son of Vajasravas, prayed to Lord Yama to teach him Atma Vidya. Then,
Lord Yama said, “Oh the son of immortality! Listen. First establish
your link with the source from which you have come into the world.” He
also advised Nachiketha that since the body was perishable like a
water bubble and the mind was fleeting, both of them must be
discarded, meaning, no importance should be attached to them and
efforts be made to realize the fundamental Truth.
The Lord of Kailasa has manifested his
Divine form with the crescent moon adorning his head, the cool
water of the Ganga flowing between the matted locks, with his
radiant eye in the middle of the forehead and the purple neck
gleaming like the sheen of a blackberry. He wears serpent
bracelets and a snake belt, his entire body is smeared with
Vibhuti, his forehead is adorned with a kumkum dot, his ruddy lips
glow with the juice of the betel, diamond-studded gold earrings
dangle from his ears and his whole swarthy body glows with divine
You need not search for Lord Easwara for He is very much present in
you”, said Lord Yama.
Dear Students and Devotees!
You have to understand the true significance and philosophy underlying
the festival of Sivarathri. First realise that you are not the
physical body which is perishable and impermanent. You have to look at
this objective world with Jnana Chakshu (the eye of wisdom),
not with the Charma Chakshu (physical eye). The animals,
insects, birds and beasts are looking at this world with their
physical eyes. If you also look at this objective world with mere
physical eyes, what difference is there between you and those beings?
You will then simply remain an animal, bird, beast or insect. You will
not be able to realize your true nature, which is beyond the physical
world. You have to comprehend the transcendental reality which is
beyond the body and the mind. This is possible only with the help of
Jnana Chakshu (the eye of wisdom). The body is like a water
bubble. It will disappear one day or the other. You are not the body
that has birth, growth, decay and death ultimately. Therefore, Lord
Yama exhorted Nachiketha to realize the Atma Thathwa that has
no birth and death.
question arises as to what is Atma? Atma has no
form. It is infinite, indescribable and immeasurable.
Nirgunam, Niranjanam, Sanathana Niketanam, Nitya, Shuddha, Buddha,
Mukta, Nirmala Swarupinam (Atma is attributeless, pure, final
abode, eternal, unsullied, enlightened, free and embodiment of
Such an Atma Thathwa is immanent in every individual, nay
every being, in the form of consciousness. Your life as a human being
will acquire a meaning and purpose, only when you realise the
conciousness. Enquiries relating to worldly matters are meaningless
and an exercise in futility. Lord Yama exhorted Nachiketha to realise
that principle, having realized which he would have known everything
else. The body has birth, growth, decay and death. But, Atma
has no such qualities. It is the eternal witness to everything in this
Universe. You have therefore to realize that Atma Thathwa.
Thus taught Lord Yama to Nachiketha.
The Atma is eternal without birth or death.
It has no beginning, middle or end. It is omnipresent and eternal
are several electric bulbs glowing here. Though the bulbs are of
different sizes, colours and capacity, the electrical energy
manifesting as light through them is one and the same. Similarly, the
same divine power is present in every living being and makes it
function. That is Atma Thathwa. I often refer to the terms
Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Right Conduct), Santhi(
Peace) and Prema (Love). Sathya is the electricity, Dharma is
the wire through which the electric current passes. Santhi is the bulb
and Prema is the effulgence. If you want to attain Atmaananda
(Atmic bliss), you have to follow Sathya and Dharma. That is why, the
ancient culture of Bharath exhorted humanity Sathyam Vada
(speak Truth) and Dharmam Chara (practise righteous conduct)
In contrast to this noble principle, what is happening today?
Sathyam Vadha (Truth is being killed) and Dharmam Chera
(Righteous Conduct is being imprisoned). No, No. This is not
humanness. Speak truth and observe righteous conduct.
Lord Yama told Nachiketa, “This human body which is like a water
bubble is bound to burst one day or other. Therefore, realize that
Atma Thathwa which is real and eternal”. You have to recognize
that Atma Tathwa, not by your Charma Chakshu
(physical eyes), but by the Jnana Chakshu (eye of wisdom)
Then, the question arises as to what is Jnana (wisdom)? Is it
physical knowledge or secular knowledge or knowledge relating to the
objects of nature? No, none of these. Experiencing the principle of
non-dualism is true wisdom (Advaita darsanam jnanam). Atma transcends
the name and form. Lord Yama, therefore, exhorted Nachiketha to attain
are going mad in search of spiritual knowledge. They adopt umpteen
number of practices and bodily postures and call it spiritual
sadhana. But, none of these can help to attain Atma Jnana.
What is important is Prema (Love) which is the undercurrent
of all forms of spiritual sadhana. Realising the perishable
nature of this Deha (body), one has to realise the indweller
(Dehi), who is none other than the eternal Atma.
The body is made up of five elements and is
bound to perish sooner or later but the indweller has neither
birth nor death. The indweller has no attachment whatsoever and is
the eternal witness. Truly speaking, the indweller who is in the
form of the Atma is verily God Himself.
The true and
eternal Atma Thathwa is immanent in one’s own body. It can be
realized only by the Jnana netras (eyes of wisdom). You have
to gradually give up Dehabhimana (attachment to the body) and
cultivate Atmabhimana (love towards the Atma). You
think you are the body and develop attachment to it. So long as the
process of inhalation and exhalation continues in the body, you
consider it as yours. Once the process comes to a halt, you do not
know what is happening around.
body, though of perishable nature, teaches one great lesson, namely, “SOHAM”
(you are nothing but the eternal Atma Thathwa). When you
inhale your breath, you make the sound “So” and while
exhaling you make the sound “Ham”. The inhaling process
represents life and exhaling represents death. If you wish to overcome
life and death, one moment is enough. You have to give up body
attachment, which I am demonstrating right before you day in and day
out. This body which I have taken upon Myself is undergoing several
types of suffering . Just as you suffer from physical ailments, this
body also suffers. But, I do not attach importance to this suffering.
Several students and devotees have expressed anxiety and concern that
I might undergo a lot of suffering while the Linga emerges
from My body. No doubt your apprehensions are true, but, I do not feel
any suffering. In fact, it is only when I identify Myself with the
body, I undergo pain. Since I am not the body, I do not suffer any
For example, this is a handkerchief (holding a kerchief in His hands)
As long as you consider this kerchief as yours, you pick it up, wipe
your face and carefully put it back in its original place. Just
because the kerchief is yours, do you accept if there is dirt on it?
No, never. You at once discard it. In the same manner, you should
realize that you are different from the body. You should not attach
any importance to the suffering of the body. All those objects which
you consider as yours have to be discarded one day or the other. When
you do not consider something as yours, you do not feel any pain in
discarding it. This body underwent several types of suffering, the
recent one being a fracture in the hip bone.
The body is afterall a conglomeration of Indriyas (senses).
Whatever has happened is only to the body and not to Me. When you
adopt such type of attitude you will get peace. For example, when you
find an ant crawling on your hand, if you try to scratch it, you will
have more pain. After all why should you have to suffer so much on
account of a small insect like an ant crawling over your body? It is
only because you are under the illusion that you are the body. The eye
sees something. But what it sees may not be real since it is bound to
undergo change after some time. What the ears have heard may undergo
change after some time. In the same way, the food we eat will also
undergo change after a few hours. There is nothing that is permanent
in this world. You have to realise this truth. You have to enquire as
to what is it that remains unchanged in the past, present and future.
If I teach you this truth by quoting big Sanskrit Slokas and Mantras,
you may not be able to understand this simple truth. If this is
related to your day-to-day experience, you will understand it better.
Some time back, when My hip bone got fractured, I was taken to the
hospital. The doctors were planning for performing a major orthopaedic
surgery. I told them, “You can do whatever you wish to. This body is
yours. I am not the body. I am not under the control of the body I am
I.” The doctors performed a major operation on this body. But, I did
not suffer any pain. Whatever pain was there, only the body suffered,
not Me. If you also adopt similar attitude, you will not feel any
pain. Therefore, reduce your Dehabhimana (attachment to the
All of you are undertaking some sort of sadhana. What exactly
is the real meaning of sadhana? sadhana is not
merely acquiring knowledge about the nature of body. In fact, you have
to forget about the body and concentrate on the Atmic Bliss. How do
you attain that bliss? It can be attained only through Prema (love).
If only there is pure love, all your suffering will be removed.
Therefore, cultivate pure and selfless love. Supposing, you came
across a person on the road who is inimical to you. If you hate him
and move away from him considering him as your enemy, the distance
between you and him increases further. On the other hand, if you greet
him lovingly saying “Hello! how are you?, naturally he would respond
with love. Thus, when you both greet each other lovingly, there is no
scope for hate persisting anymore. As is your feeling towards others,
so is their feeling. The same idea is contained in the Vedic
declaration: “Yadbhavam thadbhavathi” (As is your feeling, so
shall you become). Today, we are directing all our negative feelings
on others. We should not however bear any ill-will against anybody.
Whatever negative feelings are there, they are just passing clouds.
They come and go. The sun may not be visible while it is under thick
clouds. The moment the clouds move away, the sun is visible.
Similarly, when your negative feelings scatter away, what remains is
pure love. You can achieve anything in this world with love. In fact,
you can get the entire world under your control through love. People
say they are sitting in meditation, both morning and evening. But,
what kind of meditation is going on? What benefit are they deriving
out of it? How long is its effect lasting? Not even a moment.
Remember, all worldly matters are like passing clouds. Therefore, do
not enagage yourself much in them.
Once Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was walking through the market place,
chanting the divine name. In fact, he was dancing in ecstasy. Some
people on seeing him thought he was a madcap. They snatched away his
mridanga. But, he did not resent for this. He started chanting the
divine name while beating the cymbals. The irate onlookers took away
the cymbals also. Even then he was not bothered. He thought perhaps
God did not like his beating the cymbals. He resolved not to touch the
cymbals which he thought were not to the liking of God. He consoled
himself saying whatever musical instruments were taken away from him,
were not to God’s liking. God’s will prevails ultimately. Such was his
faith. From then onwards he gave up all worldly attachments and
concentrated on Premathathwa (Principle of Love), which none
could take away from him. One has to aspire for that which cannot be
taken away by others. That is Pure Love. A printed matter on a piece
of paper cannot be separated from it. Likewise, your heart should be
like a pure white paper and love the printed matter. These two are
inseparable. Cultivate such love.
Love is your sole refuge wherever you may
be, in a forest, in the sky, in a city or a village, on the top of
a mountain or in the middle of deep sea.
may be, divine love will protect you always. Cultivate such type of
love. That is the real sadhana. sadhana is not
something that is associated with dhana (money). sadhana
stands for Salokya, Sameepya, Sarupya and
Sayujya. Unfortunately today people do not understand the
real meaning of sadhana.
Students! You are reading big books written by elders. However, mere
reading will not help. When you read a pustaka (book),
whatever is contained in it will enter your mastaka (head).
That means both the pustaka and mastaka become one.
You should not stop at that. Whatever has been stored in the
mastaka must get into the heart, where it will remain for ever.
Embodiments of Divine Atma!
Atma is Divine. Never forget this aspect. Some people find happiness
in physical sadhana. But, the pleasure they derive out of it
is only physical and temporary in nature. All that is associated with
time is bound to disappear one day or the other. You have to attach
yourself to that which is permanent, eternal and real. God’s love is
beyond all description. It is supreme. On the other hand, the physical
love is momentary and is associated with physical relationship.
Whatever is associated with the body comes and goes. But, pure and
selfless love which emerges from the heart comes and grows. You have
to cultivate such love. It will never diminish. You need not have to
beg for this from somebody. You cannot purchase this from the market
either, since it is not a saleable commodity. God is the only source
from which love flows. It is available only in His shop. Therefore
find out a way to reach Him. Unfortunately, today people do not aspire
to acquire such pure love in spite of being very near to the source of
such love. They do not even realise that this invaluable gift is
available right in front of them. People crave for worldly favours and
objects, thinking there is great happiness in possessing them. No.
They can never give real happiness. The happiness arising out of
worldly things is only momentary. Only God’s love is the eternal
principle. Therefore love such Divine Love. You do not get it anywhere
else except from God.
God has neither birth nor death. He has
neither beginning nor end. He is present in all beings as the
God’s love is
the only Truth. It will never change. Worship such changeless Truth.
Seek refuge in that Truth. That is the only real sadhana for
attaining liberation. What is meant by ‘Moksha’ (Liberation)?
Is it living in some palatial building with air-conditioned rooms,
located in the heaven above? No, not at all. To get rid of Moha
(attachment) is true Moksha (liberation) You have to give up
the body attachment in the first instance. Once you get rid of body
attachment, you will naturally develop Vairagya
(renunciation), which will ultimately lead you to liberation. Love is
the only path that can lead you to liberation.
You might have heard the story of Mandana Misra, a scholar of great
repute. His wife, Ubhayabharathi, too was a great scholar.
When Adi Sankara was proceeding on his victory march, he met Mandana
Misra and entered into a scholarly debate with him. It was decided
that Mandana Misra would take to Sannyasa if he was defeated in the
debate. Ubhayabharathi was chosen to be the adjudicator of
the contest. Will anyone accept such a proposal wherein the rival’s
wife acts as the adjudicator? But, Adi Sankara had no hesitation to
accept her as the adjudicator, for he knew that Ubhayabharati strictly
adhered to the principle of truth in letter and spirit. She was
impartial in her judgement and declared Sankara to be the winner.
Mandana Misra took to Sannyasa in accordance with the terms and
conditions of the debate. Ubhayabharati, being his Ardhangi
(better half), followed suit.
Ubhayabharathi lived in a hermitage near the bank of river
Ganga. Many women became her disciples. Every day in the morning, they
used to go to the bank of the Ganga to have a bath. On the way, there
lived a Sannyasi, whom people considered as Brahma Jnani (the
knower of Brahma). He had renounced the world to attain true wisdom.
Howerver, he was very much attached to a dried bottle-gourd in which
he used to preserve water. One day he was lying down, using it as a
pillow, lest someone should steal it. Ubhayabharathi observed
this and asked her disciples as to who he was. One of the disciples
said that he was known as Brahma Jnani. Then
Ubhayabharathi remarked, “Though he is one of wisdom, he is
attached to his bottle-gourd which he is using as his pillow.” The
so-called Brahma Jnani heard their conversation and became
angry. When Ubhayabharathi and her disciples were returning
from the Ganga, he threw away the bottle- gourd on the road, just to
show that he was not attached to it. Seeing this, Ubhayabharathi
at once remarked, “I thought there was only one defect in him -
Abhimana (attachment). Now I realise that he has another defect
also - Ahamkara (ego). How can one with Ahamkara and
Abhimana be a Jnani (one of wisdom)? Her comment was
an eye opener for the Sannyasi. Immediately he fell at the feet of
Ubhayabharathi and prayed to her to teach him true knowledge.
To visualise multiplicity is Ajnana (ignorance) and to
visualise unity in multiplicity is Jnana (wisdom).
Ubhayabharathi imparted such sacred teachings and transformed the
individuals. As she understood the principle of unity, she ultimately
attained liberation. On the other hand Mandana Misra could not attain
liberation as he was immersed in worldly feelings. Ubhayabharathi
started preaching and propagating the path of wisdom. She became the
guru of one and all. A true guru is one who dispels the darkness of
ignorance and lights the lamp of wisdom. That which remains changeless
in all the three periods of time is true wisdom. People accepted
Ubhayabharathi as their guru because her thought, word and deed
were in complete harmony. Manasyekam vachasyekam karmanyekam
mahatma naam (Those whose thoughts, words and deeds are in
perfect harmony are noble ones).
Manonaashanam (annihilation of the mind) is what you should
strive for. You should have desire for God and nothing else. You
should not get entangled in the worldly relationships. That is true
The teachings of Ubhayabharathi spread far and wide and she
became highly reputed for her wisdom. Even today there are many such
people of wisdom. Without men of merit and wisdom, how can there be
light in the world? However, wisdom cannot be acquired from
individuals. It can be acquired only by developing love for God. A
beggar who comes to our doorstep begs for alms saying “Bhavati
Bhikshan Dehi.” He addresses Dehi (indweller) and not
Deha (physical body). In this manner, you can learn a
profound spiritual truth even from a beggar.
One may acquire a high academic
qualification such as M.A. and B.A. and attain exalted position
One may amass wealth, perform acts of charity and attain name and
One may have physical strength and enjoy a long and healthy life
One may be a great scholar studying and preaching the Vedas,
None of them can equal a true devotee of the Lord.
doubt, worldly education is also essential to eke out a livelihood,
but it cannot impart true wisdom. Only Atma Vidya (knowledge
of the Self) can grant you everlasting happiness. However, secular
education is also essential to take care of your physical needs. You
should not give it up altogether. Worldly education is Negative and
spiritual education is Positive. Both are essential for happiness here
Students! You should become masters in both forms of knowledge,
secular and spiritual, like Ubhayabharathi. But always
remember that only Atmic knowledge is the true knowledge. Once you
acquire it, you would have acquired everything else.
Last night I came to the Sai Kulwant Hall at 1 o’ clock. It is during
this auspicious time that the divine lingas emerge from Kailasa. The
lingas emerge of their own accord at the divine will. I saw several
students and devotees singing Bhajans with great devotion. But who are
the real devotees? I observed that only a few people were singing with
real devotion and a pure heart constantly contemplating on the divine
name. There were thousands of people participating in the Bhajans. But
not all of them are real devotees. Their body was present in the hall
but their mind was not fixed on God. They were mechanically
participating in Bhajans. This is not real devotion. Wherever you sit,
whether in the prayer hall, or elsewhere, if your thoughts are fixed
on God, then you are a true devotee and you will attain His grace. If
you feel sleepy, you can sleep. There is no objection. However even in
sleep, may your thoughts be fixed on divinity.
Is it not because of your love and devotion towards God that you came
all the way to Prasanthi Nilayam to participate in Sivarathri Bhajans?
I can understand your devotion. A true devotee does not need any
conveniences. He does not wish any type of comforts. Wherever you go,
keep the mind under your control and direct all your thoughts towards
God. That is real devotion. That is what Ubhayabharathi
taught to her disciples. If you also cultivate such devotion, your
lives will be sanctified. Do not divert your attention on physical
comforts. Always chant the Panchakshari Mantra, “Om Namah
Sivaya.” If you merely chant with lips it will merge into worldly
sounds. On the other hand, if you chant the divine name sincerely with
full concentration of your mind, it will spread all over the world.
Chanting of the divine name with full concentration by the mind is
(Bhagavan concluded His discourse with the Bhajan,
“Hari Bhajan Bina Sukha Santhi Nahi…”)