Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
September 16, 2001

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

"Donít Do - BE!"

September 16th, 2001

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Encouraging Response

I'm very much thrilled, excited, and encouraged at seeing the positive response of our Sai brothers and sisters, regarding my two books. One book covers the talks I gave in Brindavan, regarding the universal and practical teachings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The second book is entitled "Divine Directions." It covers the talks given in Prasanthi Nilayam. These two books are used for intensive, in-depth study in Sai Centers all over the world.

I'm very grateful to Bhagavan for this response. I will continue to be committed to this sort of work in the years to come, being given the chance as well as the strength, courage, conviction, and help. I pray to Bhagavan from the bottom of my heart to continue to bless me with this opportunity to share His message. It is so endearing to me. It is the very breath of my life and the only thing that keeps me alive. I belong to a missionary family, and I consider myself a missionary. The most important thing to me is spreading Saiís message.

I have arranged a chalkboard so that I may communicate Bhagavanís teachings to you through it, like a typical classroom teacher. It will be the fruition and success of my service if you appreciate it. I will use this board to help communicate a better understanding and emphasis as I see many of you taking notes. Some may find it difficult to follow me because I speak so quickly. So many people have conveyed their appreciation of this new kind of approach.

Life is Full of 'Doís' and 'Doníts'

The topic for this morning is: "Donít Do - BE".

Everywhere we come across people calling upon us to do something. "If you want to have your desires fulfilled, do this." "If you want Bhagavan Baba to stand in front of you or appear in your dream, do this." "If you want to attain liberation or go to paradise, do this." Life is full of rituals, prescriptions, and 'doís' and 'doníts'. Right from our childhood, we have been told what to do and what not to do, but we were never taught what to be. So we know what to do and what not to do, but we do not know what it is 'to be'.

There are certain precautions and certain 'doníts' in the field of science and technology. We will end up in danger if we do what we should not do in science experiments, let alone achieve positive results out of these experiments. Even in the field of philosophy and religion, we have 'doís' and 'doníts'. For example, the 'Ten Commandments' ask us to help everybody. They tell us not to steal, not to speak lies, and so on.

My friends, the subject I have chosen is - "Donít do - but BE". However, I will not tell you, "Do this and donít do that." That is something totally different. 'Doing' arises from the expectation of getting something that I do not have right now. For example, I want to get a degree. Therefore, I study. I want to achieve a result. Therefore, I do an experiment. I want to earn money. Therefore, I do business. So 'doing' is a process of acting in which we anticipate and expect to gain or achieve our goal through that effort, to gain something that we do not have at this time. Therefore, we are motivated to do some activity in order to accomplish our end. I think I'm clear.

Spirituality Is Not Result-Oriented

However, spirituality is neither anticipation nor expectation. It is not a result or a goal or a destination. Let us be very clear about this. All worldly endeavors, pursuits, and tasks are goal-oriented, need-based, economy-based, and/or result-based. But spirituality is never result-oriented. It has no goal or destination. It is a pathless land. Therefore, one is advised, "Donít do anything. Just BE! Thatís all." Hence, the title of this morning's talk - "Don't Do".

It may look rather funny to you. You may be thinking, 'How can this man say 'donít do'?' Why do I say that? It is because everything that we do has been leading to further confusion. Somebody may tell me, "Repeat ĎSai Ramí 1,116 times." Even after repeating it 1,116 times, my worries double! (Laughter) Somebody may come and tell me, "Go around Ganesha temple nine times in the morning and nine times in the evening." The next day my problems multiply! Another person may tell me, "Go to Gayathri (a statue of the Goddess Gayathri in Prashanti Nilayam). Go there ten times and offer some flowers. Youíll have business with full profit!" Instead of that, I meet with further losses! Whatever I have been doing has not solved my problem. So what can I do right this time?

My friends, doing is an endless process - a process of multiplication of expectations. Doing is a process, which anticipates positive results. Nobody goes around Ganesha to lose money! (Laughter) No one goes to Gayathri, wishing to die the next day! However, spirituality is not that. Spirituality is a preparation to accept what is given to you, whether it is positive or negative. If anything happens positively, I'm grateful to God. If anything happens negatively, I'm thankful to God for teaching me a good lesson. Whatever happens is a lesson to learn and a training ground for evolution to a higher state.

Therefore, spirituality calls for not doing anything. This does not mean laziness, sleep, or slumber, like a dead log of wood. It is not that. It means that it is not a question of doing something or 'becoming' something. It is a question of 'being'. Be unto your Self. All doing is performed for becoming. 'Non-doing' is 'to be'. It is for 'being'. To be (or reside) in the being, to be in your Self, is 'non-doing'.

Here is a simple example. If I want to become a collector (like a mayor over a district or county), a doctor, or an engineer, I should study, write the test finals, appear for interview preliminaries, and then get selected. It is a long process of doing. On the other hand, I donít have to do anything to become Anil Kumar because I'm already Anil Kumar! I think I'm clear. I'm being Anil Kumar and not becoming Anil Kumar.

Spirituality is the study and experience of 'being' and not of 'becoming'. 'Doing' comes into the picture only when it is a process of 'becoming'. When you are in 'being', you are in 'non-doing'.

Life is Full of Desires

Here are a few points. Life is full of desires. Only it is the number of them that varies! Some people have two desires, others have many, and still others have one single desire that covers all the rest of the desires! (Laughter) The one is wholesale and the other is retail! Some people have beautiful business tactics. With one desire, they will have a thousand desires fulfilled!

I'm reminded of a story where one gentleman prayed to God for the fulfillment of only one desire. He had put a ceiling on his desires, being a very good devotee and a spiritual aspirant. He was pretty old, with one foot in the grave. He never got married because no one was prepared to marry him! Hence, celibacy was enforced, but not by choice! (Laughter) He was a bachelor, very poor, and ready to die. God appeared to him and asked, "What do you want?" The man said, "Oh God! Thank You! I'm not going to bother You with many desires. I have only one desire. I want to be an emperor with a grandson!" (Laughter) This fellow was very old. First, he should be young to have a son and then a grandson! Also, to be an emperor, he should be rich! This is a wholesale deal! (Laughter)

So my friends, such a life is full of infinite desires. You may call desires 'goals' or 'ideals'. But even lofty or noble ideals and higher goals are also still desires. Some people say, "Oh God, I donít have any desire. This is my last desire!" If that is so, it is mental suicide. Desires will never die down. They donít come to a total halt at any period of time. They persist in multiplying till the last breath! If anyone says, "I have no desires," he is full of desires. Beware of such bogus hypocrites! Life is a bundle of desires!

Desire after desire goes on multiplying. Goals are also multiplying like that. The Bhagavad Gita says, "Even to pray for liberation is also a desire." The title of the last chapter of Bhagavad Gita is ĎMoksha Sanyasa Yoga." It means, as a spiritual practice, give up even the desire for liberation. Therefore, now tell me of a person who is desireless?

Desires Make the Image of Ourselves

So my friends, life is full of goals and ideals, which are really our desires. My personality and image is made up of my desires, ambitions, aspirations, ideals, goals, and perspectives. Here is a simple example: If anyone stops me from going into the gates for afternoon darshan, my ego is affected. I will think, 'Why does this man stop me? I have been coming to Prashanti Nilayam since so long! Does he not know that I'm a VIP! (Very Insignificant Person!) (Laughter) Does he not know that I'm a Very Important Person? How dare he stop me! Let me take off his scarf and badge!' It is only our ego that is affected.

Why? You think that youíre very important, known to everybody, and very necessary here. You think that youíre very popular and have contributed to the mission of Sai. You have built up this false image and personality on your own. I make an image of myself. Then what happens? When that image is affected in public, my ego is hurt and I feel humiliated, ashamed, and insulted. Very good! I invite damage because of the personality that I have built within myself, all alone and all along. The point is that desires, goals, and ideals make an image of oneís own self.

Here is another simple example: I want to drink coconut water. Now, the false image I have built of myself says, 'If I go there, people may see me drinking coconut water. No, no! Coconut water should come to me. I should not have to go over there.' (Laughter) What about my prestige of being a very, very significant person, a VIP? I want to eat some sweets in the canteen. If I stand in the queue waiting for a coupon, someone may think, 'Oh! What is this? Anil Kumar also is standing in the queue? Can't he manage to jump the line or break through the wall?' Why should I go to the canteen? I should ask somebody to get sweets for me. Why? Sweets should come to me! I should not go to sweets!

Left alone, I overestimate myself. Yet other times, I donít match my own image or personality. I want to be free, but the image that I have built will not allow me to be free. I want to talk to everybody, but the false image that I have built around myself will keep me at a distance. I am considered very important, so I can't talk to everybody. Be a 'stiff-neck'! (Look as if you have got something wrong here in the neck!) (Laughter) A man who cannot communicate freely with everybody is psychologically sick, please take it from me. A man who cannot smile is almost dead and done! (Laughter) Thatís what I believe.

So the point is this: I want to talk to people freely, but my own image will not allow this as I am considered to be very important. I want to visit everybodyís house, but my image will not permit me to do this. Therefore, I start condemning myself. The image that I have built up leads to the condemnation of my own self! What a fool I am! I have kept myself away from simple things. I have locked myself up from my friends. I have been living in a 'cell' of simple house arrest or imprisonment.

I have lost the capacity to communicate with others, and I have distanced myself from everybody because of this so-called intellectual title which I created for myself. This position has cut off all my freedom and all links with the common people. Next, I condemn myself, "Alas! I'm in bondage!" When others hurt this self-image, it leads to a sense of shame and self-condemnation. The result is that I condemn myself, telling myself that I'm not free and not able to move with everybody. Condemnation is completely negative, I tell you.

Condemnation of Ourselves Leads to Obsessions

Condemnation leads to obsession. Everything becomes an obsession. Here is a simple example. Some people say, "I donít eat much." Oh! The world is not profited just because you donít eat! Others say, "I fast twice a week." You may fast for as many days as possible because youíll be saving food for some other person. However, your fast has got nothing to do with spirituality.

Some people say, "I am awake till 12 oíclock in the night, repeating Sai Manthra." All right, apply for an advertised watchmanís post! (Laughter) Keeping vigil throughout the night is not a sign of spirituality. Eating or not eating has nothing to do with religion. If one says, "I donít eat food," there is another man who says, "I eat food." The obsession of food is a common point for both of them. One person says, "I donít sleep." Another person says, "I always sleep." Sleep is an obsession for both.

Never torture your body. Let us learn to respect life. Sacrificing food, sleep, and the body is what you call self-torture. Some people are happy when torturing others and others are happy when torturing themselves! Torture is not religion and it should never be the philosophy of life. Philosophy is bliss and religion is joy. Life is a dance, laughter, and ecstasy. It should not be a torture, burden, or punishment.

What happens when you become obsessed with things like food and sleep? You experience disillusionment. If somebody asks you, "How are you?" You will answer, "What nonsense! You asked me to read "Sai Charitra" ("The Story of Sai") five times. Though I did this, my situation further deteriorated! You wanted me to do daily puja. Even though I did so, my son successfully failed in the examination!" (Laughter)

So I become disillusioned. "Please show me the place where I'm profited. Please show me a person who will give me positive results." This kind of shifting and changing the loyalty, moving from place to place, happens because of disillusionment. There are many people who say, "I have been coming here for the last twenty years. What has happened to me?" What should happen? Youíre alive! That is good! (Laughter) Of course, you may be the cause for the death of others; that is a different thing. (Laughter) There are some people who are alive, who are responsible for the death of others. Their thinking is: "Life is for me, thatís all." Well, with that attitude, what is it that you are going to get now?

Obsession is nothing but repression and suppression. This leads to depression, frustration, and disillusionment. Finally, it expresses itself as self-torture. I think I'm clear. Life should be fulfilled, not simply filled. Fulfillment is life, not simply filling life, with desires, objects, commodities, position, power, pelf, name, and fame. Not just filling the life, but fulfilling the life is much more important.

So my friends, before I wind up, donít 'do' because, if you start doing, youíll be full of desires. Desires are nothing but goals and ideals, which will make a personality, an imaginary image, of you. You will then be hurt in society and condemn yourself within. Several obsessions with food, sleep, and so on, will lead to disillusionment or frustration, which is self-torture.

In the end, we may please note that life is fulfillment - not filling up with position, wealth, power, name, and fame. In 'doing' are all the steps leading to 'becoming'. But how can you just 'be'? By 'not doing', you can step into living in the 'being'. What is the 'being'? Donít do! When you stop 'doing', you will be in that state of 'being'. You ARE the very 'being'.

The Experience of Closed and Opened Eyes

My friends, here is a simple experience. We want to keep our eyes wide open and look everywhere because then we feel secure. We think, 'There are so many people to help me.' Actually, nobody will come to your rescue or to anybodyís rescue. It is enough if you are not put to any harm. Then, why do we want to keep our eyes wide open and ears always ready to hear? When the senses are exposed, expressed, exhibited, and opened, it gives you a feeling of security and safety. I know what is in front of me. I see what is happening all around me and I hear what people are talking about. I feel the touch and listen to the sound. So the senses indirectly prompt a sense of safety and security.

Yet in the state of 'being', you have to withdraw your senses. You have to close your eyes and ears because 'becoming' is outside, but 'being' is within. Even when I close my eyes, I'm very eager to open them again! There are some people who close their eyes for some time during darshan, but in-between they open their eyes immediately.

Once we close our eyes, there is absolute darkness. We feel an abyss there, so we feel totally lost and experience non-identity. In that deep valley of darkness, there is no hope, no promise, and no entertainment. We donít want to remain with our eyes closed for too long. Why? I am lost in the darkness. I feel insecure and afraid. When I open my eyes, I feel, 'Oh, my friend is here! O.K., I am fine.' People say, "Sai Ram, Anil Kumar!" Then I feel that I am something. Good! When I hear somebody saying, "Oh, last weekís talk was good," it is very nice! My ego is fanned all the time. I answer, "I see! Why did you like it?" I start fishing for compliments.

The point is this. With these things, my ego is kept alive and played up to. I am quite fine when the ego is inflated. When I close my eyes, nobody is there to praise me. When I don't hear anything, there is nobody speaking nicely of me. I feel lost when the ordinary 'I'-ness, the ego, is totally gone. Therefore, I want to come back to my senses, to this 'realistic' world. But my friends, the state of 'being' lies in sublime silence. It does not have anything to do with goals and ideals.

When I close my eyes in meditation, I am no longer a district collector, an engineer, a doctor, or a professor. I'm nothing - a void, a vacuum, a deep valley, an abyss, and an empty space. This means that the ego, the ordinary 'I'-ness, is gone. You are a non-entity, having lost your normal identity.

That is what we call 'sublime silence', where you enjoy the real being by not doing. If you want to see, you should open your eyes. If you want to hear, you should be receptive. If you want to know the sense of touch, you should touch somebody. But in your state of being, donít do anything. Just sit calmly. Withdraw and be peaceful.

I'm sure most of you must have heard of the great sage of Tiruvannamalai, Ramana Maharshi, a great man. Somebody asked him, "Oh Bhagavan, what should we do to attain liberation?" He answered, "Donít do." The fellow returned and started speaking to somebody saying, "I should not have come here. I made a wrong choice of a guru. (Laughter) I thought that he would show me some way. I thought that he would tell me some manthra to repeat. I thought that he would give some kind of path, prescription, or spiritual procedure to be followed. Here is a man who only says, ĎDonít do.í I have not traveled all this distance just to be informed, ĎDonít do!í"

A wiser man answered this man saying, "Ramana Maharshi told you not to do anything because by doing you are going to become. By not doing, youíll get into the state of being. Being is non-doing; becoming is doing." So, in being, you can experience the sublime state of silence, when all the senses are withdrawn. I think I'm clear.

Having Total Acceptance

Then what happens? When I close my eyes, withdraw, and the ego is killed, I am in a state of total acceptance. Here is a simple example. Even in simple things, we are not prepared to accept ourselves. I think that youíll agree with me. Talk to some devotees. Let us say that you say, "Swami gave me this ring." The next man won't say, "Is that so?" Instead heíll say, "You got a ring this year. But He gave me this ring last year! Do you know that I'm senior to you?" (Laughter)

Then if I say, "Swami gave me vibhuthi just now," the other man will say, "Oh! He has given me vibhuthi ten times so far!" If he says, "I am lucky enough to have got an interview," you'll start saying, "We all got family interviews a dozen times, and individual family members got interviews twenty times!" You start impressing upon him your seniority, greatness, and your intensity of devotion. You try to impress it upon that man until he is totally frustrated! (Laughter) Why? We have not come to a state of acceptance. This kind of talking or dialogue should not be an obsession. One should feel, "All right, if nobody talks to me, it doesnít matter. If everyone talks to me, itís also O.K."

"Every time I come here, Swami says, 'When did you come?' This time though, He never looked at me. So I curse myself for having made a trip to this place. Every time He either takes a letter or smiles. He talks or grants an interview to me. But this time, He has totally ignored me. Therefore, all the money, time, and energy is wasted. Had I invested it, I would have gotten so much more profit." Is it right to say this? No!

Total and unconditional acceptance comes about in sublime silence, when the ego does not exist. There we will feel that whatever has happened, even if we were unlucky, we can respond saying, "Yes, I accept this. Out of this unlucky situation, a lucky situation is going to emerge." All days are not Sundays. I accept this dark night, as it will be followed by a brighter day. Every brighter day will again be followed by a dark night. Both do equal good to you. I cannot curse night saying, "Fie! Night is very dark. I donít like it because it is a time for thieves, robbers, and all other illegal activities!" "Oh, then when are you going to take rest and sleep?" Then you may answer, "No, Sir. I take rest in my office. So I donít need night now, thank you!" (Laughter) Then you are really a great man, a great philosopher!

God has given us the night in order to have enough leisure and in order to take rest. God has given night so that you can rest comfortably and gain some energy, so the next morning you can be dynamic, energetic, and work better. Those who have no sleep on the previous night cannot work the next morning. Some people go on dozing in the classroom. Why? They had no sleep the previous night. Sleep ensures work. Work needs rest and rest ensures work. Rest and work go together. Day and night go together. Therefore my friends, have acceptance.

"Sir, I'm always positive!" Oh! Positive and negative wires are required for the flow of the electric current. "Sir, I donít like death." Then you donít enjoy birth. (Laughter) When there is no death, you cannot appreciate birth. "Sir, I want to be youthful always." Oh! If you are eternally youthful, youíll get disgusted. There is grace in old age also. Old age has its own beauty also. You may not like to be called old, but "Old is gold!"

Every state of life has got its own beauty. Youth has its own luster, attraction, and grandeur. Old age has its own maturity, experience, wisdom, and advantages. Childhood has its own beauty, fun, frolic, and play. Thereís no point in me feeling badly right now. "Why is it that I'm not so young like my students? I feel so badly that I cannot wear jeans, T-shirts, and broad belts." If I did, I would look like a piece from a circus or a museum! (Laughter) I should age gracefully so that everybody would like to come to me and share my experiences and wisdom.

Acceptance of what you are, no matter what profession or state of life, is possible in the sublime state of silence. This sort of acceptance is a benediction. Benediction is the blessing of God. "Bhagavan stopped talking to me." Yes, it is a benediction! Why? In this sort of (inward) search or journey, pining and anxiety will increase more and more. I will think of Him more and more. When He talks to me or grants me an interview, there ends the matter (as I would go on publicizing about it)! My business is publicity and vanity, not Self-inquiry! By not talking to me, Heís taking me to the field of (inner) inquiry. By talking to me, He is just pushing me to the field of (outer) publicity, which is so dangerous. Therefore, we should understand it like this.

Bhagavan neglects you and is silent to make you a better seeker. Itís just like a son staying abroad for the last ten years. You think of him more than the son who is right in front of you. Distance lends enchantment. So thereís beauty in being outwardly distanced and neglected.

There is also beauty in what is called Divine Romance. Divine Romance could be better understood in silence, which is the greatest eloquence. Most of us know this. One can be eloquent in an utter state of silence. When Swami does not talk, I go on imagining, 'Maybe I did something wrong? I must have committed some sin or gone against His Will or been disobedient. Or perhaps somebody must have written something against me. Others may have thought something against me.' On the other hand, if He talks to you, there ends the matter.

Therefore, everything has its own beauty, advantage, and plus-points. Never condemn or judge anything. Judgement is dangerous. Condemnation is horrible and terrible. We should be able to accept things as they come, to enjoy the beauty of life. Benediction is God's blessing. It comes from experiencing acceptance in the sublime state of silence.

Sublime Silence is Beyond Obsession

What happens in 'becoming' is that everything becomes an obsession. Some people say, "I am very rich." They say they are rich because they have profits in geometric proportions and have bank accounts full of money. There is another man who says, "I lost all my money in the recent Gujarat earthquake. Even the bank is gone! So then, where is my money?" So one man has losses, the other man has gains. Money is the common factor, an obsession.

But in the state of sublime silence, you go beyond obsession. Money is not a factor, causing feelings of pride, humiliation, satisfaction, or dissatisfaction. "All right! I have money, O.K." Or, "Well, I donít have money. OK, fine. Why not?" So you just have to accept whether you have it or do not have it. Just because I have money, you donít need to pose. Just because you donít have it, you donít need to feel depressed. You go beyond this obsession with money.

"I like food. I enjoy food." O.K. "I donít eat food like you do. I have got my own regulations and restrictions. I donít eat hot foodstuff and I donít like pepper. I just eat a bland diet." Thank God you donít eat all of that! Why should I be bothered? The one who overeats is a glutton and the one who does not eat is observing a fast. But both have this common factor of food and eating. It is an obsession.

On the other hand, in this field of sublime silence, there is acceptance and benediction, whether you eat well and have the food you want or not. Most of you who are here for the first time may have tried to eat the hot sambar (spicy South Indian soup) when you went to the South Indian canteen. It is so hot (due to the spices) that you will remember it until you return here again next time! (Laughter) I know that you are not used to this kind of spicy food. But as food is not an obsession for you, you take whatever is available here.

Food is in plenty where you come from. You have pie, Sprite, 7-Up, cheese, and pizza there. Yet, you donít come to Puttaparthi for all of that. Pizza is not the attraction here. You will not think, 'I donít have the foodstuffs I want in Puttaparthi, like Kentucky Fried Chicken and hamburgers, so I wonít go there!' It is not an obsession for you. Instead you think, 'All right, we accept what little we get in the foreigners canteen. If pizza is there, good! If it is not there, we will be happy with the buttermilk in the South Indian canteen.'

We are happy with what we have. We donít complain about what we do not have. If you complain with what you do not have, you are obsessed. If you insist, "These are my requirements. Prepare a dosa (South Indian pancake) with at least 100 grams of chilies and 200 grams of onions!" Now that is an obsession. "If there is dosa, it is fine. Or if there is something else to eat like idly, that is also fine. Very good, I can manage." So, this is the state of being beyond obsession. 'Being' is non-obsessed. It is never obsessive.

When you go beyond, that state is called transcendence. You do not submit and you are not a victim. I asked some people, "You donít have mosquitoes in your country. How are you able to manage now? How are you able to sleep with the mosquitoes here?" They said, "OK, fine. Everything is fine." They didnít say, "I am not able to sleep because of mosquitoes." Of course, fellows like me, who are used to mosquitoes, cannot sleep without them! (Laughter) Thatís a different thing. We are used to the humming and the music of the mosquitoes, which is something like casino or pop music to our ears! (Laughter)

The State of Transcendence

One may have specific requirements like, "I want that and I cannot do without it." In the state of transcendence, one feels, 'If I have all that I need. It is very good. Yet, thank God that, even if I donít have it, Iíll be able to manage.' This happens when you go beyond the senses. Transcendence is possible when there is perfect understanding. A man may not be able to transcend or go beyond limitations. Why? It means that there is no proper understanding. When there is proper understanding, one will be able to transcend.

"O.K., Baba is most important. It doesnít matter what kind of food there is, or whether there is a comfortable room or not." You have understood the very purpose of coming here, so the other things become secondary. There are some people who say, "I donít come to Puttaparthi often because I donít have many conveniences over there." All right, bury yourself where you are! Conveniences and comforts are not that important. They are secondary.

To serve Bhagavan is primary. Out of this understanding, you get into the state of transcendence, which is nothing but going beyond obsessions. This is possible because of the benediction you get from God, out of total acceptance and in a state of sublime silence.

Total acceptance is the reason why some people are happy. Bhagavan always refers to many of the devotees coming from long, long distances. Particularly, whenever He talks to students, He necessarily makes a mention of the foreigners. He always tells the boys, "Look at the faces of all the foreigners. They come with smiling faces. They are very happy. Even if I call only one or two people for an interview, all the members of that group are happy. If I say, 'How are you?' all of them are happy. When I say, 'When did you come?' all are happy. In fact, they shake the hands of the person who gets the interview because that Divine vibration also will get into them! (Laughter) That is the state of their happiness. Whereas you fellows are not happy, though I am in your midst, move amongst you, and talk to you every day. What is the use?"

So we are not happy because of our discontentment, lack of understanding, expectations, obsessions, and our false image and personality. Left to myself, I'm not worried whether Bhagavan talks to me or not. However, I am worried because of what others may think of me. They will start questioning me, "Did Swami talk to you?" How can I tell him, "I am sorry, He did not talk to me"? So I must concoct a story, "He did not talk to me because He already knows what I am thinking." I see. (Laughter) It is a convenient philosophy.

So, I'm afraid of public opinion. Iím afraid that my image might be damaged for any reason. I am afraid that the false personality, which I have developed over a period of time, might be totally shattered. My ego is affected. My vanity is gone. I'm very much worried. This worry is even more than the benefit that the interview confers! This has been the experience of many people. There are no exceptions. The point is that happiness disappears because of this false image and all that accompanies it.

Sadhana or Spiritual Practice

Now, having come from the steps of 'Donít do, don't become,' but 'be', we get into the field of sadhana or spiritual practice. I want to deal with this for the couple of minutes that are left.

We do spiritual practice in two ways: One way is with the mind and the other way is with the heart. How do you do spiritual practice with the mind? There are some people who can recite poems at a stretch. There are some people who can chant manthras non-stop. Others may have totally memorized the 108 or 1008 Names of God by heart. They go on repeating that - "Ta-da, ta-da, ta-da, ta-da.." Ah-ha! All this exercise is by the mind.

Spiritual practice undertaken by the mind is useless, futile, and will lead us to failure. Why? Spirituality is beyond the mind. You are not the mind. Bhagavan says, "Mind is like a mad monkey. Body is a water bubble." So whatever spiritual practice you do with that mind is sure to be foolish, useless, and much worse than madness. God and spirituality are beyond the mind. Mind is nothing but the ego.

How do most of us manage with the mind? Those who say, "I have done such-and-such" are just within the limitations of the mind. "I meditate every day." "I worship every day." "We do so many things in Sai Centers." All these claims of 'doing' arise out of the mind. "We do this." "I have done this." "I attend Suprabhatam (an awakening prayer, recited just before dawn, to awaken the Divine within us) every day." By doing that, you are not contributing to the worldís welfare! So, this claim of 'I am doing', this ordinary 'I'-ness, is from the mind.

When once the mind begins sadhana, it first drowns itself in the state of memory. It goes on recalling, "Ten years ago, do you know what happened?" "Fifteen years ago, this happened." "I have been visiting for twenty years, long before there were many buildings here." Very good! Please go near the Chitravati River, where there are no buildings still now. There you can think of those days and never return! (Laughter)

Mind is nothing but memory, and that memory expresses itself in words or letters. "I sing bhajans." "I recite manthras." Recitation, chanting, and singing are only born out of memory. Repetition is boring. Thatís all. If I teach the same lesson every day, the boys will curse themselves and wait eagerly for a holiday! (Laughter) Most children go to sleep while listening to the stories of their grandmother. It is not that the stories are interesting. The stories are boring and being helpless in that situation, the kids fall asleep! (Laughter) "It is a full moon day. An old woman is sitting under a tree. An ant bites her. The ant goes to some fox." The child has been listening to the same story every day. The child starts moving the limbs hither and thither. Then he helplessly goes to sleep. It is not in spite of her story. It is because of her story! (Laughter)

Therefore my friends, repetition is boring, mechanical, and a routine. Everything done with the mind comes down to the level of a machine. It is something like a railway or air flight timetable of arrivals and departures. "Meditation - arrival at 6 oíclock, departure at 7 oíclock." Bhajans start at 6:30 and end at 7 oíclock. Tsk! This is a state done with the mind. Thereís no freshness, beauty, thrill, excitement, or wonder. It continues to be the same yesterday and today.

My friends, we shouldnít let our lives be mechanical. When our lives become mechanical, life is not worth living. Whether it is family life or professional life, religious life or social life, it should not be mechanical. Mechanical life is death. A life of routine is about the past. A life of schedule has no charm. A programmed life is the life of a computer. It should not be like that.

Sadhana with the Heart

On the other hand, when once you do your sadhana (spiritual practice) with your heart, it is not merely the memory that matters, it is the meaning that counts. You should want to feel the very meaning, not simply remember the Name. When I sing bhajans, I contemplate on the meaning. ĎKrishnaí means 'the one who quenches or fulfills the thirst of desire'. Then it is much more meaningful when you sing, 'Oh Krishna!' It should not just be 'Krishna' sung or repeated with the mind - one, two, three and gone! Why should 'Krishna' be sung with the mind? I donít know! You may think, 'Since everybody else does it, let me also do it, so that others wonít think that I'm an atheist! Others should feel that I'm a devotee. Therefore I will shout the bhajan, so as to sound like a better devotee.' Is that right?

You can draw on the true meaning and feeling when you make the heart a substratum or base - a foundation. This is different from the mind, which works only by the memory. What happens when you dwell on and identify with the meaning? Then whatever manthra you recite is a song. Whatever you read, hear, or do is poetry and music. It becomes the very dance of life. Then life has all charm, beauty, attraction, and dynamism. This is because the heart is the foundation, the screen or backdrop, the substratum or base. Heart is the stage on which you dance.

If the mind is left, then what happens? Anything that you do is not simply an end by itself. I sing bhajans not for the sake of bhajans alone. Singing bhajans is a means to an end, the end being bliss. To be blissful, I sing bhajans. To be blissful, I worship. To be blissful, I read books.

So, all spiritual sadhana is a means to an end, not an end by itself. It is just a vehicle. A car is only a means to take me to a destination. It is a vehicle towards the goal, a vehicle of expression and communication, but not an end by itself. Thus the heart will view everything, acting as a vehicle, to take you to that state of bliss.

So my friends, let us get out of this 'becoming' and get into 'being'. We can do this by undertaking the sadhana oriented in the heart, not in the mind. This orientation in the heart will make us truly alive and make our lives exciting, thrilling, and worth living. Then life will never be a repetition.

Thank you!

May Baba be with you forever and ever more!

(Anil Kumar closed his satsang by leading the bhajan, 'Kshirabdhi Shayana Narayana...')

© 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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