Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at
September 30, 2001
The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
"How Am I?"
September 30th, 2001
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
We often hear from Bhagavan the question "Who am I?" Though the
question has been repeated time and again, we are not able to come
up with any answer, let alone actually experience who we really
As a prelude to this question "Who am I?" I feel that we should
investigate, explore, and understand the answer to two other
questions: "What am I?" and "How am I?" The ‘what’ and ‘how’ will
enable us to know "Who am I?" which is the last question. Last
week we answered the question "What am I?" This week we will
answer the second question. Hence, the title of this morning’s
talk is "How am I?" Am I living with awareness or with unawareness?
If I am thamasic by birth - dull, inert, passive, indifferent,
sleepy, lazy, and so on - is there a way out of it? If I am
rajasic, meaning emotional, passionate, energetic, aspiring, full
of ambition, full of activity, and full of desires (sometimes even
prohibited ones), is there any way to come out of it? If I am
sathwic - that is, if I am pious, balanced, having equanimity or a
balanced state of mind, purity, and knowledge - is that the 'be-all'
and 'end-all' or is there any state beyond that? So, we are going
to answer the question "How am I?" in two parts. The first part is
represented in this table (chart), and the second part is the
discussion about how to transform one quality into another.
We are human beings and God has given us an intellect with a sense
of discrimination, discretion, judgement, plus the spirit of
inquiry. This helps us to cross the existing state and reach the
next state. God has given us the way out also.
We’ll correlate it with Bhagavan’s discourses, as and when the
occasion arises. Needless to mention, this whole talk is developed
from Bhagavan’s series of discourses, given on the Bhagavad Gita
in the year 1984, and from the book He wrote, Gita Vahini. Swami’s
literature, Swami’s teachings, and the discourses form the basis
for every talk or session that we have been having over the past
Awareness of Our Selves
Now, how am I? Am I living in awareness or unawareness? Let me
inquire. Awareness of what? Awareness of my job? Am I aware of my
job? Yes, I'm very successful in my profession. Awareness of my
nationality? Am I aware of my nationality? Yes, it expresses
itself through my patriotic spirit. Awareness of academics? Am I
aware of my scholastic standing? Yes, I get through the
examinations with high grades. So, I have awareness of my
academics, my political position, my financial gains, my family,
and my society. But most unfortunately, I'm not aware of my own
Self. That is the tragedy!
Man is able to reach the moon, but he’s not able to reach within
himself. He can travel thousands and thousands of miles with the
help of spacecraft or a lunar module Apollo 12 or Apollo 13. He
spends billions and billions of dollars, only to collect a handful
of moon dust! After all that, he’s not able to go even one inch
within and therefore he’s not able to understand what he is. This
is what Bhagavan has said.
The seniors and elder brothers here must be recalling what I am
mentioning. You’ll recall the things stated by Bhagavan earlier in
His Divine discourses. He also said that man is very great. He has
advanced technologically and progressed scientifically. He can go
to the depth of the sea with the help of submarines. He can go to
the mountaintops, even to the highest mountaintop in the world,
Mount Everest. He can swim in water like a fish, and fly high in
the sky like a bird. However, he’s not able to walk like a human
being on earth with his two feet. He’s not able to reach within
himself. That is the tragedy of life.
We live with awareness of this world, but we are not living with
awareness of our Selves. I may be fine and well placed. Yet, left
to look or explore within myself, I'm impoverished and bankrupt.
Life is a lacuna. Life is a vacuum. Life is empty without the
awareness of one’s own Self. This is most important. We should
have this awareness of our inner life.
'B-M-I': Body, Mind and Intellect
What should we be aware of? We should be aware of life. What do
you mean by 'life'? Life has two parts. Bhagavan gives an example:
an orange or plantain (banana) fruit will have an outer covering,
called a rind or skin. This bitter rind covers and encloses the
sweet fruit inside. So also, life is composed of two parts. The
first is 'B-M-I' - Body, Mind, and Intellect. These three are
based on and composed or made up of the gunas or attributes.
Last week we dealt at length with the gunas or attributes. A
person is considered thamasic and bestial if he's violent, ready
to kill, hurt, or damage anybody. He is rajasic if he is highly
emotional, restless, and does not allow anybody to sit in silence.
It is an excellent example of restlessness if I interfere in every
matter and disturb the peace of others, besides disturbing my own
peace within myself. Being unruffled, having tranquility, a
balanced state of mind, purity, radiance, brilliance, and
awareness of knowledge is what we call the sathwic quality. Nero,
who continued to play on his violin even when the whole of Rome
was burning, is an outstanding example of this balanced sathwic
These three qualities (sathwic, rajasic, and thamasic) are present
in our system and in our total personality, comprising the body,
mind, and intellect. My behavior, talk, thoughts, conduct, and
inter-relationships are all based on these gunas, also known as
attributes, qualities, basic traits, or the substratum.
My friends, I think you’ll sympathize with me for using so many
words. I'm just struggling to help you to grasp these concepts.
That’s all. I am not being vain exhibiting my vocabulary. I know
my own limitations. This is not a class for exhibition of history,
talents, or scholarship. This is a study in togetherness and an
occasion for exchanging views. Nobody is superior to anybody There
is no listener or speaker. There is only the subject matter. The
Sai-in-you listens and the Sai-in-me speaks about Himself. Sai is
the only subject. This is what we call triputi, meaning 'trinity'
or 'unity'. This means that the listener, the speaker, and the
subject are all one and the same.
Therefore, in all humility, I may say that the 'B-M-I' or the
body, mind, and intellect, which constitute the human personality,
are based on the gunas. This is very well explained in Bhagavad
Gita, The Song Celestial, in chapter 14, entitled Gunatriya
Vibhaga Yoga. In that chapter, all the three attributes are
beautifully classified, excellently explained, scientifically
analyzed, and rationally put forth to you. They are explained
beyond any doubt, satisfying our investigation and exploration
into the human personality through logical reasoning, God has
reserved twelve slokas, numbered 6 to 18, to clearly explain these
three qualities or gunas.
Prakrithi or Nature
Body, mind, and intellect are instruments. We can also call them
all matter, Nature, or prakrithi in Sanskrit. From a philosophical
viewpoint, we can call them 'maya', meaning 'that which vanishes'.
The body is not permanent. The body is illusory, temporary,
ephemeral, and momentary. It is not eternal or permanent.
Therefore, anything that is made up of gunas or attributes is just
'matter', Nature, prakrithi or maya.
In the 14th chapter, 3rd sloka, God, in the form of Lord Krishna,
also calls that which is made up of gunas as moola prakrithi and
also madha, the earth. In addition, this body is also called a 'field'.
So, these are different names given to the same thing. Any of
these names might appeal to us, catching our attention, going down
deeply into our memory. God also is after variety, variety being
the spice of life! He doesn’t go hammering on inthe same manner or
style. God has His own Divine, unique, and special style of
communication skills. He uses so many words like 'matter', 'field',
Nature, prakrithi, maya, moola prakrithi, and madha, to indicate
that the human personality is made up of attributes or gunas.
My friends, if I spend all my life identifying with my body, mind,
intellect, and the qualities that I exhibit, I will be born again
and again. This is just the lifecycle. The fifth sloka clearly
says that you are in this eternal bondage, nibadhnanthi. You are
bound and chained because you think that you are the quality, the
guna. You limit yourself to the body, mind, and intellect. You
identify with matter. Therefore you're born again and again. This
is the first aspect of "How am I?"
No one wants to be born again and again. To quote Bhagavan Baba,
today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s waste paper. Nobody would like to
go through yesterday’s newspaper. I am born so that I will not be
born again. I die so that I will not die once again. This means
that I should cut off and end this lifecycle. There should be some
break at one stage or the other. We cannot be born again and again,
thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of times. I had a
number of births earlier, which I'm not aware of. Many births may
be kept in waiting. How long should I continue this lifecycle in
Lifecycle is nothing but misery. Every joy and pleasure we
experience will end up in misery or sadness since all the pleasure
we have is just momentary. It is only fleeting pleasure in
changing circumstances. Nothing on earth is permanent. Therefore,
we should aim for liberation. Liberation is also known as the 'Kingdom
of Heaven' (according to the Holy Bible), the state of Nirvana (according
to Buddhism), or Moksha (according to Hinduism). It is liberation,
according to all of us. We should get liberated out of this
bondage and be free from these three gunas. This is the second
aspect of "How am I?"
Transcendence of Qualities
What is the 'transcendence' of gunas? It means that you should
know you are not the quality, attribute, conduct, behavior,
thought, action, feeling, or perception which you are experiencing.
You are beyond every object, emotion, thought, perception, and
feeling. You go beyond the gunas. When once you know that you are
beyond 'B-M-I' (Body, Mind, Intellect), beyond 'P-F-T' (Perception,
Feeling, Thought), and beyond 'O-E-D' (Object, Emotion, Desire),
you will transcend the gunas. After all, you may behave like this,
but within your core you're not the qualities. No. You're beyond
them. How do we know that?
I don’t experience anything whatsoever when I lay down on the bed
and enjoy deep, sound sleep. My body is passive and my mind is in
an unconscious state when I sleep, while the cool breeze of the
ceiling fan keeps the mosquitoes off that night! In that deep
sleep state, I'm in a non-dual state. In that deep sleep, I have
no gunas, qualities, attributes, or experiences. I go beyond,
transcending my body, mind, and intellect.
The qualities of a person who is beyond attributes are explained
from slokas 22 to 25 in the 14th chapter. If I have transcended
the gunas, then I'm not thamasic nor will I be rajasic either.
Certainly not. Am I sathwic? It is doubtful. Then, what is the
advantage if I travel through and beyond all three gunas? (See how
we are business-minded, even in spirituality! Our main interest
today is how much capital is required and what pays the highest
rates of interest or dividends. We have forgotten to live in trust
and we have developed much interest in bank interest!)
Now I will bring your attention to what is the result and what
will happen when we transcend all attributes. The promise is given
and we are assured that we will attain nirvana, liberation,
paradise, or heaven - amritha masnuthe. God told this in sloka 20.
You may say, "No, I don’t want it!" All right, be in bondage! If
you think you are the body, mind, and intellect, then this is your
route, like transworld airlines! (Laughter) Or you may say, "No,
no! I want to go beyond the three gunas or attributes." Then this
is a different airlines route altogether! We have to choose
between one and the other.
What will happen when you transcend all gunas or attributes? I
told you the benefit, but what is the result? The result is that
you will experience that you exist beyond your body, mind, and
intellect. This is described as the real ‘I’. This real 'I' in you
is referred to by so many names – like God, energy, Atma, Brahman,
Paramatma, seed, and Father.
The Real ‘I’ is God
Bhagavan always says to ask yourself, "Who am I?" A woman says, "I
am a woman." A man says, "I am a man." ‘I’ is common for both, so
you are neither a man nor a woman. Then who are you? "I am a
lecturer." To be a lecturer is a profession, but you are not the
lecturer. "I am an Indian." India is the place you belong to, but
that is not you. You may say, "I'm quite a young man." Today you
are young. But after all, tomorrow you will have to sit on the
stone benches (reserved for old people), waiting for darshan!
So, who are you? You are not the age, the profession, the country,
or your gender. The real ‘I’ is what you call God, energy, Brahman,
Atma, or Paramatma. In the third sloka, it is called ‘seed'. In
the fourth sloka, it is referred to as ‘Father'. Even the "Lord’s
Prayer" says, ‘O Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.’
Jesus also called God as ‘Father'.
Where is this Father, the Divinity? The Holy Bible says, "The
Kingdom of Heaven is within you." The Kingdom of Heaven is not
located somewhere else, cut off geographically and in a different
place or plane. Therefore, that 'Heaven within me', that real ‘I’
in me, is beyond all gunas. It is what you call God, energy, Atma,
Brahman, Paramatma, seed, or Father.
What is the procedure now? Being chained to these gunas is nothing
but bondage. Such bondage creates the repeated cycle of birth and
death. By transcending the three gunas, one attains liberation or
All right! What is the way to travel from one state to the other?
Now I feel that I am limited, finite, and chained. How am I to go
from here to there? Man is chained by gunas, so how can he be set
free? When will a man in jail be released? He will be released as
soon as the period of punishment is over. Similarly, you can cut
off all these chains of gunas as soon as you know and experience
that you are beyond all attributes, that the 'real' you transcends
all the gunas. That experience is what we call 'awareness'.
Awareness is nothing but the transcendence of gunas or residing
beyond the gunas. That very awareness gives you liberation.
Devotion, mentioned in sloka 26, is the only way. It is clearly
said, "Bhakthi Yogena Sevathe." This means that you’ll certainly
reach this state of transcendence of gunas through the path of
devotion. It will make you totally liberated from this bondage of
repeating lifecycle after lifecycle. This is what is mentioned in
the 14th chapter, Gunatriya Vibhaga Yoga.
Now we pass onto another aspect. What is this transcendence? How
am I to recognize a person who says that he’s beyond the three
attributes? After all, it may be merely his claim. He may claim
that he has transcended the three gunas. However, to say that
itself means that he is still living within a guna, a very bad (rajasic)
guna! (Laughter) So, you should not say that. Who are you to say
that? Who are you to declare it? You have not transcended anything!
So, how am I to know a person who has transcended? Before I go to
that state of transcendence, let me tell you a beautiful
description that God has given to us regarding this aspect.
Action is Very Necessary
A thamasic personality is like this: "All right sir, I'm highly
violent. I'm full of hatred and jealousy. I am nothing but ego. I
feel happy even when others are unhappy. I may lose a chance, but
I'll be even happier when you lose a chance too! (Laughter) This
is my temperament. I'm utterly selfish. Let the whole world go.
However, it is enough if I am comfortable." This is what we call
the thamasic quality. It is better that no more is said about this
because we have too many samples and examples. Now, how to go
beyond this thamasic quality? The way to cross over this thamasic
mind is through karma or action. So, through action one can travel
beyond and convert the animality of thamasic quality into the
So there is no point in saying, "God has created me like this."
oh! But don't forget that God has also created action for you to
do to come out of it. Your convenient, what-can-I-do philosophy
won't apply here. We are people of excellent convenience, not
people of conviction. Conviction is more required than convenience
or escapism. Some people want to escape by saying, "Baba is
responsible for this. What can I do?" What if I say, "Oh! Baba
told me that you have to do something." Now, what do you say?
There are some people who come and tell me, "Swami appeared in my
dream and wanted me to tell you this." What? That I should jump
into the Chitravati River! (Laughter) Oh, I see. In that case I
have to tell him, "Swami appeared in my dream and told me not to
listen to you! (Laughter) He also told me to ignore and be away
from you as much as possible! He told me that you’re a dunce and a
fool with whom I cannot mingle any longer! You are in dreamland.
Don’t push me into that merry land or dreamland. Let me be on this
normal human land!"
The point is that action is very, very necessary. It is not
imagination. It is not mere scholarship, bookish knowledge, or
superficial knowledge. It is not a hypothesis or anything that is
illusionary. You will be having a thamasic mind if you don’t do
anything. That’s why Swami insists that everyone should do
something or the other, whatever one's age or language. You should
do whatever you can.
"I can't do anything now! I am above eighty years. What shall I
do?" At least you can speak in an encouraging way to another
person. Or you can tell a person who is depressed, "Don’t worry,
my man! I had a number of days like this. I didn’t reach this
stage because my life was always green! Oh no! My life has never
been a bed of roses. I, too, had the pinch of thorns. Don’t worry,
my dear young man. You’ll have good days in the future."
Suppose that one person is very much depressed because Swami did
not give him an interview. We should go and tell them, "Don’t
worry. When He does not give you an interview, He may appear
somewhere or send some message. You will feel His inner voice
within. You’ll feel His Presence when you read His books. Don’t
worry." But we should not go and tell him, "I had fifty
interviews. I am sorry to know that you didn’t even have one!"
(Laughter) This is the thamasic mind. There’s no doubt about it.
We should encourage people and help them to come out of depression
and frustration. We should make their life really positive. At one
time Baba Himself said, "If I give an interview and talk with you,
there ends the matter. It is finished. But if I don’t give you an
interview, I will follow you to your house. Yes! I will come to
Australia, Africa, or wherever you are. I will follow you to your
doorstep until you go in. But if I give you an interview, Hari Om
Tat Sath, there ends the matter!" (Laughter) Which do you want
now? Shall we have Him until we go home or shall we say goodbye
So, my friends, these are the examples that should come to our
mind. We should not get depressed or frustrated. We should help
our brethren also to be enthusiastic and happy and not to allow
them to get dissatisfied on silly grounds. Hence, even if I cannot
do any other action or work, at least I can say a few encouraging
words of solace, sympathy, and empathy. We can manifest these
qualities of sympathy, friendship, concern, care, love, and
friendship. At least I can do that! Therefore, some activity or
karma yoga will make you leave this thamasic mind.
Action is Necessary for Purity
This karma yoga will help you. If you go through Sai literature,
you will find that Swami repeats this quotation, this stanza, this
beautiful sentence again and again: "Chithasya Suddaye Karma." It
means that action is necessary for the purity of the mind. I did
not get a diploma in dishwashing and go to the canteen to clean
all the vessels just for the fun of it. No. Such activity helps me
to have purity of mind and thought. I might go and help in the
stores or to do some service in the hospital, but all of these
services I do only for my own purity. So, the field of action will
help us to come out of sleep, slumber, and dullness and move into
the next state, rajasic.
I am giving references from the Bhagavad Gita, as they are
absolutely necessary. I'm sure that all of you have copies of it.
This will help us. My friends, I can better understand the Bible
and the Bhagavad Gita after going through Sai literature. I can be
a better Hindu and a better Christian after being exposed to Sai
literature. Sai literature will help us to have a better
understanding and a higher level of practice. The zenith or climax
of this is the experience of bliss. I'm giving you these
references, keeping this in mind.
In the 6th chapter, 3rd sloka it is said, "Yogam Karma Karana
Muchyathe." What does this mean? It means that karma, the field of
action, is the reason, the path for yogam or attainment or the
correct spiritual path. So, the field of action is the correct
spiritual path to follow in order to come out from this thamasic
level to the rajasic level, as said in the Bhagavad Gita.
Bhagavan says one more point here. I'm sure that you’ll certainly
appreciate it when I give instances from Sai literature because
the purpose of these sessions, the study circle here, is to
interrelate and correlate Sai literature and the sacred texts in a
practical way, in a way that we can conveniently and easily
practice. That is the purpose of this study class here.
Bhagavan goes one step further. What does He say? Before starting,
a lorry driver sits on the seat, places both his hands on the
steering wheel and salutes, paying his respects to the vehicle.
Before a dancer on the dais starts dancing, she pays her respect
to that ground. A man, who plays on a tabla, the mrdanga, or drum
will first salute those instruments. Why? "Oh God! I thank you for
this opportunity, this field of activity that You have given to
me. Please help me to be successful in this operation." That’s why
Swami repeats a number of times in His discourses, "Tasmay Namah
Karmani." It means, "My salutations, respects, and obeisances to
karma, the field of action, given to me."
So my friends, here is a summary. To come out of the thamasic
quality, in order to purify the mind, karma yoga or participation
in the field of action is prescribed. Developing a respectful and
reverential attitude towards the field of action does this. For
example, I'm a teacher. Teaching is the activity given to me by
Bhagavan. You are an engineer. It is the karma or action given to
you to do by God. You are a doctor: God has given you this mission
of practicing medicine as a field of action or karma. We should
each have a respectful and reverential attitude towards our karma.
I should not say, "I feel so badly and sorry for being born a
teacher. I should have been not less than a District Collector!" A
doctor should never feel, 'It is unfortunate that I'm a doctor. I
should have been the Chief Minister of a State.' A businessman
should not feel, 'How awful that I'm a businessman! I should have
been at least the Prime Minister of this country!'
While doing my job as a teacher, if a student comes to me with a
doubt, I should not say, "I have no time, my boy! Don’t you know
my timings? Can't you see me on a previously arranged appointment?
What a dull-headed fellow you are!" Tsk, tsk! It is a shame to the
profession to be discourteous and ill mannered. To do this is
utterly disrespectful, hostile, abhorrent, and incorrigible to the
profession, vocation, calling, and mission given to us by God.
When I have the spirit of Love and salute my job, when I'm
respectful, reverential, and have adoration and admiration for my
job, that is what is called karma yoga. Karma, the job, the
action, becomes yoga, a spiritual practice and a Divine path. Yoga
means connection, establishing a link between an individual with
the Cosmos or God. Karma yoga establishes a communion and a
communication. It is a vehicle, making a connecting link between
the individual and God, the Cosmos, the Supreme Soul, the Cosmic
Soul, or the Divine Consciousness.
It is not yoga just to earn a salary to buy my bread and eke out
my living. If I work for one or two hundred thousand dollars per
year or ten thousand rupees per month, it is just earning my
living. That’s all. It is not a spiritual practice. If you do it
with Love, it becomes karma yoga. That’s the reason Baba said:
Duty with Love is desirable.
Duty without Love is deplorable.
Love without duty is Divine.
You can understand now how karma yoga can help to take us from
thamasic to rajasic field.
I think you’ll certainly excuse me for being a typical teacher.
Old habits die hard! It doesn't matter. Given the chance, I want
to be born again as a teacher any number of times. This is because
I derive the greatest joy from sharing what little knowledge I
have. I am not interested in filling my pockets with money. I
believe in the sound of the voice rather than the sounds of coins!
Now, the next step comes - how to travel from rajasic to sathwic
nature. Karma, action, helps us to come out of thamasic quality,
which is sleep and slumber. Then we develop the qualities of a
rajasic man. I become active, full of desire, energy, bustling,
and full of enthusiasm, dynamism, emotion, hope, promise,
endeavor, and pursuit. A young man should be rajasic. Swami
Vivekananda gave lectures to the youth of this country, saying
that they should have this raja yoga. This rajasic mind, the mind
of activity, dynamism, and leadership is necessary for youngsters.
That becomes raja yoga.
It is labeled selfishness if it is merely profit-oriented emotion
or energy to kill or hurt the interests of other people. It is
selfishness if it is leadership only to pursue one’s own prospects
in life. Rajasic mind in a positive line is called raja yoga and
it is useful. Rajasic mind in the negative case is bondage and
exists as such as long as I drown myself helplessly in the state
The Path of Devotion
How to come out of this rajasic mind? The path of bhakti,
devotion, will help us to come out of this rajasic mind. Somebody
asked, "How should you do an action?" I'm a lecturer now, teaching
very happily. Supposing someone says, "Anil Kumar, you are not
required to teach from tomorrow." I should be equally happy. If
I'm happy only by talking like this throughout, it is bondage. It
is bondage, however successful I am and however solicited my
services may be. However, because I'm a teacher, I'm attached to
my profession. So, if someone were to say, "We don’t want you
anymore," I would feel the pain. So, let me not be attached to my
Suppose that I’m doing some service in the Mandir. Suddenly
someone says, "You are not required. Someone else is appointed in
your place." If I start crying about it and sharing my tears with
others, it will make the whole world miserable. If the heavens
seem to fall when I'm shifted from this responsibility, it is
bondage. Do your duties, but be ready to quit or drop them. Do not
get attached. That is called raja yoga.
Let us say that I'm in charge of the seating arrangements. It is
attachment if I want to look after the seating arrangements until
I go to the grave! (Laughter) So I should say, "All right, I'm
ready to quit. If you want to substitute someone else, it is all
for the better and I welcome it. I'm so happy. I'm not attached to
my job. I do it because it is given to me to do by God."
God has got every liberty to withdraw my duty from me at any time.
One cannot say, "God! You have given me this work and I’ll do it
even if You say, 'No!' " If you were to say that, He would
immediately ask a few Seva Dal people to come and remove you! So
the point is, let us not be dislodged forcefully. Let us be ready
to quit at anytime.
King Janaka was that type. He was ready to rule his kingdom, yet
he was also ready even to renounce it. Be attached to being
detached. Desire to be desireless. Yes. Do, but be ready to quit
or to drop at anytime. That is what is called raja yoga. This is
possible only through the path of devotion or what is called
Regarding this, Bhagavad Gita mentions certain points very
clearly. "Bhakthi Reva Gariyasi." This means that bhakthi or
devotion is the only path.Rajasic threads are closely interwoven,
weaving the cloth or the very makeup of the human mind. Therefore,
to come out of this rajasic mentality, this emotional bent or
framework of mind, bhakthi is the only way.
Attain Knowledge Only By Following Devotion
We think that we’ll have Jnanam or supreme knowledge only by
reading books or listening about it. This is utterly and totally
wrong! We think knowledge means scholarship. That is also totally
false. That which is born out of action and experience is real
Jnanam. It is not merely read out from books collected on a
bookshelf. You may be an expert, having gone through all the books
available in the library. You may carry a headload of books. Yet,
it is the life of a donkey!
I'm sure that some of you may feel offended if I say this!
Bhagavan Himself has said, "If there is no experience, the man of
scholarship is like a donkey." How is that? A donkey carries heaps
of sandalwood on its back, but it does not know the fragrance or
smell of the sandalwood. Similarly, a person may have read about
the supreme knowledge from the books, which are piled on his back
like on a donkey's. However, just from reading about it, he does
not have any actual experience, which is the fragrance or the
essence of the stuff contained in those books.
Therefore, the Bhagavad Gita says, "Bhakthyat Jnanam Prajayath."
What does it mean? "My dear boy! You can acquire Jnanam or
knowledge only by following the path of devotion." Why is this?
Devotion gives you the experience. Without devotion, knowledge is
equal to a computer. It is merely remembered and recorded like on
a CD, floppy, or on an audiocassette. To have the actual
experience, I need bhakthi or devotion. This will help you to come
to the sathwic mind.
So to repeat again, karma will help us to come out of thamasic
mind and get into rajasic mind. Then devotion or bhakthi will help
us to travel from rajasic mind to sathwic mind, which is the pious
or balanced state of mind.
Now we come to the third level, the sathwic mind. (I'm not tired
to repeat any number of times that these remarks are all collected
from Bhagavan’s discourses only.) A sathwic state of mind is
pious, equal-minded, tranquil, and undisturbed. However, sathwic
is not the 'be-all' and 'end-all'. I'm sure some of you will
remember that last week I said all these three are like chains.
Thamasic mind is an iron chain. Rajasic mind is a silver chain and
sathwic mind is a golden chain. A chain is a chain. The difference
is only in regard to the metal. Even if it is a gold chain, I'm
chained or bound, and therefore not free. So, due to this bondage
I'm unhappy. My unhappiness will disappear when once I am
When I am unchained, I am liberated. "Sir, I'm going to chain you
with a golden chain." I should respond, "Please keep it to
yourself. I don’t want it!" So even a sathwic mind is bondage, a
restriction, a sort of obsession or construction, and hence an
obstacle. We should get out of bondage of any sort. That is
possible only by acquiring actual Jnana.
Jnanam or the path of wisdom is the only way that will help us to
also come out of the sathwic mind. You may ask, "Ah! Beyond this
where will I go?" You will go to a state that is attributeless,
beyond the three gunas. 'Guna theetha' means 'the one who
transcends the three qualities'.
Viveka Chudamani is a very interesting book, composed by Adi
Shankara. It mentions one important point: "Jnana Eva Thu
Kaivalyam." This means that Jnana is the only path to liberation.
The Bhagavad Gita also says this. You may be wondering what Jnana
is. Jnana is nothing but awareness. Awareness is Jnana. How am I?
Am I with Jnana, with awareness, or not? Am I aware of what it is
or not? That is important.
In the 4th chapter, 38th sloka, the Bhagavad Gita further clearly
says, "Nahi Jnanena Sadrusan Pavithramiha Vidyathe." This means
that nothing equals Jnana or Wisdom. Of all the forms of
knowledge, Jnanam is the topmost, supreme, most sacred, highest,
noblest, most coveted, and most desirable one. By acquiring that
knowledge, you can go beyond the three states of mind (the
sathwic, rajasic, and thamasic) and then go to that 'guna theetha'
nature, the attributeless state.
The Highest State: You and I Are One
When Bhagavan recently canceled padanamaskars (the touching of His
Feet), He made a wonderful statement. Baba declared, "Why
padanamaskar? After all, you and I are One. When you and I are
One, there is no point in doing padanamaskar to Me." That is the
highest level of Consciousness.
I cry because I have not gone to that state. I am frustrated
because I have no awareness. I am disappointed because I do not
know who I am. I go on complaining that padanamaskars are
cancelled because I do not know the answers to questions like,
"What am I?" and "How am I?" and "Who am I?" I do not know what
this ‘I’ is. Therefore, I complain. I have got my own grudge. I
have got my own psychology acting negatively against me.
Therefore my friends, you and I are One. This is the highest
state. It is 'guna theetha', the attributeless state. When once
you go beyond the three attributes, you are 'guna theetha'. It is
only at that level that you can say, with full experience behind
you that, "You and I are One." It refers to someone who has
transcended all three levels of the mind, all three states of
expression of human psychology, sociology, or parapsychology.
That’s what Jesus Christ said finally on the cross: "I and my
Father in Heaven are One." That identity of the individual with
the Universal, of the single entity with the Divinity, is possible
only when once one crosses over the three attributes, reaching the
state of 'guna theetha'.
Finally, in the statement in the 7th chapter, 18th sloka He says,
"Jnanethwath Maiwa Me Matham." This means that Jnana, the Supreme
Knowledge, will help you to feel Oneness with God or Divinity: "I
and you are One." That is "Aham Brahmasmi," "I am Brahman." Not
only that! "Tat Twam Asi", which means that God and you are one
and the same - "That Thou Art." "Ayam Atma Brahma," as Bhagavan
says, means, "I am Atma Brahma." This is the highest, supreme
state of Consciousness, which we attain when once we transcend the
three gunas, according to the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavan’s
Now we are left with one or two minutes more time. I am also sure
that you don’t mind being here for an extra few minutes. Those who
feel restless are welcome to go. Let us welcome people to go also!
So this is the conclusion of "What am I?" and "How am I?" as
answered in the 14th chapter. Finally the question "Who am I?"
comes now. Earlier we did not know the answers to the first two
questions. But now that we know these answers, the "Who am I?"
question can be easily known.
The Qualities of One Who is Beyond the Three Attributes
The 14th chapter beautifully describes this transcendence. This is
very important. (My friends, you will also find out for yourself
if there are any false claims.) One should transcend. One should
cross over all the three attributes. How can we identify
transcendence? Is it a claim, a matter of identification,
discovery, invention, or an explanation? Certainly not! What is
it? It is an experience. That experience becomes an expression.
That which is latent becomes patent. That which is hidden becomes
apparent and conspicuous.
Who is the man who has transcended these three attributes? Is it a
man in ochre robes with long hair? Certainly not! Is it a man
holding a japamala talisman? No! Instead one should beware of him!
(Laughter) So, how can I know who has genuinely transcended? The
Bhagavad Gita clearly explains this in the 14th chapter, slokas 22
to 25. I’ll give you a summery here, if not a repetition of the
Some people say, "Sir, Anil Kumar, I have come here and I have no
more attachments." Oh! I did not ask you whether you’re attached
or detached. Why should I be interested in your attachments? Let
me detach myself from you! (Laughter) This is not the important
thing, I tell you! My friends, those who declare to you, claiming
that they're detached, are 'Bogus No. 1'. Beware of them! They are
living with false notions and they will also throw us into the
river of illusion. You have to know for yourself where you stand.
It is not for me to declare where I stand. It is not for you to
promote or glorify me. No! It is just a self-evaluation, a
self-assessment, and a Self-discovery.
The First Four Qualities
The first quality of transcendence is nadweshti, meaning 'he has
no hatred'. He does not hate anybody. Nevertheless, we often hear,
"I cannot tolerate if you sit by my side or touch me." (Laughter)
Can you say that they have transcended the three gunas? I leave it
to you to decide!
Next, the second quality of transcendence is nakankshthi, meaning
'he has no desire'. However, we often observe the opposite. "Let
me try to pull you down, so that I can get into your position. Let
me see you defeated. Let me see that you become unpopular and
useless, so that I can step into your shoes." Tsk, tsk! This is
The third quality is udasenawath or 'being unaffected'. Let us say
that one day something like this happens: "Sir! You are discharged
from your duty. You have been doing very well. Thank you! But your
services are not required anymore. Here is your pink (discharge)
slip." One should feel happy, even while receiving these pink
slips. One should not be attached to anything.
The fourth quality is samaduka sukham, 'being equal-minded'. He
does not clap and draw everybody’s attention to himself the moment
he gets a chance to saying, "Do you know that Baba gave me this
service?" Why should I know? (Laughter) This is cheap publicity,
popularity, and vanity. "Do you know I'm in charge of that
service?" Oh! Let me know when you are going to be discharged!
(Laughter) See that! So, pomp, show, self-praise, and
self-aggrandizement should not be there.
When I'm asked to quit my post, if I consider the whole world
utterly miserable and totally hopeless, then I have not gone
beyond limitations. I am not equal-minded. We should have
equal-mindedness. When you are given this job you say, "Thank you,
God!" When you’re asked to go, you say, "Double thanks to You. Now
I can think of You more." Yes! If I'm discharged from the duty, I
can think of You more. Instead of cleaning the vessels, let me
clean myself. Instead of teaching, let me teach unto myself.
Instead of making others sit, let me sit calmly. So, everything is
positive. This is samaduka sukham, equal-mindedness.
Fifth Quality: Stone and Gold Are Equal
The fifth quality is samalashtasna kanchana, which means
'considering stone and gold as equal'. Somebody brought many gold
pens to Bhagavan. We were ready to receive them! (Laughter) I
picked up some courage and told Swami, "Gold pens are there,"
thinking that He would give me one, if not all! Then do you know
what He said? "Do you want gold pens? Collect them directly from
the one who brought them." I tried again, "No, Swami! Gold pens!"
He answered, "Gold pens, ball pens, or ink pens, I don’t want any.
I don’t prefer them just because they are gold pens." Swami gives
no extra value to gold.
We have three chariots for Swami’s use, one made of gold, another
of silver, and the last one made of wood. The organization people
brought the wooden chariot. Swami immediately climbed up, sat
there, and rode from the Poornachandra Auditorium up to the
Mandir. Then Swami got down, walked slowly and stood in front of
me. Swami asked, "Why are you staring like that?" l said, "Swami!
When You have a golden chariot and a silver chariot, why did You
use the wooden chariot?" He said, "Shh! Keep quiet! Whether it is
wood, silver or gold, all are equal to Me. I'm not bothered about
which material it is made from. I go by the spirit."
Therefore, the man who has crossed the three qualities considers
stone and gold alike. Bhagavan Himself said, "The costliest thing
in the world is a diamond and the diamond is nothing but
'die-mind'. 'Die-mind' is the real diamond, not simply that
stone." So, stone and gold are equal to Him.
Sixth Quality: Nothing Pleasant or Unpleasant
The sixth quality is thulapriya priya, which means that one
considers pleasant and unpleasant as the same. According to our
standards, some people do pleasant things and others do unpleasant
things. However, God loves all equally. God remains the same in
pleasant and unpleasant situations. "Swami, it is raining!" "Very
good." "Swami, what a bright day!" "Wonderful!" "Swami, my leg has
broken!" "Chaala santhoshan! Very happy, very good!" (Laughter)
"Swami, my grandmother died." "Very nice." That’s all. There is
nothing like pleasant or unpleasant because at His level, all are
"Swami! A gentleman gave You one hundred crores of rupees!" "Oh,
OK." "Swami! That fellow is here for the last two months, just
eating food for free and not doing any work." "Very good, very
happy!" You are saved whether you give one hundred crores or not
because He’s not carried away by crores. He considers all the
same. He has no distinctions of pleasant or unpleasant.
Seventh and Eighth Qualities: Heroic and Equal In Censure and
The seventh quality is being heroic or dheera. "Swami, You
announced that a hospital costing three hundred crores will be
built. You furthersaid that it would be inaugurated next year.
There are no funds or no money in the Trust!" His response: "Don’t
worry. It will come on its own." Here is another example.
"Bhagavan! You cannot start a University in Anantapur. It is
impossible because Krishnadevaraya University is already near to
this proposed site. There is a rule, which states that another
University cannot be started within the radius of twenty
kilometers of an already-existing university. The University
Grants Commission will not give its approval for another
University here in this location." His response: "No. I will have
it built here. You will see." That is the heroic quality, dheera.
Yes, He is a Hero, while we are a zero! (Laughter) We are typical
zeros and He’s a typical Hero.
The eighth quality is thulyaninda sthuthi, 'equal in censure and
praise'. Bhagavan Himself said, "I'm not happy when some people
praise Me. I'm not unhappy when others criticize Me. If you say,
‘Baba! You’re compassionate,’ I'm not made more happy because I'm
already compassionate. Or, ‘Baba, You’re so kind!’ To say this is
not praise, a compliment, or a certificate of merit. Kindness is
My quality. Compassion is My Nature. Those things are already in
Me. I don’t get specially happy when they are stated."
Suppose somebody says, "You are a lecturer, Anil Kumar!" It is not
praise. I have been a lecturer for the last forty years.
Therefore, I'm not carried away by your praises. If you say,
"Swami, You are unkind, ruthless, uncompassionate, and very
cruel," Swami would answer, "I am not unhappy because those
qualities you are listing are not in Me." You won’t feel offended
when certain qualities are listed which are not in you. You won’t
feel egoistic when certain things are mentioned which are already
Swami once said, "Why should I be offended if someone says, ‘Oh
Baba! You have a mop of hair!’ It is true: I have a lot of hair.
I'm not offended if someone says, ‘Swami! You are bald-headed’
because I'm not bald." When what is in you is stated, you don’t
feel it is praise. When what is not in you is stated, you won't be
offended. This is what we mean by ‘equal in censure and praise.’
Ninth and Tenth Qualities: No Friend or Enemy, No Honor or
Then, the ninth quality is mithrari pakshiyo, 'having no friend
and no enemy'. Bhagavan went to Kerala once. There were a number
of Communists there, holding red flags. Somebody said, "Swami!
They’re all Communists. Don’t go there." "Why?" "They don’t like
God." "So what?" "They hate God." "Then what?" "Don’t go!" "I will
go!" That’s it. Whether devotees or non-devotees, Communists,
Leftists, or opportunists, whatever they may be, He considers them
all the same. Who is a Communist? According to Swami, ‘Come-next’
is ‘Communist.’ He comes next to Swami, so he’s a Communist. Most
of the Communists are Communist in namesake only. Their wives,
their 'better half', are Baba devotees, true to the word!
So the point is, He’s not carried away by anyone. He has no friend
and no enemy. Someone may say, "Swami, You are partial to him."
Or, "He seems to be your enemy." Swami will only answer, "Check up
on your eyesight. Examine your psychology."
The tenth quality is manavamanoyo thulyaha, which means 'being
unaffected by honor or dishonor'. A beautiful, decorated, special
throne was kept on the dais when Bhagavan visited Sivam in
Hyderabad. It was exalted, being at least a few feet in its
height. But instead of sitting on this fancy chair, Baba sat on
the floor on the steps! So there’s nothing high or low for Him.
On another occasion, some time ago there was a congregation of
many renunciates, sanyasins, and sadhus here at Prashanti Nilayam.
There was a presidential chair for Bhagavan, but He did not sit on
it. He sat in their midst, on the floor of the stage. There is
nothing like higher or superior for Him. He is the same in honor
or dishonor. So, you may honor Him or dishonor Him, but He will
not be affected.
I will give one example. If you throw a fistful of sand towards
the sun, what will happen? It will fall down back into your own
eyes! That’s all. If you stand close to smoke, you will get your
eyes burnt. However, nothing will happen to the smoke. Similarly,
when you honor God, you are honored. When you dishonor Him, you
are dishonored. This is because your life centers around these
three - reaction, reflection, and resound.
Eleventh Quality: Abandon All Action
The last (eleventh) quality is that of 'abandoning all action',
sarvarambhi parityagi. There were the big Birthday functions here,
which many people attended. The next morning, Bhagavan calmly,
nicely, silently, in a dignified way, in an unnoticed way, without
anybody coming to know, left Puttaparthi in the early hours at
4:30 AM. When we came here for darshan at 6:30, we were at a loss
to know where He was. "Where is Swami?" "He left at 4:30." "Oh!"
He’s not attached. He did not hang on just because there was a big
celebration with lakhs of people. He did not stay on for
appreciation. There was no elation or jubilation due to the
celebration. He simply went. That’s all! He abandoned all action.
He abandons all action because He’s sathwic and not attached.
Sarvarambhi parityagi means He's ready to abandon every action.
My friends! These are the eleven features or qualities of a person
who has crossed beyond the three attributes, 'guna theetha'. The
wonderful 14th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, "Gunatriya Vibhaga
Yoga", excellently answers the two questions, "What am I? and "How
Thank you very much.
God Bless you!
Thank you very much!
(Anil Kumar closed his satsang by leading the bhajan, "Bhaja Mana
© Anil Kumar Kamaraju 2004 - Here
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