Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

    Home  Thought for the Day  |  Sai Inspires 

    Articles | Avatar | Bhajans | Experiences | Messages | Miracles | Prayers | Quotes | Stories | Service | Teachings


Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
July 8, 2001

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

Different Categories of Religions (Part I)

8th July, 2001


Sai Ram.

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

What is Religion?

I am so happy to be back once again to share a few thoughts with you this morning, following the Guru Purnima celebration. Defining the word 'religion', Bhagavan at one time said that religion is the one which 'connects', religion is the one which 'interlinks', religion is the one which 'takes you back', that 'reminds you of your own Self'. 'Re + ligion': re = once again + ligion - it means 'once again we go back to our nativity'. In other words, we go back to our true Self. That is what religion is all about. But we often mistake that religion is a particular field or a particular path, a sort of exercise. It is not so. Religion is to reconnect. That connection is lost with the passage of time.

Three Barriers to the Self

For varied reasons, we have lost our true identity. We have mistaken that we are the body. We go with the feeling that we are the mind. Because I consider myself to be the body, I am quite conscious of my stature, my height, my weight, and so on. So, we are conscious of our body and our personality because of our false identification with the body. Therefore, we are cut off from our true Self. We are cut off from our true being. We are cut off from our Reality because of false identification with the body.

Then secondly, we are also cut off from our true Self because of our false identification with the mind. I think that I am the mind, or rather ego, and hence I introduce myself as so-and-so, mentioning my degrees, my achievements, my accomplishments, my position, my power and pelf. I get into show, exhibitionism, aggrandizement, self-praise, and so on. This is all because of my identification with the mind.

So, the first barrier that has cut off our links and disconnected us from our true Self or which has distanced us from our true Reality is our identification with the body. The second obstacle is our identification with the mind in the form of ego.

The third barrier is that of the intellect. It is the intellect that makes us feel that we are one of wisdom, that we are endowed with judgment, that we are very good in exercising the faculty of discretion, discrimination, and judgment. That's the reason why people say, "I know what is to be done. I am right in my judgment. I am never wrong. I am good at discretion." So this kind of self-claim at being good at judgment and discretion is actually intellectual arrogance.

There Are Three Layers to Remove

So, psychological pride (the mind or ego), intellectual arrogance (the intellect), and physical avarice or greed (the body) - these are the three layers that cut us off or distance us from our true nature or Self.

To give one concrete example from Bhagavan's literature - He tells us that we wear three layers of clothes: the outer coat, the shirt under the coat, and the inner banian (or T-shirt) which we wear over our chest. If I want to see my chest, I must remove the coat first, which represents the body identification. Then I should remove the shirt next, which is the identification with the mind. Lastly, I should remove the T-shirt, which is the identification with the intellect. Then I will be able to see my chest, which represents the true Self in this example.

So, as Bhagavan puts it, we have distanced ourselves from our true Self, our true identity, or our true nature because of the body, the mind, and the intellect. It is here that we need a religion. It is here where the importance of religion lies. That is the role of religion - to reconnect you back. Let us say that the mike (microphone) stopped functioning and the light bulbs stopped illuminating. Why? They are disconnected because of the electrical connections, which have been cut off. Therefore, the wires have got to be reconnected. The electricity has to be resumed.

Similarly, we have been distanced from our true Self, our true nature, and we have got to be reconnected, reestablished, re-energized, and rejuvenated. That process is the very purpose, is the very objective, of religion. Re + ligion means 'connecting back once again'. That is religion's purpose.

So, if we say that we follow Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, it means we are not following religions of other sorts. We are not adopting religions of other natures. We are following religion in the true sense, in the strict sense of the term, in adherence to that particular term 'religion'. It means Bhagavan Baba wants us to go back to our Self. Bhagavan Baba wants us to enjoy and experience our true Reality, which is the very nature of our being, different from our body, our mind, and our intellect.

Religion Has Divided Us

But what are the types of religions that we find all around us, the religions that we have been following all along, generation-after-generation? Have religions realized their purpose? Have they taken us to our objective? Are we anywhere nearer the goal?

If we are really honest, we have to say, "Definitely not! We have not reached the goal. We have not realized the objective. We have forgotten the very aim because religion itself has divided us!" Religion itself has divided us! People belonging to the same religion also fight because of the difference in their denominations.

So, there is a kind of in-fighting. Instead of understanding, instead of awareness, instead of Divine experience, instead of bliss, we are divided. Therefore, let us try to examine the religions that we have been faithfully following, but through which we have not yet realized the purpose for which they were meant.

I won't mention any particular single religion. Let us think of all religions and classify them under different, general categories. Let us not mention any single religion by name. It is too narrow. It is too silly and totally stupid. Let me not attempt it. Let us study religions from a broader base. Let us classify them and study these classifications, one-after-one, in a broader sense; not in the narrow sense of looking at a single religion. Namewise, I shall not do that.

Ignorance-Oriented Religions

- Fanaticism -

The first category of religions is based on, or is oriented in, ignorance. What do I mean by 'ignorance-oriented religions'? Many of the religions exploit or thrive on our ignorance. How can I say that? Let me mention here each point, one after another.

Ignorance-based religions are fanatical. It is their ignorance that makes them say, "Mine is the only religion! Ours is the only religion! My God is the only God!" That's all nonsense. It is all born out of ignorance. It is only the ignorance-oriented religions that make the followers declare, "Mine is the only religion! My God is the only God!" That is fanaticism.

- Based on Belief -

The second quality of ignorance-based religion is this: Everything is based on belief. What do I mean? For example, "Sir, how am I to know that your God is the only God?" Their answer is, "Believe it!" Oh, fine. "How am I to know that yours is the only way?" Again the answer is, "Believe it!" "How am I to know that I will reach the goal?" Their answer is, "Believe it!" So, it is based on a belief system. It is based only on belief.

But beliefs are traditional. Beliefs are social. Beliefs are constantly changing from time-to-time. You cannot go by belief systems, especially in today's world, which is the age of computer science, space, and technology. In these days of science, space, and technology, if I say, "Believe it" to electronics people, they will answer, "I don't believe you!"

So, we can no longer go by a belief system. We cannot be fanatics nowadays because science has gone too deeply into things today. There is a new understanding, even at the ionic level. Science has become a religion today. If religion is not scientific, it has no place today's world. Religion has become a matter of science today. Every religion could be explained in a scientific way. So, we cannot ignore science altogether. We cannot afford to be fanatics any longer. So, fanaticism is the quality of ignorance-based religion. Fanaticism, dogmatism, and belief system are the qualities of an ignorance-oriented religion.

They also say, "My religion will give you the total experience. It is your only reality." They speak in terms of the Absolute. But, the fact is that it is a relative experience. There cannot be an absolute experience. There cannot be absolute knowledge. It is only relative. So, a relative thing is forecast or is projected in terms of the Absolute. That is another point about religions that are ignorance-based.


Moreover, this ignorance makes them imitate others. Let me not make mention anybody in particular. There are some people who want to dress like Bhagavan Baba, who want to talk like Him and exhibit gestures like Him. That is impossible! That's a zebra-quality! (Laughter) So, it should not be like that. After all, you cannot compare a zebra with any other animal. Bhagavan said at one time, "Because of its stripes, you cannot say that the zebra is a tiger. Impossible!" All those insects that fall on the flower to draw the nectar of differing qualities are different from all the rest of the insects. Therefore, a cockroach and a butterfly are different from all the rest of the insects.

So, imitation is cheap. Imitation is poisonous. Imitation is dangerous. And imitation is destructive at any level. Ignorance makes people imitate. We are not here to imitate. We are here to emulate. Emulate; never imitate! This is most important. Never envy, but emulate. So, we have to emulate the example. We have got to be exemplary by imbibing the values, not by simply imitating. This imitation is one of the features of ignorance-oriented religions.

Book-Burning in Ancient Egypt

This ignorance has gone to great heights. I'll give you one example from the past. In Alexandria (in ancient Egypt), they had the biggest library. But they burned the whole thing! It took six months to burn the whole library. So you can imagine what size of a library it was. It took six months to burn the whole library in Alexandria!

Why did they do it? It was due to ignorance-oriented religion. What did they say? They said, "All is written there in the Koran, the Holy Text of Islam. When the whole thing is there, when the Truth is there, why do we need any other books? Burn them! And when those things that are not mentioned in the Koran are there in other books, it is a sin to go through them. Burn them!" So, in either case, they destroyed the books. You can imagine what Himalayan heights of ignorance and arrogance were there in Alexandria, during this time of the destruction of this library over a period of six months. There is no parallel to such ignorance.

Therefore, we have to get rid of the first category of religions, which are based on ignorance. The one who follows the Sai path cannot afford to be dogmatic or fanatic. Who is a Sai devotee? The one who is not a fanatic and the one who is not dogmatic. Why do I say this? The one who follows Sai's path can take the essence from every religion. We can understand every little gem. We can accept the teachings of all religions.

Baba said, "All religions together taught good and sacred things only. If your minds are good, if your heads are tolerably good, no religion is bad. There is no religion in this world which is bad. All religions teach good things only." Therefore, a Sai devotee cannot be dogmatic or fanatic. He is ready to absorb and accept anything good, as stated in any religion.

A Sai devotee will never imitate. We are not for imitation. We are our own type. We are unique. The path shown by Bhagavan is unique. How it is and what it is, we will come to know in the days to come. It is not one of imitation because Baba said, "Imitation is human. Imitation is a sign of weakness. Creation is Divine."

Fear-Oriented Religions

What is the second type of religion? It is fear-oriented religion. (As I said in the beginning, I am not going to mention any individual religions. You can understand what they are with all the knowledge that we have.)

What do I mean by 'fear-oriented' religions? "If you don't act like this, if you don't follow what is taught, you will certainly find your berth reserved in hell!" (Response:) "Oh, I see. So let me be careful now." It is hell that frightens people. It is negativity. It is a negative approach: "Don't do this. Don't do that. If you do this, you will go to hell. Don't do that."

The Ten Commandments, yama (control of the inner senses), and niyama (control of the outer senses), all these disciplines are taught. Why? "You'll go to hell otherwise." (Response:) "Oh, I see. What is hell?"

(Answer:) "People say in some of the books that you'll be fried on the frying pan! People say you'll be fried there. You'll be dried in the hot sun! You have to walk on the edges of the nails! Ah-ha! That is the description of hell."

(Response:) "Oh, I see. Let me be careful now." This is the category of fear-oriented religions.

What does Bhagavan say? What does He mean? What does He give as a solution? What is the solution given to us? Fear is neither the qualification nor the quality of a devotee. Fearlessness is the quality of a devotee. "Why fear when I am here?" says our God. "Why do you fear? You don't have to fear at all."

Fear-Oriented Religions Promote a Sense of Guilt

Fear-oriented religions promote a sense of guilt. "I have done something wrong. Swami is angry with me. Swami is not looking at me!" Did He say that He is angry with you? Why should He be angry with you? To fear that He is angry with you is a sign of ego.

To say, "I am close to Him. I am very close to Him. He talks to me whenever I come. I am so very close." Chi! Chi! (Note: This is a Telugu expression of disgust.) That's Himalayan ego! (Laughter) There's no solution at all for a couple of lives to come! It is the self-important ego that makes him feel that, "I am so important. Therefore He talks to me!" No!

You are most unimportant. Let us know that no one is important. The only one who is most important is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. All of us should be aware that we are very, very unimportant. It is ego that makes us feel important. "Therefore, because I feel that I am a VIP, that makes me declare, 'I am close to Swami. Swami talks to me, takes my letter, and collects my flower, as if there are no other flowers in this world!' "(Laughter)

Or, "He accepts a letter from me because it is a state which is of universal importance!" (Laughter) Chi! Chi! Chi! Chi! There's no redemption! (Laughter) Or, "Swami's not looking at me! He's angry with me. I have done something wrong. I have done some crime. I am not proceeding in the way that He wants me to. I have not paid any heed to His words. Therefore, He's not looking at me." No, no. Why should you think that you are so important?

So, this feeling of importance, which is nothing but ego, makes us also feel that we are ignored. This same ego makes us feel that we are recognized. Recognition and being ignored are the obverse and the reverse of the same coin called 'ego'. So, the fear and the sense of guilt are more dangerous than the guilt itself. Thus, fear-oriented religions always promote such kind of activity. They always look to some kind of refuge, some sort of heaven.

What does Bhagavan say about fear? When once you love God, naturally you won't fear anybody. Then you will be afraid to commit a sin. You won't commit a sin. The first step is to love God. Fear of sin comes next. If you love God, there is no question of sin at all. The more you love God, the more you will be away from sin. Therefore, it is not the fear that should make you religious. No, no, no.

How can I say that? Here's a simple example. Hindus revere one form of God. No Christian is attracted by that form. Every Christian is drawn by another particular form, like a cross on an altar or something like that. No Hindu is attracted to that. Muslims are drawn by Kaaba (Note: the principal sanctuary in Mecca). But that does not draw Hindus and Christians.

So these images, these idols, these pictures are all of our own making. Therefore we fear them. But this is not really the case. In fact, Bhagavan says, "All names are Mine. All forms are Mine." In that case, where is the question of fear? When once you really feel that everyone is Divine, that every form is Divine, and that you are basically Divine, then where is the fear? You will be absolutely fearless!

They Have a List of "Don'ts"

So, the second category of religions, which are purely based on fear, are totally negative. They have got a long list of "Don'ts": "Don't do this. Don't do that. If you utter a lie, you'll be in hell for six months!" (Laughter) Oh, I see - 'Divine Penal Code' or 'D.P.C.'! (Laughter) They go on telling like that. "If you don't take care of your parents, you'll be in hell for one year."

(Response:) "Oh, how do you know that? Have you been there once? Or has anybody returned to tell you that they were there for this period, adding, 'So please tell everybody'?" No, no, no, no. Fear-oriented religions play on our sentiments. They play on our feelings. They play on our weaknesses. This is a political approach.

So, a religion that is based on fear is purely political, capitalizing on our human weaknesses, sentiments, our drawbacks, and human pitfalls. They always warn, "Don't, don't, don't do!" The more they say, "Don't do that," the more we want to do it again! (Laughter) If they say, "Don't go that side," today we won't go there. But tomorrow all alone I will go to that side! (Laughter) Why? Because I want to go! Try it with everybody. It is the same. It is not our mistake. This mistake comes right from the time of Adam and Eve, as they got a special taste for the 'forbidden fruit'. (Laughter) Therefore, this religion, which is based on "don'ts", is rather honored and followed more by breach than by observance. So, "don'ts" is a very negative approach.

Another thing also is this repression or suppression. Supposing I tell my student, "Don't talk. If you talk, out!" All right. He won't talk, but he'll be constantly thinking, 'What will happen if I talk?' (Laughter) 'After all, if I talk I'll be outside. Then I can talk more!' (Laughter) 'But then again if I talk more, they may not allow me to come back again! OK, then I can make others also talk!'

So, the more you repress or the more you suppress, the more you want to express! Suppression and repression lead to obsession, which is much more dangerous than expression. Expression is easy. "OK, come on, talk for some time. Finish what you have to say." There ends the matter. But if you rather say, "Don't talk" it is something like a gas cylinder. It might explode anytime!

So, this sort of a negative approach will make people want to find some loophole in the law or in the rule or regulation in order to find an escape out of it. Bhagavan's regulations and discipline are not like that. There is nothing imposed. It is not like military regimentation. It is not enforced. Bhagavan tells you the efficacy of these "don'ts", the advantage of following these "don'ts".

The Significance of "Don't Talk"

When Swami says, "Don't talk" it does not only mean refraining from speaking. "Don't talk." All right. I won't speak, but now inner talk is going on. Inner talk is more dangerous than outer talk! The inner talk is responsible for people's long faces. (Laughter) People put on a long (serious) face. Why? I have not said anything bad. (Laughter) I am not taking you to court. I am not going to put you behind bars in a jail cell. I have not taken any loan from you and want to find an escape from repayment. I have not done any of these things. So why do you put on such a long face? Why are you so serious? It is all because too much inner talk is going on.

So, inner talk finds an outer expression. People will want to boycott us. No one wants to look at our faces because of the effect of inner talk. What will happen? (Laughter) Instead of finding out how to get a chance from Bhagavan, the inner talk says, 'When is He going to talk to me instead of to that fellow? When that fellow loses the chance, then I will have my turn.' This is inner talk.

So, "don't talk" means not merely refraining from outer talking, but silencing ourselves inwardly and remaining in that state of calmness, in a state of composure, poise, and balance. Poise, balance, composure, and silence - that is the real inner significance of "Don't talk".

Further, He tells us what are the dangers if we talk more. "If you talk more, there is a chance of exaggerating things." If you like one fellow, you'll say to another, "You don't know. He's not an ordinary man. He's a saint!" Oh! Do you know who is a saint? Or, do you think I do not know who a saint is? So, you'll call every fellow 'a saint'. Therefore, by talking too much, we over-estimate people and exaggerate. It is called 'hyperbole' in English literature, which means an 'exaggeration of facts'.

Or by talking excessively, I may sometimes underestimate you, if I don't like you. Supposing you did a very big job. If it comes to my notice, I may say, "What's the big deal? After all, anybody can do that." This is underestimating. So, by talking too much, either it finds an expression in overestimation and exaggeration or in underestimation and even blatant lies.

There are also some people who speak untruth, speaking lies, scandal, rumor, or gossip. These are all the sins that we are likely to commit by talking too much. So, when Swami specifies any discipline, it has got a kind of philosophy behind it. It has got some reasoning behind it.

Also, the fear-oriented religions don't explain that much. Simply they say, "Don't do that or else hell is there!" They say, "Hell is ruled by a person with a very big moustache. (Laughter) He is very dark in complexion. He rides on a bull. And his eyes are on fire!" Hearing all this, we begin to collapse right here and now! So the idea is to frighten you. The purpose is to make you fear-stricken. That is all negative, and hence it is not a religion at all because religion means understanding.

So, the first category of religions, which are based on ignorance, better we ignore them! Religion is understanding. Religion is awareness and alertness. The second category of religions, fear-oriented religions, better we don't think of them because we want to be fearless.

Fearlessness is what Krishna also tells Arjuna, "Get up! Get up! My dear boy, get up! This kind of fear is a sign of weakness. You are a warrior! Come on, get up! Give up that fear! Come on, get up!" That's what Krishna says, referring to Arjuna's depression and despondency in the beginning of the Mahabharata War. So, the second category of religions also does not apply to us.

Greed-Oriented Religions

Religions based on greed are the third category of religions. The first category is religions based on ignorance. The second category is religions based on fear. The third category is religions based on greed.

What are the qualities of that type of religion? This category is based on "Do's". They speak like this: "You do this and you'll go to heaven. You do that, then in heaven you'll have a chance to see the finest dancers there!" (Laughter) Oh! This religion is based on a promise and the hope of 'not today, but later in heaven!'

There is one prophet of a certain religion. (I do not want to mention any names.) This prophet of that certain religion said, "Don't drink wine here. No, no, no. If you don't drink wine here in this life, then there in heaven, you'll have rivers and rivers of it, a continuous flow of wine! So don't bother here. It will be amply compensated for there!" (Laughter) Yes, a prophet says this, right? So, their philosophy is: if you refrain from this now, if you don't drink here, then you will have the river of wine thereafter in the life-after-death! So, let me control now because there will be no control over there! (Laughter) There'll be no ration over there! (Laughter) This is their idea. See this!

So, this greed makes a promise of heaven. Fear frightens you about hell. Greed speaks of heaven. Religions based on greed, what do they say? "Don't care for your body. You are bound to die. Don't care for life." Why? "There in heaven, you'll be eternally young. You'll be a teenager for life, for ages to come!"

If we were really to be a teenager for ages to come, life would be a matter of disgust! It will be disgusting to be youthful throughout Eternity. There is grace in old age also. There is beauty in grey hair also. There is beauty in maturity. Yes. So, maturity and grace are also beautiful. To be youthful throughout the ages is a matter of utter contempt and difficulty.

So, this kind of greed is a promise for the future, full of ambition, and full of desire. Someone may say, "If you want to get a promotion in your office, or if you want to have your daughter get married, go around Ganesha thirteen times." Another answers, "Oh! Thirteen times only? So cheap! (Laughter) I don't have to invest? My money will be safe after all! Thirteen times - that's good exercise. Instead of jogging, I can go around Ganesha." There are some people who go round Ganesha so fast, so seriously, as if they are going to the surgical Operation Theater! (Laughter) What is the emergency, I don't understand? (Laughter) As if there are some fire engines over there! Or a taxicab required immediately!

So, my friends, we resort to these things because of a hope or a promise guaranteed: "All right, go to Tirupati! Then your son will get medical admission. He will get a seat in the College of Medicine if you go to Tirupati and climb all the Holy Seven Hills! Yes, climb!" (Response:) "Oh, very good. That's very easy!" (Further advice:) "And have your head neatly shaven. Give Lord Venkatesha your hair, and soon you'll get a couple of lakhs!" (Laughter) (Response:) "Ah! What a good business it is! Hair versus lakhs of money! A good business!"

This is all greed. I am not underestimating anybody. I don't want anybody to discontinue his or her religious habits. No, no, no. You can continue in your own way. But this is the general way our people are following. This is the traditional way people are advised to follow. So, I must tell you.

Also, the religions of greed say, "If you do this ritual or count the beads (do japa), if you do it 100 times for seven days..." (Response:) "What will happen?" (Answer:) "You'll be completely free from disease." You may be completely free from the body also! (Laughter) Who knows?

Instead of that, as Bhagavan was telling us the other day, fulfillment of desire is not the criterion. Reducing the desires, exercising a ceiling on our desires, that is the secret of success rather than doing that and this to have all our desires fulfilled and even multiplied. Otherwise, a state comes when desires will not be fulfilled and then we will get frustrated. Then we try to jump to another desire. So, this is not the way.

In greed-based religions, certain methods are prescribed: "Do that or do this. Then you'll get what you want back." Examples: "If you read Bhagavad Gita, oh, liberation is sure!" "If you just do worship for one week, you'll get your desire." So they are result-oriented and need-based. This is the third category of religions.

Opposite to Greed-Oriented Religions:

Desireless-Oriented Religions

But we have another category of religions. This greed, which makes us desire heaven - better we don't think about it! As Bhagavan says repeatedly, "Desire to be desireless." The only desire that we should have is to be desireless because this is the spiritual way. This is the truly religious path. The religious path is not a path for the multiplication of desires. There is not any centralized office where petitions and memoranda are received and desires are being granted from time to time.

From the earthly plane to the celestial plane, from the earthly sojourn to the celestial heights, the broadening of the inner being, the expression and the feeling of living with the Reality is the true religion, not having and fulfilling one desire after another desire. Desire after desire will make you come down and go deeper and deeper into a bottomless pit. Yes, there is no solution for that kind of life at all.

Therefore, my friends, I would like to give you one example of what Bhagavan said a long time ago. There is one place here by the name of 'Gidaluru' where all the buses stop so that we can get down there and take some food. One time I was traveling. It was night time. I was coming from my native place. The bus stopped at one spot and the driver said, "You can go and have your food."

Well, immediately I went in and the serving boy came and asked, "What do you want, Sir?" I said, "I want food." The boy said, "Oh, I see." And then that server went on asking me this: "Do you want biriyani or mutton or fish? What do you want?" I said, "Hare Rama! I am a vegetarian to the core! (Laughter) So I don't want biriyani, mutton, and all that." I said, 'I am sorry" and I came out.

I went to another hotel. (Note: In India 'hotel' refers to a small local restaurant or a place to eat.) There that boy said, "Sir, eggs are available. What do you want? Fish?" I said, "Hare Rama! This is also non-vegetarian?" Then I came out.

Ultimately somebody guided me: "You go there." Then I went to that place, which was vegetarian, where I was served sambar (a South Indian vegetarian soup) and other vegetarian foodstuffs that you know. (If you want, you can try the same this morning in the South Indian canteen there in the ashram.) So, on their menu, I could have curry and chutney. All those things were there.

Then I came here. It was Dasara time. Bhagavan was giving a Discourse. What did He say? I sat there. Where was my row? My row was the 30th row! (For seven long years, I got only the 30th row or the 35th row or the 40th row or even outside the gate!) (Laughter) I was never anywhere near Him for seven long years. Never! But there was a thrill also. Yes, I experienced a thrill. Therefore, I continued to come. There is a thrill, you see. You can see all modern art from a distance. You can appreciate it. (Laughter) Don't you think so? So, that was the situation then.

So Swami was giving a talk on that day. He said, "There are some people who go into hotels without ever first seeing the signboard hanging out in front of that hotel! (Laughter) They simply go in and ask for sambar and rasam and rice. But the server says that only mutton and fish are available. They have forgotten to notice the signboard there outside, in front of the hotel. It is a 'military hotel' (where meat dishes are regularly served). They forgot to look at the outside sign. Whereas there are some other people who go into a hotel without seeing the outside signboard, and they ask for mutton, forgetting the fact that this is a vegetarian hotel. So, you should see the signboard first and only then go inside."

And then Bhagavan said this: "This world carries a signboard in front of it. What is written on that signboard? 'This world is temporary. There is no here pleasure at all. There is no eternal joy here.' That signboard is there on this hotel called the 'world'. But you don't see this signboard and so you go into this hotel of the world and then you want to be happy eternally here. How is it possible? (Applause) Tell me, how is it possible?" That is the example Bhagavan has given.


I am also reminded just now of this example. The first category of religions based on ignorance wants us to imitate everybody. But Bhagavan doesn't want us to imitate. Let me give you that example now. Thanks to Swami, it has come to my mind just now.

Let us not follow or imitate anybody. Let us follow our own conscience. What is to be followed? Do not follow whatever others say. Swami gave one example. What is it? He told this story:

It was summer season and mangoes were available. Yes. Mangoes are so sweet. Everyone loves mangoes. Everyone wants to eat mango fruits because they are so nice. One fellow got one signboard ready. What was written on that board? "GOOD MANGO FRUITS ARE SOLD HERE." He kept a nice signboard there. It was a nice board. It cost him five hundred rupees to get it made.

One day, another fellow came by and said, "Why do you say 'GOOD FRUITS'? Do you think that there are any fellows who will put bad fruits on sale? Only good fruits are kept in the market. 'Good' is a superfluous, extra word. Better you remove 'GOOD'."

This first fellow thought to himself, 'Yes, yes. Why should I say 'GOOD FRUITS'? Only good fruits are available. Therefore, the 'GOOD' word is not appropriate.' So he called the painter and got the word 'GOOD' erased. So now the board read, "MANGO FRUITS ARE SOLD HERE".

The other fellow came again the next day and said, "In this market, in the whole market, in all of the shops, they sell only mango fruits. Why do you say 'MANGO FRUITS'? Do you think that brinjals (eggplant) are sold here? (Laughter) Or potatoes are sold here? We see heaps and heaps of mangoes all over. So the word 'MANGO' is not required. Better you remove it."

"Oh, I see." The man with the sign called the painter and told him to remove that word 'MANGO'. So now what is written there? "SOLD HERE." (Laughter) Then the other fellow came again and said, "Sold what? (Laughter) Are you going to sell me out or what? Or sell yourself out? 'HERE' means what here? What is happening here? What is sold here? Chi! Chi! 'SOLD HERE' is meaningless. Remove these words!" (Laughter)

The man asked the painter to come again and he got these two words erased. Finally the painter came with a bill. "Sir, for the first board, 'GOOD MANGO FRUITS ARE SOLD HERE', the price is Rps. 500. Now I erased one-by-one, one word after another. Rather than Rps. 500, better you pay me Rps. 1000 now!" This is the price he has had to pay for imitation and for following another man's advice. (Laughter)

Just because you have got some vision or some experience, just because you have got some dream, you cannot universalize it. You cannot generalize it. You cannot expect me to follow you. It is not necessary. Each one has got his own approach. That is the beauty of religion.

Religion is not a scientific law. In science, equal volumes of gases under equal conditions of temperature and pressure contain equal number of molecules. This is a famous scientific hypothesis (Avacadro's Hypothesis), which is uniform. But religion is not uniform. "You go around Ganesha, and I'll go around Subrahmanyam." Someone else says, "Well, I don't want to go around either of these two. There is Gayatri waiting for me over there." (Laughter) You are free. You are free to follow, according to your conscience. So, true religion does not say, "Follow this alone." This is the sign of a greed-oriented religion.

Intellect-Oriented Religions

Then there is the fourth category of religions - religions that are based on logic, cleverness, and arguments. They want to explain things. They want to argue. It is based only on rationale. It is based only on the intellect. My dear friends, Bhagavan gave one example of these intellectual gimmicks from Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. (Most of you must have heard of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.)

Paramahamsa, in his discourses, mentioned one example: One fellow went to the market. It was the time when good orange fruits were available. Oranges were sold there. This fellow, instead of buying those fruits, went to the fruit shop vendor and started asking, "Where did you get all these fruits from? How long did it take to get them here? When did you sow the seed? How long did it take for them to grow? How long did it take for them to ripen? What is the size of the fruits? How many leaves does each plant have? How many branches does the tree have?" The shop man said, "Sir, either buy the fruit and take it or don't buy it. But please don't disturb me further!"

So, religions based on argument, logic, rationalization, rationality, explanation, and interpretation are nonsense. It will confuse us. Some people ask me, "Sir, when was the beginning of this Creation? When will this Yuga end?" I said, "You and I were not there at the beginning of this Creation. And we are also definitely not going to be there at the end of this Creation. So let us enjoy the present now!" (Laughter)

"If I am to live until the end, I should bother about how I should be now, how I plan from now on for the end. It is definite that you and I are not going to survive until the end of this Yuga. And you and I know, that is, we are sane enough to know that we were not there at the beginning of this Yuga. Then why are you bothered about all this? Let us know what we should do now."

Some people put to me questions like this: "Who created this world?" My response is: "OK, you are already created. You are not waiting for Creation. You are already created. Having been already created, know what you should do now. Instead of putting the question "Why?" let us know what should be done now. So, religions based on logic and argumentation will take you nowhere. At the most, it will make us headstrong.

There are some people who can quote freely from the Scriptures, according to Bhagavad Gita, according to Brahma Sutra, according to Veda, according to Upanishads, and so on. According to you, please let me know! Let me know what is the Truth according to you, not according to the books.

So, religions based on logic and religions based on argumentation go by borrowed information or second-hand information. There is nothing original in them. There is not anything creative. There is not anything based on personal experience.

Therefore, my friends, logic and argument will take us nowhere. At the most, it will help us to develop the organization. The organizational aspect of the religion can be better taken care of if you are more logical and if you are more argumentative. But that is not what we are here for!

This is what Bhagavan said, "With all the knowledge that you have acquired, with all the logic that you have, you are not able to give up even one bad quality. The meanness has not left you. The narrow-mindedness has not left you, despite all the knowledge that you have. Then what is all that knowledge for?" After acquiring all that knowledge, you may be an expert in arguing or you may be an expert in your presentation. But you may not be exemplary in your personality. Why? Because your nature has not changed.

So, knowledge should take you to Immortality, not to arrogance or scholarship. Our goal is not to become a scholar. Our goal is to be immortal. We are to bask in bliss, not to recite verses from different books.

My friends, these are the four categories of religions that are ordinary: ignorance-based, greed-based, fear-based, and intellect-based. These are all based on logic. These four types are all ordinary religions.

Now let me bring to you the other three, which are real religions in the strict sense - something to follow, something to learn, and something to do. What does Bhagavan say?

5 Intelligence-Oriented Religions

The fifth type of religion is based on intelligence or, in Sanskrit we say, religions based on Sat (Truth). Intelligence is different from intellect. What does the intellect say? The intellect always diagnoses, dissects, analyzes, and criticizes. The intellect is always critical.

Here is a simple example. I might say, "I had a beautiful darshan of Bhagavan this morning." The other fellow's intellect will make him say, "Yesterday I had a better darshan." That fellow's intellect will make him say this.

Each intellect differs because intellect comes from ego. Because it stems from ego, one doesn't want to agree with anybody. For example, if I say, "The ice cream is very good this morning," the other fellow will argue, "No, no, you don't know. Six months back, what an ice cream we had!" (Laughter)

The ego (intellect) feels that 'if I accept what you say, I feel I am inferior. So, let me not feel inferior or appear to be inferior. Let me feel superior or appear to be superior.' So the intellect argues. This is nothing but the expression of the ego. The intellect always differs. It never agrees. It dissects, it analyzes, and it criticizes. It is always critical.

But intelligence is different. Intelligence is an instrument of religion, whereas intellect is an instrument of science. Religion wants you to understand, to agree, to realize, and not to analyze. While intellect analyzes, intelligence realizes. While intellect dissects, intelligence unites. While intellect differs, intelligence agrees. While intellect is critical, intelligence wants us to have thorough understanding and awareness.

So, intellect and intelligence are different. Supposing someone speaks in favor of a point (thesis) and then also against the same point (antithesis). These are the extremes of intellect. "God is there." This is the intellect (the thesis). "I don't believe in God." This is also the intellect (the antithesis). These two points of view represent the two extremes. But intelligence is a synthesis. It is not thesis and antithesis. Intellect is thesis and antithesis, whereas intelligence is a synthesis.

Synthesis means 'bringing things together', 'understanding', and 'not breaking'. A simple example given by Bhagavan is this: Intellect is like a pair of scissors, which cut everything into pieces, whereas intelligence is like a needle, which stitches all pieces together, making a masterpiece. A master is cut into pieces by the intellect, whereas the pieces are made into a masterpiece by the intelligence.

Intellect always takes you downward. Supposing I say, "It is a beautiful flower!" A fellow using only his intellect will answer, "What is the cause for its beauty? Oh, the soil is good and fertile. There is plenty of sunlight. Enough manure is supplied." He goes on explaining about manure! Chi! The beauty of the flower is gone! (Laughter) Some people interpret such things so much so that the beauty is gone.

I am just telling this in a lighter vein as a joke. I am rather weak. I cannot keep quiet when things go wrong. I see the ridiculous nature in some presentations and condemn such persons to their face. There are some people who interpret things like this. Here is a simple example: "Do you know Swami starts from that room there, passes along the central line, past the ladies, then the gents, and then towards the end, He walks straight towards the dais. Then He goes directly into the interview room. Swami's movements are in the form of a circle, meaning 'That is full. This is full. Fullness is spirituality.' "

This man started interpreting like this. I was already half-mad! (Laughter) Oh! Heights of madness! There is some method in madness. We cannot explain that way. Then that same man, after a couple of days, started explaining, "After the interview, He came out of the interview room, came straight, stood in between these two lines, came back, walked across the verandah, and then went back into the interview room. This is a triangle, representing triguna, the three periods of time and the three attributes - ah, ha, ha, ha, ha!" (Laughter)

Then I said, "Do you think that I am a fool to accept all of your interpretations? If you are a fool, you'll have double fools to follow you. Don't make me follow you like that!" (Laughter) Then I said, "Sometimes Swami lifts both the hands like this. (AK demonstrates one of Swami's uplifting Divine gestures.) It means all of us are going immediately to the heaven, to the other world!" What else do you say to this man? (Laughter)

This is the intellect. This is the dirty game of the intellect. There are some people who say, "Swami appeared in my dream and said such-and-such." When He said to you in your dream, why do you tell it to me? There are some fellows who always live in such a dreamland. They go on telling us their dream experiences. Out of courtesy, friendship, good manners, and etiquette, we say, "Yes, yes, yes." But we cannot say, "Yes, yes, yes" for years and years! Then finally, on one day I told this man, "Swami appeared in my dream and told me not to listen to you, not to hear you any more. So what do you say to that?" (Great laughter)

This comes all from the intellect. The intellect wants you to make things up as you like, whereas intelligence is not like that. Intelligence will never go to the cause. Intelligence says, "Let us enjoy Prashanti Nilayam. I go there in Sai Kulwant. It is so beautiful. I admire those Round Buildings, which were so nicely built. I enjoy all this." This is intelligence. But intellect will ask, "Who is the builder? Which is the company? What was the price of it?" Why are you asking all of this? Are you going to have one made for yourself? Why are you interested in the builder? Why are you asking what was the price? Do you see how the intellect works?

Suppose you go out for an evening walk. There is one open space near the North Buildings and people often go around that for an evening walk. Instead of enjoying the breeze, some may ask, "What will be the area here? Do you think some building should come up here some day or other?" (Laughter) How we make our lives miserable unnecessarily! No one is putting us to misery! We are putting ourselves into misery!

While going and taking this walk, just walk briskly. Enjoy the breeze that touches the mountains, the breeze that touches the trees, the breeze that touches the hair of Bhagavan, the hair that moves on either side like the golden daffodils along the Milky Way! 'That same breeze is touching me now!' What an ecstatic experience it is! 'I am walking across the earth, and Bhagavan walked across the same land! This is the area in which Bhagavan lives. Yes, I am walking along the same way!' Instead the intellect will want to say, "What would be the area? What would be the cost of it?" It is low! Chi! Chi! Chi! This is the grey intellect.

So, intellect investigates and goes to the cause, whereas intelligence takes you to the goal. Therefore, the religions based on intelligence are goal-oriented. Hence they will never look to the cause.

Not only that. The intellect always goes into the past. Suppose I say, "You know, people always glorify their past. They always think very high things of their past. 'I was like this. I was like that. Thirty years ago, forty years ago, I came to Puttaparthi. There were no houses at all. We all slept on the sands of the Chitravathi.' So, what is all that? Today you don't have to live under the trees. Today you don't have to live on the sands. No. These people live in the past. This is due to their intellect.

On the other hand, intelligence thinks of the future: 'Let me not lose the present. Let me enjoy the present, so that my future would be fine.' So, intelligence peeps into the future, while intellect dives into the past.

Intellect also reduces a very high thing or any great thing to a very low thing or to a very low level. Suppose I say, "The water is sweet water - the Sathya Sai Drinking Water Project - how sweet is the water!" The intellect tells you, "After all, it is H2O. It is composed of two molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen - H2O. There's nothing sweet about it." (Laughter) Anything great can be brought down to the lowest level by the intellect, whereas intelligence makes any simple thing sublime and great.

Here's another example: "Swami looked at me! Ah! Grand! Swami looked at me! It's enough. That's enough. One look is enough." That is intelligence, whereas intellect will remark, "He looked? After all, where is the guarantee that He looked at you? There are a thousand people seated there!" (Laughter) This is intellect. "He looked at me! It is enough for the day!" This is intelligence.

So, religions of intelligence look to the future. They delight and make every simple thing sublime, great, and grand. Also, intelligence gives a holistic view. This is Sat, religions based on Existence or Awareness. It is a totality, whereas the intellect is fragmentary. Intellect is segmented and only makes pieces.

Two more left - Chit and Ananda - which we will discuss in the next class.

We will meet again same day same time. Thank you very much.

Anil Kumar led the bhajan, "Hari Hara Om Shankara Om..."

Om Asatoma Sadgamaya
Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya
Mrtyurmaya Amrtamgamaya

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Sai Ram.

Thank you.

© Anil Kumar Kamaraju 2004 - Here reproduced for personal use of the devotees for the purpose of seva.
Anil Kumar website: http://www.internety.com/anilkhome/ - http://www.internety.com/saipearls/

Best Resolution 1024x768 -- Copyright © 2004-2015 SAIBABA.WS. All rights reserved. Please read Disclaimer.