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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
September 23, 2001

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

"What am I?"

September 23, 2001



Dear Brothers and Sisters!

In Spirituality "What am I?" Comes First

To realise the objective of sessions like this and to be more academic, instructive, and practical, I thought of converting the lecture class into a teaching class. I hope that you'll certainly enjoy this and understand the sprit behind it.

The topic for this morning is "What am I?" Usually the word that we come across or the sentence that we often hear from Bhagavan is "Koham?" It means, "Who am I?" However, I have chosen to speak on "What am I?" Usually in the world, we first know the answer to the question "Who am I?" For example, I am Anil Kumar. What am I? I'm a professor in botany. So, "Who am I?" comes first in the world, and "What am I?" comes next.

However, in spirituality it is in the reverse order. "What am I?" comes first and "Who am I?" comes next. I should know what I am so that I will know who I am later. Yet, in the world, you'll know "Who am I" first and then you will find out later "What am I?". I think I'm clear. I thought this morning that I should talk to you on this topic, "What am I?".

I am what I speak, what I do, what I think, and what I stand for. This is the stuff with which I am composed of and the substance with which I am made. Now Iíll give a few points with regard to the difference between "What am I?" and "Who am I?". My friends, I'll really appreciate it if you understand the spirit behind it.

What are the differences between these two questions, "What am I?" and "Who am I?" The first difference is this. "What am I?" speaks of the matter and qualities. It stands for the senses. "Who am I?" relates to the Spirit and the Conscience. It is connected to the Consciousness. The second difference is "What am I?" is worldly. It has something to do with the five elements. "Who am I?" is of the Spirit beyond the elements. The third point is that "What am I?" is a question. Every question has an answer. A question without an answer should be out of the question! So, "What am I?" is a question that finds an answer, whereas "Who am I?" is not really a question, but a quest, an exploration.

Now the fourth point is "What am I?" is an analysis, whereas "Who am I?" is a realisation. "What am I?" is an expression, while "Who am I?" is an experience. "What am I?" is a solution to a problem. In the field of "Who am I?" you do not solve any problem. The 'you' simply dissolves! A simple example: when sugar is dissolved in water, you don't find any sugar left at all. When once you know "Who am I?" you will get dissolved. There will be no one left (to separate himself out) to say who he is. So, getting dissolved is "Who am I?" whereas solving the problem is "What am I?" So my friends, I wanted to speak on "What am I?" first, before we go to "Who am I?" which becomes subsequently quite possible and easy enough.

This talk is developed from Gunatriya Vibhaga Yoga, the 14th Chapter from the standard, sacred text of the Song Celestial, Bhagavad Gita. My job was made easy because I also went through Gita Vahini, a book written by Bhagavan Baba Himself. In the year 1984, Bhagavan Baba gave 30 discourses on the Bhagavad Gita. The standard book taken from these talks was very well edited. I also referred to that book. Based on these three available books, I could make an easy-to-understand chart. (This is the age of summaries. We can't afford the time to go through so many books.) So I thought of bringing it to you in the form of a capsule or summary, something like a floppy or a disk! I'm sure you'll appreciate it.

Interpretation Depends Upon What I Am

Every one of us acts, thinks, and speaks in a particular way. Therefore, every one here is unique in a special way. This is understood. Let us entertain and live with the idea that "I am unique. I am not a crowd." If anyone says, "Sai Ram, Sir" one person will understand it this way: 'This man wants to repeat God's Name again and again, so he says, "Sai Ram".í Another person may have interpreted it in this way: 'The conventional style is saying, "Good morning! Good to see you." Instead of that, this man chooses to say, "Sai Ram" as a word of greeting.' A third man will think, 'This man said "Sai Ram" because he expects a favor from me!' (Laughter) So, the same "Sai Ram" may convey so many meanings! Don't you think so?

We give meanings depending upon what we are. How I look at and interpret things and the way I react with you, my interrelationships, behavior, personality, and interaction more or less depend upon what I am. So I thought it's most important to think of what I am in an interrogative sentence, and to find an answer to that based on the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan's Gita Vahini, and the series of Divine discourses.

"What am I?" could be very well understood because you are composed of your reactions, sentiments, impulses, moods, reminiscences, and planning. All of this depends upon one factor, what we call gunas. I have written a chart with colors here, for the benefit of those who are interested to follow.

The Three Attributes

Gunas is a Sanskrit word meaning behavior, qualities, or attributes. So, what I speak and how I behave reveals my guna or quality. Gunas are behind our actions and interrelationships. There are three types of gunas. The first type is called sathwic quality. Sathwic means goodness, serenity, balanced temper, purity, brightness, peace, and harmony. You may be wondering, 'How does it mean so many things?' Sathwic means all or any one of these, depending upon the context. (Sanskrit is a language that can play the game of hide and seek. It is like a chameleon. It appears to be understood, while it is not understood in the strict sense. If we know the essence of all the words put together, it is quite possible and easy for us to understand it in the right sense.)

In examinations, we publish the results as 'first' class, 'second' class, and 'third' class. Similarly, in trains there are also first, second, and third class compartments. Likewise, sathwic is one variety, a quality that one class of people have. The first class of people are those with sathwic quality. The second class of people are those with rajasic quality. What is rajasic mentality? It means being highly passionate, highly energetic, totally restless, and having absolute attachment. One having rajasic quality is an extrovert who cannot contain anything for one's own self.

The third class of people are thamasic people. What do you mean by thamasic nature? It means being dull, inert, having a temper, and being in darkness and ignorance, all in one! These are all the wonderful qualities of the third category of people. (Laughter) I think I'm clear.

These three attributes are the qualities that are behind our actions, reflections, thoughts, feelings, emotions, sentiments, reactions, interactions, and interrelationships. They constitute our total personality. All the aspects of life like the physical, psychological, and intellectual realms of expression constitute the total personality.

The Sathwic Quality

What are the qualities of a sathwic personality or man? The 'first' class of man is very much coveted. One has to be fundamentally and basically sathwic if one wants to be religious, spiritual, or take to doing sadhana (spiritual practice). Without being sathwic, there is no sadhana at all. Without being sathwic, you are irreligious and non-spiritual. I think I'm clear. I have also indicated on the chart the numbers of the verses or slokas from the Bhagavad Gita. Those who have copies of the Bhagavad Gita and want to verify can certainly go through the cantos mentioned there for immediate reference. This talk is not my imagination or interpretation. It is based on the original text.

Now, what are the sathwic qualities? Number one, a sathwic man has Knowledge, called Jnanam in Sanskrit. This is mentioned in the 17th canto. Ordinary knowledge is fractional and segmented. But total understanding and comprehensive knowledge is called awareness. So, a sathwic man has this quality of awareness.

How do you find out or identify a sathwic man? Is he sathwic if he wears white clothing or if he is very punctual to bhajans? No, not necessarily. What about if he puts on a serious face? Certainly not! Is he a sathwic man if he goes on pushing everybody? Then he would be just the opposite! (Laughter) Is he sathwic if he rushes to the canteen immediately after bhajans or jumps over to the stores?

(By the way, it is so interesting to notice how people rush to the stores. There is a greater pressure at the stores than in the Mandir here! (Laughter) As our brains have become a 'store of thoughts', for that reason we go to the outer store of objects and materials! Life has become a 'storehouse' for us. Thatís why Bhagavan keeps us in 'cold storage'!)

Another quality of a sathwic man is nirmalam, a Sanskrit word meaning 'purity'. According to Bhagavan, this means purity of thought, word, and deed. Bhagavan mentions three famous Pís: purity, perseverance, and patience. A sathwic man should have this first P, purity.

The next quality is prakasakam, 'light-giving' or 'illuminating'. We feel illumined and enlightened when in the company of people who have the sathwic quality. He is in the light and he sheds light. His company itself is the one of awareness. It will not push us into darkness or torture us.

In the company of a sathwic man, you will never face the threat of violence. You will not encounter any trouble from a sathwic man. There is no worry of 'Tomorrow he may attempt to murder me!' Or, 'The day after tomorrow he may try to let me down.' Or, 'This evening he may put me to shame.' Ananayam, meaning 'untroubled', is also the quality of a sathwic man. This is mentioned in the 16th and 6th slokas. It means not giving any trouble and not being troubled.

Then what happens? As Bhagavan says, when a vessel with many holes is filled with sweet juice, only sweet juice comes out through all of the holes. "As is the tank water, so is the tap water."' Thatís what Bhagavan says. If the tank water is polluted, the tap water will be equally polluted. If the tank water is pure, the tap water will also be like that.

So, a sathwic man with that awareness, purity, and illumination, a sathwic man who is untroubled, will have only sathwic qualities expressed through his senses. The words of a basically sathwic man are bound to be full of Truth. His actions are Dharmic or righteous. His thoughts are in absolute Peace. His relationships are full of Love and his understanding is non-violent.

The famous human values, Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Righteousness), Shanthi (Peace), Prema (Love), and Understanding are all the result of the sathwic quality. He speaks Truth and he acts in a righteous way. Heís full of peace and he is loving. That is possible because the sathwic quality expresses itself through all the gates of the senses. Sarvadwareshu - dwara means 'gates' and sarva is 'all'. The sathwic quality, the pious quality, will have an expression through all these gates of the senses.

The 14th and 18th slokas explain two additional points. "OK, Sir. I'm sathwic. I claim to be sathwic. I think I have sathwic qualities. After all, what do I get out of this?" We are very much business-minded, even in the world of spirituality and religion. "So let me know the benefit, let me know how I'm going to be profited, by being sathwic. Will there be any extra foreign currency or increased rates of interest? What is it that I'm going to get?"

Here it is clearly said, "Look here, young man! If you have this sathwic quality, after this life, your next life will be one of a higher order and with greater awareness." Amalan lokan means 'one will attain the world of the highest and the pure'. You will be in the midst of the highest, pure people. It is a promise of continuity to Eternity. The Sathwic quality of this life will be carried to the next life also. It is something like a balance sheet maintained by commerce students. The last entry is brought forward and carried onto the next page. Am I right? Similarly, the sathwic quality is brought forward to the next life, where we will mingle with pious people and be in the company of pure, like-minded people.

Next is oordhwam gachanthi, which refers to 'a higher world of knowledge'. This means that you are always on the ascent, in eternal travel, trying to unravel the mystery of nature. You are blissful, peaceful, truthful, and full of awareness. Those are all sathwic qualities. They are absolutely necessary for any spiritual seeker or aspirant who wants to be 'first-class stuff'. What is the result of being sathwic? The result of being sathwic is this awareness or Jnanam. "I have this awareness, this Knowledge, because I'm sathwic.

The Rajasic Quality

The second one is the rajasic quality. What is rajasic quality? It is full of passion, energy, restlessness, attachment, and extroversion. These are all the different meanings for the rajasic quality. How does it express itself? One will be emotional, passionate, action-orientated, and highly attached. What is the result of being rajasic? The result of rajasic quality is expressed in the 16th sloka - dukham or suffering. The rajasic people will have to necessarily face suffering.

What happens is this: A man who is rajasic will have a number of desires, one after another. He will have attachments towards worldly objects to the maximum extent. Whatever he sees, he wants to possess it. "If you have color TV, why shouldnít I also have one?" "If you own a very big building, why shouldnít I also own one?" "If you wear nice clothes, why shouldnít I have them too?"

The rajasic quality has this kind of possessiveness and comparison. "If you are popular, I can be more popular!" "If you are notorious, let me try to be more notorious!" (Laughter) This sort of dirty game of comparison and vulgar competition are the qualities of a rajasic man. A sathwic man will never compare himself with anyone or compete in any profession or hobby. He will not compare himself to anybody in any field of life. Heís a standard unto himself. Competition and comparison are the qualities of an emotional and attached rajasic man. This is ragathmakam, 'passion for objects'. Raaga means 'attachment' and raagaatmikam means 'attached to worldly objects'.

The 17th and 12th slokas clearly explain the qualities of a rajasic man. How does he express himself? He has greed, lobha. He wants to have more and more. Even if you give him the whole plot and the whole lot, heís not satisfied. It is something like a fire. Even if you put everything possible into the fire, the fire will never say, "Enough, enough!" No! The fire says, "I want more." Therefore, fire in Sanskrit is called anara. Anala is 'wind' and anara is 'fire'. Anara implies 'that which does not say, "Enough!"' It only says, "I want more and more." That which crosses the limits of one's needs becomes greed. This is the definition of greed. I think I'm clear.

A rajasic is man full of greed and tends towards pravritti, external temperament. He has attachment to everything present in the world and feels, "I should have whatever you have. Let me own everything!" This is a sort of claim to be as good and equipped as anybody is.

The rajasic man is also fully action-oriented. He cannot sit for sometime. "All right. This is the time for meditation. Sit up straight and close your eyes." Well, he sits and closes his eyes, but he plans what to do next. (Laughter) Silence on the lips, total noise in the head. Physically, he is actionless, but the mind is fully active. He is full of maneuvering and manipulation, managing things, matter and material.

Therefore, a rajasic man is always action-orientated. Why? Because he wants to do something desired or even prohibited. He will start doing the things heís not supposed to do because he has nothing else to do! When I cannot do anything else, at least I can talk to you, even though I'm asked to be silent. There is a board saying, "Silence, please!" However, I go on talking with everybody. Why? I have nothing to do. This is called karmanam, which means 'action-orientated'.

What happens because of this action? Heís highly restless. Asamaha means 'restlessness'. Every activity makes him restless because actions are result-oriented. Such persons are prone to making comments. For example, let us say I am talking in the Mandir. I am not supposed to talk, so I become restless. Why? Others may notice me. Therefore, I may be in danger tomorrow. Somebody may say, "Donít talk! You are setting a bad example." Am I right? So those who are action-orientated are highly restless. Restlessness is susceptible to criticisms and has both positive and negative effects.

Spruha is 'longing, desire'. Rajasic persons always have expectation, longing, and desire. "There will be a day when I am going to be in charge of all this!" "There will be a day when I will be an uncrowned King!" "There will be a day when everyone has to follow me! That day is your doomsday!" (Laughter) But the day when I will be ĎNumber Oneí may not come at all in my lifetime. This kind of meaningless expectation, longing, and desire is a kind of vanity, exhibitionism, and weakness.

OK, Sir. What a difference there is between sathwic and rajasic qualities! One is full of purity and the other has emotional attachment. One is full of light and the other is highly restless. One is untroubled and the other is always troubled with longing and desire. See that! The result of sathwic quality is you go to higher realms in the next life. Meanwhile, a rajasic man of action and expectation will be born again next life in the family of action-orientated people. This is called rajasa madhye, meaning 'in the midst' of rajasa.

Thatís the reason why you find a military officer whose son is also a military officer. I met one gentleman who said, "I'm a brigadier, Anil Kumar." "Oh, good to see you, Sir!" He didnít keep quiet. "My son is a major!" I said, "No surprise." (Laughter) Another example: "You look here, Anil Kumar! I'm a doctor. My son is in the final year of medicine." "Excellent." So, what happens? A doctor has a doctor-son and an engineer has an engineer-son.

Today we find actors' children also becoming actors. Of course, I stopped seeing cinemas for the last thirteen years since I came here. This is because there's no chance. It is not because of any special virtue! (Laughter) I donít claim to be highly virtuous. There are no theaters around, so I donít have a chance to go. I'm cinema-proof now! The point is that I have observed and understood that most of the actors in Telugu films today are the children of actors of yesteryears. Why? It refers to the same thing - rajasa madhye. They are born in a family that is full of action. The Bhagavad Gita explained this.

The Thamasic Quality

Now, the third class of people is thamasic. Tamas means 'darkness' and 'dullness'. Some people are dull. Their face itself is abhorrent and their company is incorrigible. Their face appears as if they have drunk two liters of castor oil! (Laughter) They never smile. They shun company, long for isolation, and live all alone. They have the thamasic quality.

There are some people who say. "I cannot communicate. I cannot be free with everybody." This is a thamasic quality. If you are not free with everybody, you are a dead stone, a dead log of wood. I should be able to communicate. I should be able to move freely. "Let's go! Swamiís car is going!" The other responds dully, "OK, you go start. HmmÖ" Or another example: "Oh! The train is there on the platform! Let's go! Hurry!" The thamasic person responds, "No hurry." This is inertia and dullness.

I tell my students that when Bhagavan makes certain statements, I'm not happy with the response from some of the students. Why? "Believe Me or not, in this whole Body, top to toe, there is no trace of selfishness. There is nothing like ego. It is full of Love." When Bhagavan makes that profound statement, what kind of expression does He expect from the people in the audience? There should be a face of joy and a feeling of excitement! Without you knowing, both of your hands should join together in reverence. There should be cheers and applause. That is the immediate reaction. But there are some that sit with no response, as if they are deaf. (Laughter)

When I teach John Miltonís book, which is entitled Paradise Lost, if you sit there unconcernedly like this (Anil Kumar strikes a demonstrative pose), (Laughter) well, there is something wrong with you. If you lose one rupee, you feel as if you have lost everything. When I say, "Paradise is lost," it is nothing to you!

Therefore, a response is necessary. Thamasic people just say, "Ah-huh. Ah..." Thatís it! There's no other response. They are dull and inert. They also have a bad temper for every little disturbance. If I'm coming in queue and my body touches a thamasic man unintentionally, he says angrily, "Donít you know that you should keep off?" (Laughter) "Oh. Sorry, Sir! I didnít know till now that you are untouchable. (Laughter) I'm sorry. Hereafter, I know that you are an 'untouchable'. OK?" There are some people who will say, "This is my seat! You are not supposed to sit in it." "Oh! I didnít know, Sir, that it is a 'condemned area'. (Laughter) OK?" They have a temper for everything. This is thamasic, the third class of expression.

Ignorance
Then with thamasic people, there is total ignorance and they are carried away by all silly things. Let us suppose that somebody comes and asks me, "When is Swami going?" "Why are you interested when is He going? If He goes next month, what are you going to do now? If He goes now, can you stop Him from going?" Such people do not know how to make use of the present. They do not know how to live in the present moment. They do not know how to live in Existence, so they go on like this, just out of total ignorance.

There are some people who ask me, "What does Swami eat?" Are you going to follow His diet? If I tell you what Swami eats and if you follow Him, youíll be 'no more' tomorrow, you can take it from me! Oh yes, the whole campus will be empty! (Laughter) This is total ignorance, I tell you!

How do thamasic people act? Whatever you tell them, spiritual, psychological, para-psychological or religious, nothing gets into their head. They are religious-proof, spiritual-proof, and all proof - something like our watches, which are waterproof, heatproof, and magnet-proof! This is a thamasic mind. (Laughter) Nothing will get in - nothing!

So, Jnanam is the quality of a sathwic man. Constant suffering is the quality of a rajasic man because heís not satisfied with any immediate result. Ignorance is the sign or the symbol of a thamasic man.

A thamasic man, who is inert and dull, fully identifies himself with the body. Body identification is a thamasic quality. Pasitiah pasuhu means 'he has an animal or bestial temperament'. Pramada means he has 'false understanding and is heedless'. Here is a simple example. If Swami says, "Go" it is only one word. One person will take the meaning to be, "Swami wants me to go home." Oh! There is bus or train waiting there. So you can go! This is a false understanding. He wants you to go from here, not to go away from here. Do you see?

Supposing Bhagavan says, "God has no form. God is formless and attributeless." "That is what Swami said, so let me not go to the temple at all! (Laughter) Let me not worship at all. When God has no form and no name, why is Ganesha here? Why is Subrahmanyam there? Why is Gayathri there?" This is foolish understanding, which is their own fault.

One must go from form to formless and from attributes to attributeless. It is a struggle from point A to point B. Point A is worship to a form with attributes, saguna and sakara. Point B is formless worship and attributeless, nirguna and nirakara. It is like travelling along the way. Some fellow thinks, "Swami said, ĎAll forms are Mine.'" Yet, if you take this literally and go on talking to everybody, you will have to enter a lunatic asylum! So my friends, having a false understanding, incorrect approach, and being neither realistic nor practical, is a quality of a thamasic man. It is pramada, dangerous.

The 13th and 8th slokas explain very clearly about thamasic people. If you just sit by the side of a thamasic man, he is not only dull, but heíll successfully make you also equally dull. (Laughter) Never sit by the side of a person who sleeps because youíll feel like sleeping. Thatís the reason why truck drivers, bus drivers, and taxi drivers will never allow the man next to him to sleep. If his neighbor sleeps, the driver will also start sleeping, and then both of them will go into eternal sleep! (Laughter)

A thamasic man is so contagious and highly infectious that he will also make you dull. Suppose you sit by the side of a man who doesnít sing bhajans with his full-throat. If he goes on murmuring, whispering, and grumbling like an 80-year old person, you also will not feel like doing bhajans with your full-throat. On the other hand, if you sit by the side of a man who is radiant, vibrant, and sings loudly with his full-throat, you too will feel like joining in. Thatís why bhajans or congregational worship is done in the company of inspired people, not in the company of 'perspiring' people. If you are in the company of 'perspiring' people, you will start perspiring! If you sit in the company of inspiring people, you will be inspired in turn.

Therefore, thamasic quality is highly dangerous because of its aprakasa, 'darkness of intellect'. Such a person is a dunce and a dullard, and he will make you equally so. That is the quality of a thamasic man. As Bhagavan says, "Tell me your company, I shall tell you what you are."

Laziness
The next quality of a thamasic person is laziness, apravritti. There are some people who want to be lazy in the name of religion and spirituality. "Hey! What are you doing here in Puttaparthi?" "Swami wants me to be here." "Oh. So what are you doing?" "I'm just sitting here like that." "Oh! Just like that? Doing nothing?" Then you are a burden to the campus and a very bad example to everybody! Just see how God works tirelessly.

My friends! Let me tell you a question posed by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of this country. They are national leaders. They happened to talk to some devotees of rank and file, main people of our organization, who have very high responsibilities. What they asked of these organizational people is equally applicable to everybody.

(I'm just making this a public secret, though I'm not supposed to! (Laughter) I know the danger involved, but it doesnít matter. I invite it! As you know, I'm ABC, Anil Kumar Broadcasting Corporation (Laughter and Applause). Yes! Youíre used to BBC, but this is ABC! I'm proud to be that. Given the chance, Iíll be it in my next life also.) (Laughter)

So the point is, do you know what no less a person than the Prime Minister and the Home Minister said to leading workers of the organization? "You call yourself devotees of Bhagavan. You call yourself the organizers and active workers. You say that youíre in charge of all activity. But our question straight to you is this: What is it you are doing for Swami? You all come here to get your desires fulfilled. You receive your own promotions and get your political pursuits endorsed. You come here for your own families and get everything from Him. Youíre all here because of some sickness, seeking a total cure from Him. But what is it you have done in turn for Swami?" We are nonplussed. We have no answers. "What is it youíre doing for Swami?" After all, we have done nothing.

There was one man who wanted to be smart. He answered, "What is it that I can do when Heís doing everything for me?" (Laughter and Applause) This is the best example for the thamasic quality. No, gentlemen! The Prime Minister happens to be a devotee of at least five decades standing. He has been visiting this campus quite frequently. Do you know what he said? He said this: "All right. Swami is doing everything for you. I know. I accept that. But it is your duty as a devotee to do something for Him. As a devotee, what are you doing for Him? What is your concern?"

I'm reminded of one example that Bhagavan told us. One fellow said, "God, You give us food. Whatever I eat is Your prasadam, Your gift. So why should I make any offering? Itís not necessary. So there'll be no offering. It is cancelled." (Laughter) "Oh God! All the money is Your Grace. So, I need not donate anything. I donít need to contribute because You have given all to me. When you are the Giver, what is it that I am to give back to You?" Ah! This is a convenient philosophy and a thamasic quality or bestial temperament. Laziness is a thamasic quality. We are not supposed to be lazy. We should do something for the organization, something for the Sai mission.

Another quality of thamas is delusion or moha. Some think that laziness is spiritual life and that filling the belly and talking all nonsense is spiritual life. This is nothing but moha or delusion. Next what happens? Sleep or nidra. I'm not speaking of any single person. We have some great devotees who can afford to sleep as Bhagavan gives His discourse. Very great people! (Laughter) I donít know how they sleep!

While Bhagavan is giving His discourse, there are some people, lucky souls, who can go into the state of samadhi or sleep. (Laughter) Some can even snore, disturbing the neighbor! (Laughter) Some can even go to that supreme state where they lay down on the lap of the next man sitting by their side! (Laughter) Tsk! This is a thamasic quality. Sleep should not be in excess. We should have some limits. There are some people who can sleep in offices. There are some others who can sleep in a standing posture, as if heís in a circus. Ah! They are so great. So, nidra, sleep, is a thamasic quality

What Happens to Thamasic People?

"OK, Sir. What happens to thamasic people in their next life?" They are born in moodha yoni, in the wombs of senseless, useless people. Moodha means 'useless' and yoni, 'the womb'. They are born in families who donít have any kind of purpose or goal. They are born to those who lead wavering, aimless, and purposeless lives. What will happen to them ultimately? They go to the lower level of consciousness, what we call adhogachanthi.

So these are the three classes of people. Now each one can put to himself the question, "What am I? Am I sathwic, rajasic, or thamasic?"

A judge in a court was about to pronounce his judgment on a criminal who committed murder. This criminal was a philosopher. He had studied some books. He got up and said, "My lord! I have not murdered anybody. After all, the real ĎIí in me is the very same ĎIí in him. When he and I are one, who is the killer and who is the killed? Who is murdered and who is a murderer? Who kills and who dies?"

Ah! The judge could understand, ĎHere is a philosopher!í Then he said, "Who is giving punishment? (Laughter) Who is undergoing punishment? After all, you are going to be hanged. Thatís all. (Laughter) The one who is going to be hanged and the one who ordered the hanging are the same. Donít worry, get realized!" (Laughter) You see this? Therefore, adhogachanthi, he goes to the lower world without any consciousness.

"All right, if I'm thamasic, well, I am helpless. Let me continue to be thamasic. What to do? God made me like that." (Laughter) Oh! Once Bhagavan said two points, which I want to bring to your attention here. One point is this. There is a solution. What am I to do if I'm thamasic? What to do if I want to eat continuously and sleep as long as possible? What if I am always indifferent, impertinent, non-responsive, non-receptive, dull, inert, and passive like a boulder? There is a possibility now.

A thamasic man should start by doing some work. Thatís the reason why all of us are given some work or other to do by Bhagavan. If you are old and you have some joint pains, spondilitis or arthritis, you can be seated comfortably and at least make some vibhuthi packets. If you are not very healthy and the body is not strong, at least you can participate in water distribution there in the canteen, seeing that the tumblers are full of water. If you are young enough, come on! Do some seva. If you are rich enough, come on and contribute! So, some action is necessary for the thamasic man to become rajasic. It is a sort of evolution.

When once you become rajasic, you start working for Him. For a rajasic man to become sathwic, he has to cultivate that spirit of enquiry, enthusiasm, awareness of Self-knowledge, and devotion. Karma or action will make a thamasic man rajasic. Bhakthi or devotion will make a rajasic man sathwic. There is one step above and beyond sathwic, and that is transcendence. This is indulgence. We have to think about transcendence - how to transcend, how to go beyond the three attributes. I will mention a few examples given by Bhagavan before I close.

The Three Qualities Are In Everyone and In Nature

Some people may say, "Sir! I'm full of sathwic quality." Oh! How can you declare it yourself? Others may say, "I am thamasic." Why do you say that? Baba has said that everyone has all these three qualities. That is very important. How? Just as the fan has three blades, every man has these three qualities. You are not someone separate. Gravel, sand, and cement - all three are helpful for construction. If there is only mere sand, we know that we will see the collapse of the bridge the next day in the newspaper! So these three are necessary and they are present in everybody. This is the first point that Baba said.

The second point He said was that you find all these three qualities in nature. For example, watch the sunrise in the morning and the sunset in the evening. People go to Cape Comorin (located at the southernmost tip of South India) to watch the beautiful sunrise. Bhagavan gave this example. As you watch the sunrise, initially you find darkness all around. This is the thamasic quality. Next you will see the red color of the dawn breaking, which is the rajasic quality. At the center, when the sun rises over the horizon, there is a brilliant white color, symbolizing the sathwic quality. Therefore, sunrise has three colors - black, red, and white - during one event! Then Bhagavan gave a second example of our eyeballs. Look into your eyes. There is the white color, the red color, and the black color there too. This also speaks of the three qualities present in the eyes.

OK, Bhagavan! I have all the three qualities present. Now what am I to do? Here is the answer: That which is extra or in excess will decide your personality. If sathwic quality is more than the other two, you are a sathwic man. If rajasic quality is more than these other two, youíre a rajasic man. So, it is only when the thamasic quality dominates these other two that youíre a thamasic man. That which is proportionately more in you decides your personality.

But even that could also be converted and transformed by personal effort to change. This effort is called sadhana (spiritual practices). Sadhana does not mean the physical strain of sitting straight. Any buffalo can do that! (Laughter) If sadhana cannot bring about change and transformation, then the sadhana activity done is only physical exercise. We are not here for physical exercises! There are gymnastics and acrobatics that are done in a gymnasium or sports field. That is not spirituality.

So, the result of spiritual sadhana or practice is transformation. One thing may be transformed into another. Thamasic becomes rajasic through action or karma. Rajasic becomes sathwic through bhakthi (devotion). Finally, a sathwic man can transcend all these three qualities through jnana or awareness! You should go beyond all these three qualities. That is also possible.

As there won't be a chance for some of you to come next week, Iíll just give a brief idea of what Bhagavan said within the shortest possible time. Why should you grow beyond these three qualities? "Is it not enough if I'm sathwic?" No, you should go beyond these three qualities. Why? Swami gave a few examples. You are chained by an iron chain, which is the thamasic quality. A silver chain is the rajasic quality. A gold chain is the sathwic quality. There is only change in the quality and the metal, but a chain is a chain.

So, there is every need to get out of these chains, whether is iron, silver, or gold. Bhagavan said that all three of these qualities are a sort of bondage. When once you transcend these three qualities, you are liberated. That is paradise, nirvana, and moksha. I will give more details on the transcendence of these three attributes or gunas next week.

Thank you very much!

(Anil Kumar closed his satsang by leading the bhajan, "Sai Narayana, 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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