Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Articles

  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
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 are.

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 years.

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 state.

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 misery?

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 moksha.

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 rajasic quality.

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 here?

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 of selfishness.

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 action.

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 bhakthi.

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 released.

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 discourses.

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 entire thing.

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 not desirelessness!

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 the same.

"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 Praise

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 in you.

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 Dishonor

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 am I?"

Thank you very much.

God Bless you!

Thank you very much!

(Anil Kumar closed his satsang by leading the bhajan, "Bhaja Mana 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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