Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
September 2, 2001

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

"What is Happening?"

September 2nd, 2001


Sai Ram.

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of our Beloved Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Forgetting Ourselves in Front of Bhagavan

Many of us question, "What is happening to me here in Prashanti Nilayam? What is actually happening to me when I look at Bhagavan?" So, today’s topic is "What is happening?" Let us think together along this line. I'm not talking about what is happening in the Mandir, in the Institutions, or during the festivals. "I'm not concerned with other activities, celebrations, people, and not even with my return journey. I want to know what is happening to me right now as an individual, and to everyone of us?"

First let us question what is happening to us when we look at Bhagavan and when Bhagavan starts talking to us. The first thing that definitely happens is I lose my voice! (Laughter) The fellow who has nothing better to do than speak all the time, fails to raise his voice in front of Swami! The second thing that happens is when He passes by my side I feel a sort of vibration or current shock. I experience a pleasant, cool breeze, a soothing and comforting effect. I do not feel separation from Him.

Though this is said in such a simple manner, it is the meaning of the Vedic dictum, an oft-repeated quotation of Bhagavan: ‘Purnam adah, purnam idam.’ This means "God is full and you are full." 'Full' can be said to be as ‘zero’. Full minus full is again full. Zero minus zero is zero. This is simple mathematics. You and He are one and the same. So, when I'm in front of Him, not only do I lose my voice, but I also forget myself. I feel that I'm not separate from Him. This is the experience that happens to 'me,' meaning to every one of us.

All Questions Are Known to Bhagavan

I want to say so many things to Swami when I'm called for an interview. I do a lot of homework, prompted at times by the housewife and the children. I also have so much confusion, to add fuel to the fire. The biggest tragedy is that I think I know something. This is an innocent feeling, which causes confusion. The root of a question is confusion. A confused man will only have questions and doubts.

What is happening to me? I realise that He already knows the questions that I really want to ask. I can give you one illustration of a great scholar of the past to substantiate this. Sri K. Munshi was a very great man, a great scholar, and the champion of Indian culture. He founded Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Bhagavan went to Bombay where K. Munshi hosted a lunch in His honor. On the day before Bhagavan came, this grand old man, Munshi, and his wife, Leelavati, listed twelve questions on a paper to ask and seek clarification from Swami.

Bhagavan visited with a happy, broad smile and then gave K. Munshi an interview. Bhagavan started answering question after question before Munshi could even open his mouth! Bhagavan is a very good student who doesn’t need a question paper! (Laughter) Munshi forgot all about the paper on which he had noted down the questions. Finally, Bhagavan looked deeply into his eyes and said, "You wrote down twelve questions but you forgot to note down the thirteenth question." (Laughter) Only then he remembered about the paper he was carrying! Bhagavan continued, "You wanted My advice and blessings concerning your joint problems. But in the end, you forgot to write it down. Now I am telling you."

Suddenly we may get a doubt whether he knows a particular point or not. We may begin to feel, 'He may have known and told me about many other things. But there is one subtle point, one secret. I doubt whether He knows it.' We should understand that the points that He does not mention are irrelevant and unnecessary. It is not as if He does not know them. We should know this. Please understand and believe that the moment you start writing on a paper, it will reach Him immediately. You don’t have to read it out or say it to Him. He very well knows everything. I don’t have to mention anything, as there is no separation between Bhagavan and me.

Speak Less and Listen More

One should listen more to Bhagavan and speak less. You will be profited more in the interview room if you listen. If you unnecessarily create questions, the period of the interview will be cut short. Let me tell you a talk 'trade secret' of mine, which I want to make public. (Laughter) (I'm not given to keeping any secrets up till now. I don’t think that I would be successful in maintaining secrecy in the future, either!)

The top secret is - to have a prolonged interview with Bhagavan, please ask questions relating to spirituality and religion. Ask questions which are of use to the general public. If you continue asking about your joint and knee pains, stomach problems, dismissal from a job, or awaited promotion, He will say, "Very good, bangaroo! Just think of Me and everything will be solved." You will have to accept that the interview is over! It is better that I keep quiet and don’t speak. This is the secret to enjoy His immediate, Divine Presence. One should look at Him more and more, not missing the opportunity, which may not come again. There is nothing much to speak about, but so much to listen to.

Essentials Remain, Non-Essentials Vanish

Another thing that is happening to me in front of Bhagavan is true with everybody. I feel totally relaxed and there is no tension. We don’t feel like looking at the face of a person before he goes into the interview room. His face will have four times more folds and wrinkles than his age. He will be full of worries, tensions, and problems. After he goes into the interview room and returns, he is full of brilliance, light, and delight. What does it mean? Does it mean that all problems are solved in the interview room? No! The problems are not immediately solved. Then why is he returning so happy? Before the interview, his face was shrinking and we doubted whether he had teeth or not. Now we find a broad smile on his face, as if he has returned from conquering the neighboring country! (Laughter)

The reason is this. In front of Bhagavan, essential things remain in our head and non-essential things vanish altogether. Bhagavan decides essential and non-essential things. After an interview many people say, "Oh! I forgot to mention this or that to Swami!" It is not that you forgot! You are MADE to forget, because you are not under your own control. (Laughter and applause) Bhagavan is there as a remote operator! He knows what to press and when to press it. He presses and impresses. (Laughter)

Most of the time, we worry about non-essential things like what will happen to that place and what will happen to that man. Somebody asked me this question, "Sir! If you get a chance, please ask Swami how long this Kali Age will last." (Laughter) I think I told all of you this before. I answered, "You will not last till then, so why are you bothered? Please keep quiet." (Laughter)

Bhagavan often describes the story of the boy Prahlada, who was tested by his father. The boy could withstand the test because he had total faith in the Lord, and always mentally held onto His Lotus Feet. One gentleman asked the question, "What happened to Prahlada after his childhood?" (Laughter) I answered, "He got married like you and me. He, too, must have had children like you and me. Nothing is mentioned about this because there is nothing special in it. He’s the same as you and me. (Laughter) He must have been very special as a boy, worthy of our emulation. Therefore that was recorded. The rest of the period is not worth mentioning. So, why are you bothered about it?"

Somebody else asked the question, "What will happen after death?" After death, anything may happen. Why are you bothered about it? There is nothing to worry about. After all, the same thing will happen to everybody. Let me know what is happening now, not after death! Most of us worry about these non-essential things that find a place in our head. There are some people who say, "What will happen to my property after my death?" We assure you, the property will also be packed along with you, O.K.? (Laughter) There are some people who buy costly coffins while they’re alive, because their son may not be able to afford them later. (Laughter) Maybe they want to have a 'posh' death, a classy death, and be transported to a costly world. Alas! It is all vanity. We are very much worried about the coffins and coins, which are all useless right now.

Therefore, what is happening to me in front of Bhagavan is that I am relaxed, without any tension or worry, because all non-essentials are taken away by Him. He will permit you to ask Him only essential questions. You will have to apologize to your wife later for not asking questions on her behalf! (Laughter) You might have promised her, "I will certainly ask Swami." But when you yourself are not in control, how can you ask the question prompted by your wife?

Bhagavan is a Presence, not a Person

I understand another important point when I'm in front of Bhagavan. Bhagavan is not a person. Bhagavan’s Presence is not anything like a normal person. Bhagavan confers and grants (we experience) a certain state of mind in His Presence. It is not anything like a relationship between one person and another person, as Sathya Sai Baba is not a person. He is a Presence. Because of this, you can feel His Presence everywhere - in an aircraft, on a ship, on the ground, in the office, and even at the dining table while fighting with everybody! You can feel His Presence checking and warning you. You will get this experience with the passage of time. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba represents a state of mind, a Presence, and not a person.

Please meet people immediately after they are blessed with an interview. You will find more of the spirit of Love in them. They’re more loving than before, at least for that moment of time! (Laughter) Right after an interview, a person is more loving and friendly. He will talk to everybody with concern. He will be caring, sharing, and loving. He will have all of these noble qualities which were totally missing before! (Laughter) Before the interview, he was completely selfish. But immediately after an interview, he will say, "What shall we do? I'm ready to donate to a temple and participate in some service activity. I am ready to share." Why is this? Because when you are sitting face-to-face in front of Bhagavan, He will put you in a state of mind to care and to share. This is indeed a great benefit!

This is true of illustrious sons like Buddha also. Who is Buddha? Buddha is not merely a name. He is a state of mind. His earlier names were Siddhartha and Gautama. But we call him (Lord) Buddha. Buddha is not just a nickname or a pet name. It is a state of mind, meaning Enlightenment. If you go to China, there is one place where there are 1,116 Buddha statues on the same premises and in the same shape. Why are there so many? They could have made only one very big Buddha statue. The meaning is that, in all corners, you will be reminded again and again that Enlightenment is the ultimate. Wherever you move about on these premises, you will see Buddha in the sitting posture, the Enlightened one. You can't turn your back on him! All the statues distributed in all corners go on reminding you, my dear man, that Buddha is not the name of the statue. He is in a state of Enlightenment.

So, what is happening to me? In front of Bhagavan I am reminded of my Original State. Swami often repeats, "This is My handkerchief. But the handkerchief is separate from Me. This is My table. The table is separate from Me." ‘This is my handkerchief’ implies that I am not the handkerchief. ‘This is my pen’ implies that I am not the pen. You are reminded of your Original State. You are reminded that you are not the country that you represent, nor the profession that you hold, nor the name that you bear, nor the age that you represent. You are basically the timeless, eternal, and Immortal Spark of the Divine, in the state of Enlightenment. When I am face-to-face with Bhagavan, I experience the state of Enlightenment, being aware that I'm not the body, mind, or intellect. I’m essentially Divine.

You must have also heard the name of another religion - Jain. Buddha means 'Enlightenment' and Jain means 'Conqueror'. What is there to conquer? One has to conquer the enemies within. I must conquer my anger and lust. I must win over my avarice, hatred, and all my inner enemies. Jain people say there are at least 250 or even more Tirthankars (realized saints/ masters of Jainism). If you go to a Jain temple, the statues of the Tirthankars all look alike. There is no difference at all. However, each master of Jainism represents one symbol, like a lion, a horse, or a sword. This symbol is kept at the bottom of every statue. Based on it, you’ll be able to identify the statue. Why do they all look alike? Jain is not the name of the person, but of a state of mind, indicating a 'Conqueror'. A Jain is one who conquers his own weaknesses, pitfalls, and misgivings.

In front of Bhagavan, I'm put in a particular state of mind. I transcend the limitations of my body, mind, and intellect. I also suddenly become religious! Most surprisingly, I become spiritual and I start repeating, "Sai Ram, Sai Ram" to everybody, which I never did before! Suddenly I want to meditate every day - at least at the decision level, if not at the level of implementation! (Laughter) So, the effect of a morning interview is that I resolve to meditate. At least I make a decision to do that (whether or not I am able to carry it out)! (Laughter) I decide to chant and write ‘Sai Ram’ on notebooks' ruled pages. These are the resolves that we take. Something new happens to me. A direction is given, and suddenly I want to practice the path of spirituality.

Tanthra: Expanding Consciousness

I want to draw your attention to three important words: tanthra, manthra, and yanthra. Tanthra is the process of expanding Consciousness. This relates to the Spirit and the experience of Consciousness. What does this mean? Let me interpret it in terms of Bhagavan’s teachings. If I experience my own Reality on an individual level, it is called 'Conscience'. However, if I experience the Reality expanding to the Universal level, including the community and the whole Universe, it is 'Consciousness'. Bhagavan says it like this: "Below the senses, it is called 'conscious'. Above the senses, it is individual and called 'Conscience'. Collectively, it is called 'Consciousness'." Tanthra is a process that will help you to experience this Universal Consciousness.

What is the experience of Universal Consciousness? How does it look and taste? The Universal Consciousness establishes an easy rapport with trees, animals, mineral matter, mountains, greenery, and even stars. You will feel One with this Universe, the organic whole of Creation, with plants, animals, and human beings. You will understand that you are a part of this organic Whole.

You will also experience and realise another beautiful thing. I will put here several circles, one upon the other. I may put hundreds of circles, but the center of all of them is the same, isn’t it? Likewise, the person of Universal Consciousness will understand his center of life is the same center as that of the entire Universe. This center is ‘Beingness,’ and not the body. The center of my life is Beingness and Conscience. The very same center applies to the whole of the organic world, which is Consciousness. Man is a part of humanity, a larger term. Similarly, Consciousness is a wider term for Conscience. I think I'm clear. So, tanthra is the process that helps us to experience this Universal Consciousness, the center of Beingness, which is the same for the entire Cosmos.

Manthra: Awareness of Inner Sound

The second word is manthra. We often think of manthra as something that is spelt out and spoken, like a priest uttering manthras during the yajna at Dasara, or while worshipping the deity in a temple. In the common, general sense, in a broad way we understand manthra as verbal. But in the strict sense, it is not so.

I once again bring to the notice of this august assembly that everything I am explaining is collected from Sai literature. (It is not my imagination or hypothesis. I'm not capable of that up till now.) I take the precaution to inform my brothers and sisters this every time, so that I may also remind myself. I am not capable of creativity or interpretation. Plus, I don’t believe in it. People can interpret in thousand ways, which will be always wrong. I have told this many times before, but better you hear it once again.

Once somebody started interpreting how Swami gives darshan. He said Swami starts from the Poornachandra Auditorium, walks across the ladies side, passes the gents side and old students, and then goes into the interview room. "This is a circle. So His walking style means (symbolizes) 'Poornam Adah, Poornam Idam'." ("That is Full. This is Full.") (Laughter)

Then what happens after the interview? "Swami comes out of the interview, walks in a straight line, and stands behind Ganesha. Then He walks among the students, walks straight, and goes again into the interview room. This is triangular, symbolizing the three attributes: sathwic, rajas, and tamo gunas, and also the three periods of time." (Laughter)

I heard him speak like this with tolerance because I don’t want to lose a good friend. I waited and waited, but finally I could not bear it any longer! I said, "Brother, I have one more interpretation - my interpretation - which I will tell you." He said, "What?" I continued, "While walking sometimes, He waves His hand like this. This means that all of the people on that side will go to heaven. (Laughter) When He waves His other hand, it means the people on that side over there will go to heaven next. (Laughter) Sometimes He waves both of His hands. That is like an airplane! It means that all of us will go to heaven at once!" (Personally, I don’t believe in all this interpretation. We can understand Sai only through His teachings, not by our interpretations or imaginations.)

According to Swami, manthra is the awareness of the inner sound, the inner vibration, or the inner rhythm of life. Many people tell me, "Sir, I don’t know any manthras because I don’t know Sanskrit." You don’t have to learn Sanskrit, because manthra is not merely Sanskrit. Bhagavan said recently in His discourse that if you go close to the sea, which has raging waves, and listen to the sound, it will be ‘OM', the Primordial sound. Bhagavan also gave the example of going quite close to an electric pole and listening to the sound. It will also be 'OM'. In addition, He said that if we close both our ears tightly, we can listen to 'OM' from within. This is manthra. It is not merely the recitation of a few Sanskrit slokas (although I'm not denying, condemning, or saying ‘no’ to these slokas). What is happening to me in front of Bhagavan? I am reminded of my Truth as I become aware of the inner sound, manthra.

Yanthra: Creating a Situation of Mind

Yanthra is a form or a shape. It is not merely an object to be worshipped. The statues and idols in a temple, as well as the Cross in a church, are all symbols of the geometry of life that is to be imbibed. For your information, what actually is a temple? We think of a temple as a place of worship for a congregation. It is not merely that. A temple is a 'situation'. For example, many thousands of devotees assemble in Prashanti Nilayam here in Sai Kulwant Hall. They all listen to Bhagavan in rapt attention, with100% concentration. A situation is created so that you will be one-pointed. This situation helps you to be totally concentrated in your mind.

It also helps you to meditate. The kitchen at home will not create a situation leading to meditation. The kitchen creates a situation that makes you ready for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The drawing room creates a situation for talk, conversation, and gossip. However in a temple, the minds are elevated, totally concentrated, and fit for meditation. Therefore, what is happening to me is to comprehend that this temple at Prashanti Nilayam is a 'situation', not merely an object of worship.

There are many permanent residents who grow plants and flowers in front of their rooms. They take special care of the plants. Some people also create beautiful paintings. There is also a special garden in front of the South Building, grown by the residents. In addition, there are some people who go and watch the elephant, Sai Geeta. How does it differ from other elephants of your place? This elephant draws your attention more than the other elephants. The plants and the flowers in the ashram draw your attention more than the flowers sold in the market. The people here draw your attention more than the people at the airport, the bus station, or the railway station. Why? It is a reaction to the awareness you have acquired by being in this 'situation' of the temple near Bhagavan. There is an expansion of Consciousness in Bhagavan’s Presence. You find the reflection of that right in front of you.

Bhagavan said recently that all that is in you reflects in front of you. The whole Creation is based on reaction, reflection, and resound. You develop a feeling of brotherhood the moment you come to Prashanti Nilayam. Why? There is already brotherhood in you and you find that reflection in the man in front of you. You find this brotherhood everywhere. You are filled with Love within and you find loving people all around. Your heart is full of God and you find Godly people all around. If you are a friendly person, you’ll be seeing friendliness all around. If you have Love, you’ll find loving people all around.

So what is happening to me? I find everything coming out of me as a matter of reflection. I find everybody so loving, cooperative, and devoted. Often we feel inferior: 'I am not as devoted as so many people.' Why? I start noticing goodness all around. This is nothing but my own reflection. All that is within starts reflecting and appearing in front of me This is described by Bhagavan as the three R’s: reaction, reflection, and resound.

Effects of Outer Stimulation: Be Careful!

When you watch a full moon, you feel comfort and experience coolness. Why is this? The moon has not come down and put an icebox on your head, hugged you, or stuffed anything into your mouth, no! Yet, you feel so happy in the moonlight. The happiness you derive is not from the outside. It is just drawn out of you. It manifests, expresses, and demonstrates your own reflection.

What will happen when you watch a mountain range like the Himalayas or Boulder, Colorado, or a waterfall like Niagara? When you watch the Himalayas, you find they are so white and bright, uncontaminated, unpolluted, and untouched. It brings out that freshness and the virgin purity in you. So what is happening to me when I'm face-to-face with Bhagavan? The most valuable things that are latent and immanent in me are brought out. There is already Love in you and He draws it out. He doesn’t put any Love into your mouth, stomach, or ears from outside!

The lesson I should learn from this is that I should be careful and beware of what I hear, read, and see. Why? If I read some dirty stuff, all that is dirty in me will be brought out. If I see anything obscene, vulgar, or objectionable outside, the obscenity in me is brought out. If I read some novel, which is full of muggers, attacks, and violence, the violence in me will be brought out. Once a newspaper reported of a boy who had seen the murder of many children in a movie. The next day, he killed his classmates. The quality of violence in him came out.

So we should be quite choosy and be very cautious about the television that we see and the newspapers and books that we read because they bring out the qualities which are already there in us. All that is outer is nothing but the reflection of the inner. To quote Bhagavan, "Everything is a reflection of the inner being." In the most recent discourse, He said that only when we are useless, we will find that uselessness in others also. All will seem to be wretched, useless fellows because I'm the 'head of the department' in that gang. (Laughter) If I'm basically good, I will find that all are good, and all will look good to me.

So what is happening to me when I am in the Presence of Bhagavan? I decide to see good and not bad. This is the famous quotation from the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba:

See no evil. See what is good.
Hear no evil. Hear what is good.
Talk no evil. Talk what is good.
Think no evil. Think what is good.
Do no evil. Do what is good.

We have to apply the teachings to our individual lives so that we’ll understand its depth and profundity. Each statement may be simple, but it is profound and pregnant with meaning. Just because the statements are simple, I cannot take it in a simple way and brush them aside.

After coming to Bhagavan I also understand that I should be after the Truth, and not carried away by facts. Some people come and say, "In His speech, Swami said that the earth is two crores of miles away from the sun. He also said that all our nerves and the blood vessels put together will spread out for 12,000 kilometers. Is that right?" What shall I say, wrong or right? I dare not say wrong, but I cannot say right because I don’t know for certain. What is to be done? Please understand the spirit behind it, because the spirit is more important than the statistics. Swami’s teachings are not merely factual. Don’t go by the facts alone. Be after the spirit of Truth. By coming close to Bhagavan, I'm not interested in mere facts anymore because Swami takes me to ultimateTruth itself, nothing less than that. That is really very important.

Reality and Potentiality

Many people say that one should sacrifice, renounce, stay all alone, and live a life of loneliness as a celibate, as a separate entity. This is one extreme. The other extreme is be in the world and enjoy yourself. Bhagavan is a bridge between the two. This is a grand and great thing! Bhagavan does not want me to run away from my family, distribute my property, and be penniless. On the other hand, He also doesn’t want me to enjoy more in this world and amass wealth. I cannot leave this earth. I belong to this earth and I have my obligation and my duty to perform. This is very necessary. In the name of spirituality, I cannot go to the class and say, "Boys! Sit down, cross your legs, close your eyes, and say ‘OM' twenty times! Thank you. The class is over!" (Laughter) If I am a doctor, I cannot say, "The pain you have pertains to the body and not to you. Don’t worry. Say ‘Om’." That fellow will finish me off immediately! Let us not run away from our responsibilities.

Baba is a bridge between two points. The first point is my ‘reality’. It is the reality of life on this earth - my family, obligations, duties, involvements, and commitments. If one gentleman comes and tells me, "Anil Kumar, don’t worry. Why do you need money? Swami will take care of you." I will say, "What a wonderful man you are! Please transfer your bank account to me. That's what Baba says." (Laughter) This is all hypocrisy. It is like the devil speaking scriptures! Let us not run away from reality. Money is necessary because you have responsibility towards your family and children. You also need some enjoyment, change, and company. This is reality.

On the other hand, there is potentiality. What do I mean by this? A plant is deeply rooted in the soil. That is the reality. Plants do not hang in the air nor are they rooted in the sky. On the other hand, branches and flowers grow up higher and higher. They even want to touch heaven. That is potentiality. Man is essentially human and earthly. This is his reality. Yet, he has the potentiality to grow above this reality and to know that he is Divine. The realisation of the Divinity within is the potentiality, while the life here on earth is the reality.

Bhagavan is a bridge between the reality and the potentiality. That’s why Swami says, "To be happy in this world on earth, education is necessary." Someone may say, "I don’t know how to read and write. But I'm highly spiritual." Please bury yourself! (Laughter) Stay there in the forest, but don’t come to me. As long as you are in the world, your studies are necessary. Your qualification, competence, and talent are necessary to eke out your living, to win your bread. However, you should grow from that reality, so that your Consciousness blossoms and you experience the Divinity within.

Can I cut the tree of reality at the base, while wanting the potentiality of the branches and flowers to touch the sky? When the trunk and roots are cut, the whole tree is dead and becomes firewood. The reality is necessary because it draws water and nourishment from earth. So, to forget the reality and live in a myth, an illusion of potentiality, is only a half-truth, a lop-sided view. To bridge both is a total, comprehensive vision of life.

What is happening to me? I gave a couple of examples this morning. I will explain the rest next week.

Thank you very much!

Anil Kumar closed his satsang by leading the bhajan, "Purundara Ranga Hare Vittala...")

Om Asatoma Sadgamaya
Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya
Mrtyurmaya Amrtamgamaya

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
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/


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