, finds only matter everywhere. He doesn’t see God. The son sees God, whereas the father finds only matter. As Hiranyakasipu broke the pillar, he believed that it was only a pillar, so he wouldn’t find God there. If you have such materialistic feelings, such worldly feelings, you will only find the world; you will only find matter. Prahlada felt Divinity from the microcosm to the macrocosm; therefore he found the emergence of God from the broken pillar.
Please be attentive to Bhagavan’s commentary: “The pillar represents the human body. Hiranyakasipu hit the pillar, breaking it into pieces. Do not have attachment to your body. Let this attachment to the body, which is represented by the pillar be broken. Once this body attachment is given up, you will find Divinity within.”
GIVE UP BODY ATTACHMENT
Now I come to an important statement made by Bhagavan. Be very attentive, my friends. He says. “All sadhana, all spiritual paths, all spiritual endeavours, be they bhajans, meditation, the reading of the scriptures, yajna or yaga, have only one purpose. Any ritual, any spiritual discipline that you follow, is meant for only one purpose: to give up body attachment. If we do spiritual practice with body attachment, all the spiritual activity is a waste of time. [Laughter]
One has to give up body attachment. Swami put it this way: “You have attachment to the body. When you reduce this, attachment to Atma or the Self will replace body attachment. You will experience realisation. You will attain liberation. All spiritual practices or sadhanas are directed towards this end.”
Once in Kodaikanal, Swami was speaking.
“Arre aah! Wonderful!” I said.
“Arre! What happened to you? You are here to translate. Why are you speaking like that? [Laughter] What happened to you?”
I said, “Swami, I am not a mere loudspeaker. I am not a machine. [Laughter] I am also a devotee [Laughter] and I follow Your talk as well as translate it. [Laughter] I also experience moments of ecstasy [Laughter] when I lapse into forgetfulness. [Laughter] I go beyond the limitations of my body. “[Laughter and Applause]
Then Swami said, “Okay, calm down now. Do your duty.”
THE PROCESS OF WORSHIP
My friends, Bhagavan made this very beautiful statement. When you look at Swami’s picture and think that you are worshipping that picture alone, you are only practising picture worship. On the other hand, if you visualise that picture in your heart, you internalise the picture. The picture is in you. You are the picture and the picture is your noble Self. Then only One remains. That is the process of worship.
But we don’t do that. If the picture merges into me, who will see the picture and who will appreciate my worship? Everybody should think that I am a doctor devotee, with a Ph.D. in devotion, you see. [Laughter] I don’t want people to simply ignore me!
Our mode of worship should be altogether different, in the light of what Bhagavan has said. I am not worshipping the picture for the sake of the picture. The picture in front of me is picturised within me, in my heart. In the process of preserving it in my heart, ‘I’ am lost. ‘I’ am no more. ‘I’ and the picture within me are one and the same. That is the end, the purpose and the objective of worship.
That is the really wonderful statement that Bhagavan has made. Swami said, “Everything is based on your thoughts; everything is based on your thoughts.”
WHERE IS SWAMI?
Some people ask, “Where is Swami? Where is Swami?” I will just recall my Bangalore days. I was the principal of Swami’s college in Bangalore for six years. We had one deputy warden there in those days named Balakrishna, who was working in the hostel.
Whenever Swami was due to go to Bangalore, we got a number of phone calls. “Where is Swami?” People wanted to plan their journey, so they would ring up to find out where He was. If Swami was in Bangalore, they would go there. But if they discovered He was not there, they would go to Parthi.
There was a person who used to ring and ask, “Where is Swami?”
Balakrishna used to reply, “Where is Swami? He is everywhere.” [Laughter].
“No, sir. I know He is everywhere. Physically, where is He?” [Laughter]
He is everywhere. Swami gave one example about Himself. Suppose that after asking, “Where is Swami?” you answer, “He is in Puttaparthi.” What does that mean? It means that your mind has gone to Puttaparthi and thinks of Swami there. But this is not the correct answer.
Swami has said that the correct answer to the question, “Where is Swami” is Ikhada - here, Akhada - there, Yekhada - everywhere, Okhadey - only One. [Laughter] I like that language (Telugu). Sometimes I bring out those words in toto, because their beauty should not be lost. Ikhada, Akhada, Yekhada, Okhadayu naadu Sai Baba: “Here, there, everywhere, there is only One, Sai Baba.” [Applause] That is what Bhagavan said. Therefore we should answer the question, ‘Where is Sai Baba?’ like that.
WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN?
People ask, “Swami, when will it happen? When will I become one with You within? When will I realise that God is everywhere? When will it happen?”
Swami gave this example: You must have heard about the river by the name of Cauvery River. Cauvery River passes across the state of Karnataka, our neighboring state. This Cauvery River branches off into several tributaries, several river inlets. And the Cauvery River travels all round many towns, many places. Finally, it merges into the sea.
Bhagavan gave this example. “When the Cauvery River merges into the sea, where is the Cauvery? It is the sea. The point is this: The Cauvery River has its name, form and taste until it merges into the ocean, after which it no longer has a separate identity.”
Cauvery is not the name of an individual. It is the name of a river. Please, I don’t want anyone bearing that name to settle scores with me after this meeting! [Laughter] “Similarly, until you are one with God, until you merge in Him, until you forget yourself, until you lose your body attachment, until the mind gets totally identified and filled with the thought and feeling of the Divine, you cannot have the experience. We should cultivate that deep feeling and thought. We should fill our minds with the Divine, so that we can experience Divinity.” That is what Bhagavan has said.
OUR THOUGHTS GO ON CHANGING
Another statement that Swami has made is this: “This morning you have one thought; this afternoon you will have a different thought; by the evening, the opposite thought will arise. Positive, negative and neutral thought, that is all. Our thoughts go on changing.”
Baba said, “Your thoughts change, but I remain one and the same, forever and ever. I am always one and the same. Your thoughts change. When your thoughts are positive, you say, ‘Baba, You are great.’ When your thoughts are negative, you will say, ‘I am going to leave tomorrow. I have reserved my ticket.’ [Laughter] So, your thoughts change, but God will never change. The change is in you. The change is in the world, but not in God.”
Swami gave one example: “G-O-D. The word ‘God’ has three letters. In combination, the three letters, G-O-D, make this word, God. Once you say ‘God’, you begin to think of Him. Similarly, when you are in deep thought about God, you will certainly experience His manifestation in front of you. You will certainly see His physical form because it is the thought that creates the form. So, to create any form, you have to reform your thoughts. You have to transform your thoughts, because thought is the basis for any form.” That is what Bhagavan said.
GOD HAS DIFFERENT NAMES BASED UPON YOUR THOUGHT
Later, Swami started explaining, “When your thought is focused on sound, you feel that God is sound itself - Shabda Brahma Mayi. When you think that God is mobility, then you feel that God is movement - Charaa Chara Mayi. When you say that God is light, you will call Him Jyotir Mayi. If you say that God deludes you, you will call Him Maya Mayi. When you feel that God is plenty, affluence and prosperity, the name is Srimayi. And if you say God is eternal bliss, you will call Him Nityananda Mayi. If you say God is supreme, He is Paratpara Mayi. These are all your understanding of God. These are all your thoughts. One thought says He is a light. Another thought prompts that He is sound. A different thought certainly promotes your feeling that God is abundance. So based on how you think about God, you give him different names. The same God has different names, based on your thoughts.”
Further, He gave another example: “A person who is expert in drawing pictures wanted to draw a picture of Ganesha. What did he do? Immediately he imagined the trunk. He started thinking of a big, broad belly and then started drawing. So, his drawing is based upon his thoughts. Similarly, the manifestation of Divinity, your experience of the form of God in front of you, is based upon your thoughts.”
GOD IS ONE
Swami gave another example: “Here is some pure gold. What should you do with it? You should heat it in order to melt it. Once the gold has taken the liquid form, you can put it in a mould of your design, so that it becomes a jewel or an ornament. A jewel or ornament is made out of gold as per your design.
Swami gives this example: “Here is gold. You made it into a ring. Now if I ask you, ‘Where is the gold?’ you say, ‘The gold is a ring now.’ After some time, you will change this ring and make it into a chain. Where is the gold now? It is in the chain. So the gold, the ring and the chain are one and the same. The ring and the chain have changed their forms, have changed their names and have changed their location. The chain is around the neck, whilst the ring is on the ring finger. You don’t wear a chain on your finger! This is universal. [Laughter] So the ornaments are many; the jewels are many. But the gold is one. Similarly God is one, but you may call Him by the name of your taste and choice.”
Part 2: "SHIVARATHRI"
Swami has said, “God’s most important name is Hiranyagarba. Hiranyagarba is the name of God. Hiranya means ‘gold’.” Further Swami says that gold is located near the navel of everyone, not just within God. So, we are sufficiently golden, sufficiently rich enough! [Laughter] We are not just flesh and bone after all. No, no. We are costly fellows, yes, yes! [Laughter] So, near the navel there is gold.
Then Swami makes this point: “The gold shines so long as there is life in this body. It is called Shivam, which means ‘the shining of the life principle in all its brilliance’. When the light is gone, it is Shavam or a dead body. Shivam means ‘body with light’, while Shavam means ‘body without light’. So, in this Shivam or body with light, you have gold shining forth. That is why people are attracted to Me. I attract everybody because of the gold within Me.” That is what Bhagavan has said.
Swami said a few things about Himself: “There is gold in everybody. There is gold in Me also. The gold, in My case, takes the form of a lingam. This does not happen in your case. Why? It takes intense mental power to make the gold within Me into a lingam. That lingam emerges out of My mouth on the day of Shivaratri. This event is called Lingodabhava.”
Swami said, “It appears as if I am struggling prior to the emergence of the Shiva lingam. You may be feeling that I am straining a lot. It is no strain at all. It is no struggle at all. For the gold to melt, a terrific heat is generated within Me. Because of that high temperature, you notice My body shivering. That shivering is the effect of the temperature only. It is not indicative of any strain on Me at all.”
Bhagavan continued, “Just as gold is in everybody, including Me, God is in everybody: Ishwara Sarva Bhoothanaam. Ishwara - God, Sarva - all, Bhoothanaam - living creatures. God is present in all living creatures.” He said, “Never doubt it. If you doubt it, you cannot see the lingam come out of God’s mouth. If you doubt, you cannot see the lingam coming out of My mouth. Therefore, never doubt.”
GOD IS EVERYWHERE
Also Swami said, “You can develop this feeling of Divinity, this feeling that you are God, if you start thinking, ‘This is not my body; this is Your body’; ‘This is not my life; this is Your life.’ But on the other hand, if you have got this dual feeling that this is your body and this is My body -- mine and Thine; you and I – then you will be led to doubt. Thoughts and feelings of duality lead to doubt, and the ‘doubting Thomas’ can never find peace during his lifetime. We should understand that. As God is everywhere, you have got to be reverential and respectful towards everybody. Even if you come across your enemy, you should able to say, “Hello. How are you?”
I was so happy to hear this, but I don’t think that I could do it. I’ll put it into practice in the near future. It takes some time, you know. [Laughter] Of course, I don’t fight with people. I get fifty percent for that. [Laughter] But to say ‘hello’, I think will still take me some more time.
So, you should be able to say ‘hello’ to your enemy also. Once you say ‘hello’ to your enemy, the enmity will vanish. That hatred will disappear. When you say ‘hello’ to him, all that boiling blood will settle down. All that boiling blood will cool down.
On the other hand, if you have got ill will and enmity towards your enemy and continue to avoid him, your blood continues to boil, and the enmity increases further. If you think that God is in everyone, you should be able to “Love all and serve all.” That is what Bhagavan has said. With this Divine feeling, you will be successful in every area of your life.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE INNER SILENCE
Swami answered a question put by another boy: “Swami, how is it possible to observe and to experience inner silence?”
Swami said, “As you don’t observe outer silence, how can you observe inner silence? [Laughter] First, observe outer silence, then you can experience inner silence.”
Swami gave this example: “It is not enough if you think that you are the Self. You should be convinced of the fact that you are the Self; that you are Atma. That feeling that ‘I am the Self, Atma, the spirit’ makes you experience silence. It is possible for you to experience silence if you think that God is within you. But if you think that the world is in you, you may be silent outwardly, while disturbed within; and ultimately, you become a mad cap! That should not be the situation. The inner silence is possible provided we feel God within our heart.”
Swami also said this: “If you say ‘Sugar, sugar, sugar’ loudly, do you know the taste of it? No. You should put it on your tongue. You should taste it, and only then you will say, ‘Oh, sugar is sweet.’ If some one further asks, ‘How sweet is it?’ the answer is ‘Sweet. That is all.’” [Laughter]
Therefore, the reality may be experienced, but will never find expression.
Swami concluded His talk to students by saying that they should have good thoughts, and foster Divine thoughts in order to experience Divinity, the manifestation of God right in front of them, so that they will be successful throughout their lifetime.
Before I take leave of you this morning, as we have got just two days left before Shivaratri, I want to bring to your attention certain important points so that you might experience Shivaratri in greater depth and fullness.
Shivaratri is a very important festival. Of course, all festivals are important. Every festival has got its own significance. I would like to draw your attention to certain highlights collected from Bhagavan’s discourses given on previous Shivaratri days.
Shi - va - ra - tri. Four letters: Shi va ra tri. According to numerology, they symbolise five plus four plus two. Shi stands for number five; va stands for number four; ra stand for number two. Five plus four plus two is equal to eleven. What is the significance of the number eleven? There are eleven forces that lead us to suffering. The eleven forces are called Rudras. There are eleven Rudras. Rudras will make you cry. I see. Where are they? If you give me their address, I will arrange for a bomb blast there. [Laughter] Where are the eleven Rudras - the evil forces responsible for my misery and suffering?
Bhagavan tells us, “They are in you. What are they? They are the five senses of perception plus the five senses of action. Karmendriya and Jnanendriya. Jnanendriya - perception, Karmendriya - action. Five plus five equals ten, plus the mind, equals eleven. These are the eleven Rudras. They make you cry. They make you suffer.”
“On the day of Shivaratri, we think of God and we pray to God intensely. Shivaratri takes place on the fourteenth night of the dark part of every month. Every month we have fifteen days of the light, bright period, and we have fifteen days of the dark period. Shivaratri is the night of the fourteenth day of the dark period.”
Bhagavan has explained that, “The moon is the presiding deity of our mind. That is why we have the lunar ‘lunatic’. [Laughter] A mad man’s madness is affected by the movement of the moon. The moon is the presiding deity of the mind. On the fourteenth night of the dark half of the month, the moon is seen as just a very thin sliver. The moon has sixteen phases. Phases are called kalas in Sanskrit. The moon has sixteen kalas or phases. By Shivaratri night, fourteen phases have passed. On the fourteenth night, we find a single sliver of moon. By singing God’s praises during Shivaratri night, even that single sliver of moon is gone by the very next night.”
GOD IS THE BASIS OF THIS UNIVERSE
Bhagavan explained, “The mind is the world. The mind is time. The mind is the man. The mind is the thought. Therefore, when the mind is withdrawn, when the mind is destroyed, when the mind is annihilated, when the mind becomes empty, when the mind is void, you are liberated. It is the mind that is responsible for janma, birth. The mind is responsible for karma, action. The mind is responsible for punara janma, rebirth. Birth, death, rebirth - janma, karma, punara janma - all this is due to the mind. When the mind is gone, when the mind is withdrawn, there is no birth, janma. Subsequently, death is out of the question.”
“You are going to be immortal. On the holy Shivaratri day, the moon will lose even its single sliver, so that there is no moon on the fifteenth night of the dark half of the month. This means that the moon, the presiding deity of the mind, is totally withdrawn, totally missing, totally absent. It symbolises the annihilation of the mind. The death of the mind, the withdrawal of the mind is the purpose behind the all-night singing on the night of holy Shivaratri. If I preserve and strengthen my mind, I may sing and sing, with the result that the throat is affected, but enlightenment is not attained. Enlightenment is possible only when the mind is withdrawn.”
“Shiva means Supreme Being. What does ‘Supreme Being’ mean? God is the foundation of the world. God is the basis of this universe. But God has no foundation. God does not require any basis. God does not need any support. He supports the whole universe. We are the supported and He is our support. He does not need any support from us. Therefore, Shiva is supreme because He relies on no one. He depends upon no one. As He needs no support, He is supreme.”
SHIVA IS SUPREME
Shiva also means the ‘Embodiment of Supreme Efficiency’. God’s efficiency is seen in every moment of our life, if only we care to be observant.
There are a number of planets and stars around the earth. They do not collide with each other. We find that rivers flowing continuously. No river would ever say, “I would like to go on strike tomorrow.” [Laughter] The wind goes on blowing incessantly. The wind will never say, “I am tried of blowing. Please give me a holiday.” [Laughter] If the wind demanded a holiday, all global problems would be solved immediately, as it would bring about the extinction of humanity. [Laughter] The sun has no holiday either. Fruits and flowers follow the seasons. No tree would ever say, “Why should I flower? You don’t thank me for my efforts. Why should I flower? [Laughter] Why should I bear fruit? You are ungrateful.” No tree would ever complain.
God’s efficiency is beyond the stretch of human imagination. Shiva is supreme, when one considers His level of efficiency and the fact that He requires no support from anybody. He is one without a second.
HE IS THE SOURCE OF BLISS
The third reason for Shiva’s supremacy is that He is the source of bliss. He is the source of light. The sun sheds light because of God. The moon gives us light because of God. Gold shines because of God. You and I live because of God. He is the source of all light; He is the source of bliss. He is Sathya Sai Baba. [Applause] Therefore, my friends, Shiva is supreme. He is the eternal cosmic energy. He is the awareness that is responsible for the birth, growth, maintenance and sustenance of the whole of this universe. Shiva is supreme.
What do the two names ‘Shiva-Shakti’ mean? Shiva is awareness. Baba talks about ‘Constant Integrated Awareness’. I often stand corrected when I say only, “Awareness.” Swami says, “No! Constant Integrated Awareness.” I am constantly corrected because I am yet to develop that awareness. [Laughter] I only have intermittent awareness; but I must develop constantly integrated awareness. Chaitanya means consciousness, which is Shiva.
Shakti is the material aspect. Shakti is earth or matter. So the bulb is Shakti, whilst the current is Shiva. Light is the combination: Shiva-shakti. The body is Shakti, while life is Shiva. The form of man is Shiva-shakti. Shiva-shakti is a combination of Shiva and Shakti. Shakti is the body; Shiva is the life. Shakti is the matter and Shiva is the energy. That is what ‘Shiva-shakti’ means. Let us not understand it as a man and a woman, the male and the female. Shiva and Shakti are just symbols. They are symbolic. They have an inner depth and significance, with which you must be familiar in order to have total understanding.
Swami says, “Shiva-shakti represents three aspects.” What are they? “One is Agni or fire. Second is wind or Vaayu. Thirdly, there is Adithya or heart. These three represent Shiva-shakti.
Where is fire? The fire is within you.” We are warm-blooded with a body temperature of 98.4 degrees. “Aham Vaishvaanaro Bhutva Praaninaam Dehamaashritha…” Vaishvaanaro Bhutva: That Vaishvanaro, the fire within me, is responsible for digestion and assimilation. Digestion is not enough; assimilation is also necessary. Some people, despite eating, continue to be thin because they are unable to assimilate the food they digest. It’s only a matter of import and export. [Laughter] Food has got to be assimilated. Assimilation is only possible because of the heat within, the Agni.
The second aspect is Vaayu, the wind. Where is it? It is our breath. “Sir, there is no wind in me.” “Ah! That is why I see your picture in the newspaper in the obituary column!” [Laughter] So, Vaayu is nothing but the breath.
And the third is Adithya - the heart. It is because of the beating of the heart that we are alive. When there is some irregularity in the heartbeat, the Super Speciality Hospital awaits our admission! [Laughter] The heartbeat is the sign of life. “Sir, the legs are perfect; the hands are perfect; the eyes are perfect; but the heart has stopped beating.” Very good! End of story! The heart is central to our very life. Breath is the sign of life. Fire is food. Shiva-shakti means Agni, Vaayu and Aditya.
TAMASIC, RAJASIC, SATVIC.
What does ‘Shiva’ mean? Swami has given us the meaning. My friends, I repeat once again that all the information I present here is collected from Swami’s discourses only. I am just providing a summary of what Swami has said; that is all. Before the examination, we revise the syllabus. We have an examination in two days’ time. It is for this reason that I am giving this summary of what Swami has said about Shivaratri.
What does ‘Shiva’ mean? It means ‘the One beyond the three attributes’. All of us have three basic qualities: first, inertia – thamasic; second, emotion – rajasic; and third, piousness and equanimity - sathwic. So, the thamasic, rajasic and sathwic qualities are present in everybody, like the three blades of a fan.
“Sir, our fan has got a single blade only.” This means that two blades are broken. “Sir, our fan has no blades at all.” Then throw it into the garbage! [Laughter] So, just as the fan has three blades, everyone has got these three qualities or attributes. That is why we are here in a human form.
Sometimes, one of these three qualities dominates. When the thamasic quality dominates, we are very close to the animal world. That is why, when a person is angry, he looks more like an animal than a human being. We should watch our own face in front of the mirror when we are angry. Nobody is ready to face us because our face is so awfully ugly. When the thamasic quality dominates, there will be more expression of the animal or the bestial temperament.
When the rajasic quality dominates, we are emotional; we are passionate. We go on desiring. We lose our temper. Temper and other emotions come under the heading of the rajasic quality. The person under the influence of rajas is more or less a human being. Yes, when Swami looks at me, I stop all the traffic, telling everybody, “Swami looked at me!” How will this benefit the other man? We forget to consider this. When Swami doesn’t look at me, I make the whole world miserable. These kinds of bumps and jumps, and ups and downs are indicative of the rajasic quality.
The sathwic quality - equanimity and balance - is the quality of a seeker, a religious man, a spiritual man, a man in meditation, or a person who is in constant contemplation of God.
The one who is beyond these three, without any of these three features, who is unruffled by the happenings of life, with no trace whatsoever of animal qualities, is attributeless. That attributelessness is Shiva, Divinity itself. Shiva means attributeless. So Shiva is ‘the One without the three attributes’.
Then there is the name ‘Sambashiva’. ‘Sa’ plus ‘Amba’ plus ‘Shiva’ is equal to ‘Sambashiva’. Amba is mother. Shiva is father. Sa is Divine. So, Divine Father and Divine Mother is the meaning of ‘Sambashiva’. ‘Sa’ is Divine, ‘Aye’ is mother, ‘Baba’ is father. So ‘Sai Baba’ means ‘Divine Father, Divine Mother’. Thus, Sambashiva is equal to Sai Baba. [Applause] That is the spirit of Shivaratri. Bhagavan has given another meaning: ‘Sa’ is Divine, ‘Amba’ is the cosmos, ‘Shiva’ is supreme. So ‘Sambashiva’ means ‘the Supreme Cosmic Divinity’.
Shiva has yet another name: ‘Digambara’. The layman’s definition is ‘a person who is naked’. ‘Dig’ means ‘poles’, like South, North, East and West - the four poles. ‘Ambara’ means ‘the sky’. So we have the four poles of this planet earth with the sky above as an umbrella. It means the four poles as the limits, with the sky as the umbrella. Digambara, with all the four poles and the sky as umbrella, is the whole universe. The whole cosmos is the very form of Divinity, according to Sai Baba. What a wonderful interpretation of the name ‘Digambara’!
Another name of Shiva is ‘Panchana’. ‘Anana’ means ‘face’. ‘Panchana’ means ‘five faces’. Shiva has five faces. Can you look at such a person - one with five faces? Which face can I look at? [Laughter] How does one look at a person with five faces? Impossible. These ‘five faces’ are the five elements - earth, water, fire, wind and sky - Prithvi, Agni, Vayu, Appas, Akasha. ‘Panchana’, the five-faced God, is also the name of Lord Shiva.
Another name of Shiva is ‘Bhoothanatha’, which means ‘the Master or Lord of all living beings’. Another name is ‘Ishwara’. ‘Ishwara’ means ‘the life force of all creatures in this creation’.
‘Sankara’ is another name of Shiva. ‘San’ means ‘all that is good, all that is precious, all that is valuable’. ‘Kara’ means ‘the one who does all that is good, all that is beneficial; the one who gives us all that is valuable’. ‘Sankara’ means ‘the one who gives all that is precious, good and valuable’.
The name ‘Kamahari’ means ‘He who is desirelessness’. ‘Hari’ is the name of Vishnu. Hari also means ‘the one who removes’. ‘Kamahari’ also means ‘the one who removes your desire’.
DESIRELESSNESS LEADS TO IMMORTALITY
My friends, the cause for our birth, janma, is desire. If you have one unfulfilled desire now, you are sure to be born again. That is what the scriptures say. I can’t even think of moksha or immortality because I have the desire for a hot cup of coffee to start the day! [Laughter] And there are a number of additional desires to follow. How can you consider desirelessness? I don’t know how long it will take till I reach the state of desirelessness? How many lives will it take?
But remember that desire is the cause for birth, and birth is the cause for action. Action is the cause for a situation. You have to face the consequences of your actions. You cannot run away from the consequences of your actions. Action leads you to the consequences of your action. This is responsible for bandha or bondage, which takes you to death, or mrutyu.
Kama, desire, is responsible for janma, birth. Janma is responsible for karma, action. Action will take us to karmaphala, the consequences of action. This karmaphala is bandha, bondage, which ends in death or mrutyu. Therefore, to reach the state of deathlessness or immortality, one should be desireless. Kama is the first step. Mrutyu is the last step. To be deathless, one should not have desire.
So, Kamahari, desirelessness, is the purpose behind observing Shivaratri. When I am desireless, I will be deathless. That deathlessness has a name, ‘Mrutyunjaya’, which is another name of Shiva. Mrutyunjaya: ‘Mrutyu’ is ‘death’, while ‘Jaya’ means ‘the one who has conquered death’. So, to be deathless, to be immortal, one must go beyond desire.
I would like to bring to your notice another point that Baba has made. On Shivaratri, we are awake throughout the night. We observe a vigil. People think that by staying awake the whole night their birth in heaven is assured. [Laughter] Certainly not! If staying awake throughout the night it is a guarantee for heaven, then all watchmen deserve to be in heaven! [Laughter] All nurses on night duty should be in paradise. It is not so. Mere observance of the vigil, or staying awake, is meaningless. A man with high blood pressure, under tension, is sleepless. That doesn’t mean that he deserves to be in heaven. Of course, if his blood pressure rises any higher, he will go there. [Laughter]
‘Jagarana’ means ‘remaining awake’. Awake for what? Why are you vigilant? You are vigilant for the inner Self. You are awake, alert, and aware of the Self within. One may close one’s eyes, but remain awake within. But one is not awake for the worldly worries or anxieties, for business matters, or for political objectives. If one is awake, in constant enquiry of the Self, it is called ‘vigil’ or ‘Jagarana’.
Most of the casinos in Las Vegas, USA are open throughout the night. Do you believe that all these Las Vegas people will go to heaven? [Laughter] Of course, the casino itself looks like a heaven! [Laughter] That is a different thing altogether. Swami has said that if one is awake throughout night playing cards, it isn’t a spiritual activity. It is gambling, that’s all. Jagarana or vigil means ‘remaining awake to the Self’.
People fast during Shivaratri night. This fasting is called upavasa. This upavasa has got a deeper meaning. Suppose I don’t take food because I had a fight with my wife at home. That doesn’t mean that I am going to reach paradise. No, no. If I don’t eat for couple of days before, that is a different thing. Not eating because of some fight at home is not a spiritual activity. When the doctor orders that you don’t eat because you have a high fever, your fast is not a spiritual activity either. The doctor has prohibited your intake of food. That’s all.
Therefore, my friends, upavasa or fasting has got a deeper meaning. Vasa means ‘dwelling place’. ‘Upa’ means ‘near’. When you are near God or the inner Self, that is ‘upavasa’. So fasting on Shivaratri night means ‘upa’ or ‘being near’ the ‘vasa’ or ‘dwelling place’, meaning ‘being close to the Self’, while Jagarana suggests ‘being awake to the Self’.
A SENSE OF DIVINITY
In India, you find that people’s names have the prefix ‘Sri’: Sri Subba Rao, Sri Venkateshwar Rao, Sri Sambasiva Rao. ‘Sri’ is a prefix. In the West, you say, ”Mr. so-and-so.” But ‘Sri’ is different from ‘Mr.’ ‘Sri’ imparts a feeling of beatitude, a sense of Divinity, a sign of auspiciousness. The body is inauspicious because it is ephemeral, transitory and ever-changing. As you know, the body changes. If I care to look at my own photographs taken twenty years ago, I feel ashamed. [Laughter] What happened to that curly hair? It is being replaced by a head getting progressively balder. The open space between hairs is increasing! [Laughter] What happened? Yes, naturally the body changes. Therefore, it is inauspicious.
However, within this inauspicious body resides auspicious Divinity. It is with this idea that ‘Sri’ is used as the prefix before every name. ‘Sri so-and-so’ implies that although the body is inauspicious, ‘Sri’, the Divinity, is within it. So, Sri Rama’s body is not here, but ‘Sri’, His Divinity, is still here. Am I clear? Sri Krishna’s body is not here, but ‘Sri’, the Divinity of Krishna is still here. Thus, ‘Sri’ reminds us of Divinity.
Yet, we don’t say ‘Sri Shiva’ or ‘Sri Sankara’ because Sankara or Shiva is a concept. It is a notion; it is an ideology; it is a theology, not a name or a form. Shiva is not a form; Shiva is a concept. So nobody says ‘Sri Shiva’, ‘Sri Shambo’ or ‘Sri Sankara’ because Shiva, Shambo and Sankara are the auspicious Principle itself. They are not relating to a specific name or form.
WE ARE MOST FORTUNATE
There are Shiva shrines all over the country. Banaras is a Shiva shrine, as is Badri, Prayag, Sri Sailam, Kalahasti, and Amaravati. These are all Shiva pilgrim centers, where one can find Shiva temples and Shiva shrines. But we are extremely lucky to be in front of Shiva Himself, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. [Applause] We pray and sing His glory right in front of Shiva Himself. This is not an ordinary thing. People sing His glory all over the world on Shivaratri, with the hope of seeing Him. But we actually see Him and sing His glory simultaneously. What fortune could be greater than this? What good luck could there be greater than this? We, who are here on the day of the Mahashivaratri celebration, in the presence of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, are the most fortunate people - Sambashiva Himself! [Applause]
May Bhagavan bless you. A happy and holy Mahashivaratri. Thank you very much. [Applause]
Anil Kumar concluded his talk with the bhajan, “Om Shivaya Om Shivaya”.
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!