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  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
September 29, 2002

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

Dasara - Part 2

September 29th, 2002


Sai Ram.

My humble Pranams
at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Yagna Confers Bliss

Sai Ram. This is the second talk on Dasara -- the significance of Dasara, the importance of a yagna and so on. I thought it necessary to understand these things before the celebration so that we can effectively and meaningfully participate in it, rather than be silent spectators. That kind of participation will not help us in any way. We should have some knowledge of Dasara, the purpose of a yagna, the aim of a yagna and the process of a yagna, so that we can appreciate it and reap the benefits of Dasara.

Why is a yagna to be held? Why should a yagna be conducted? Why? Is it necessary every year? What is the purpose behind it? How long will it last? The priests gather around six o’clock in the morning and carry on until eleven thirty AM. They assemble again in the evening around five and carry on until six-thirty PM. What’s it all about? The answer is simple. A yagna confers bliss. Everyone wants to be blissful. Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone wants to be comfortable, safe and secure. To ensure this, a yagna is conducted every year during the Dasara Celebration.

Our Life Is a Yagna

The second advantage of a yagna is that one can experience the Self, the true Self, which is not the body, the mind, or the intellect. By performing a yagna, one experiences the real ‘me’ or the true ‘I’. Although a yagna is celebrated or conducted once every year, truly speaking, our whole life is a yagna.

The yagna that is conducted once a year is just symbolic. Though the unfurling of the national flag takes place only on Independence Day, we honour the flag every day, right? Though a yagna is held only once a year, it actually takes place throughout the year. Our life is a yagna. How is that? All of our duties, responsibilities and obligations constitute the sacrificial fire. Into this sacrificial fire of our responsibilities, our very life - our very living - is an offering. Our whole life is a yagna. So yagna is not merely for a short span of time during the month of October.

Thirdly, the yagna takes us out of misery and towards bliss. By participating in the yagna, by watching the yagna, the ones who never knew how to smile, the ones who never knew how to laugh, the ones who never knew how to be happy can come out of their misery and their life will be blissful. The yagna helps us to relieve pain, so there will be pleasure in our life. A yagna takes us away from the darkness of ignorance towards the light of knowledge. So, a yagna is multidimensional. A yagna has so many objectives and purposes. It is not merely a ritual. It has an underlying spiritual significance.

A Yagna Is an Act of Sacrifice

A yagna is nothing but an act of sacrifice. It is the search for the redemption of human life. The redemption of human life means the experience of God within. That is the goal and the whole purpose of a yagna. The Veda defines all the procedures and rituals for the performance of a yagna. The Veda is the most ancient spiritual scripture. This Veda also has another name - Chandas. What is the meaning of Chandas? Chandas means ‘bliss’. We commonly think that Chandas means ‘meter’. In layman’s terminology, Chandas can be defined as the grammar for poetry. Most of the poets compose poems based on the rules of the ‘meter’ (Chandas). However, the etymology or the root meaning of Chandas is ‘bliss’. So, the Veda that speaks of the yagna guarantees and ensures bliss to everybody.

The Greatest Bondage Is Ignorance of the Self

Yagna also helps us to remove bondage. What is this bondage? We think bondage is our family, our property, industries, factories, plants, mansions, children, grandchildren, jewellery, position, authority, etc. We think these are all bondage. Certainly not!

The greatest and the real bondage is ignorance of the Self -- unawareness of the Self. If I do not know my true identity, I am in the worst kind of bondage. I may be a sanyasi, unmarried. That doesn’t mean I am a man of realisation. I may be unmarried for reasons best known to me. To save the life of one woman, I may remain unmarried! (Laughter) That does not mean that I have done the greatest sacrifice in this world - certainly not! Therefore, my friends, what is bondage? A wife and children are never bondage. Certainly not.

Many people think that by remaining unmarried, by remaining a celibate, they are free from bondage. I want you to think seriously for a few seconds now. One man wants to get married and another man does not want to marry. A simple point. But for both, marriage is the subject.

One says, “I don’t want.” What is it that he does not want? Marriage. The other fellow says, “I want.” What does he want? Marriage. So, marriage is the subject, whether one accepts or rejects it. Both of these fellows have a common subject. Am I clear? So, marriage is indulgence in the case of the person who wants to get married, and it is transcendence for the other who does not want to marry. To one person it’s transcendence, while to another person it is indulgence. Both persons - hopeless! (Laughter)

Bondage Is Inside

Marriage has nothing to do with bliss or spirituality. Why? Until and unless we are free from the inner bondage, there is no other way for redemption. There is no other way for liberation. There is no other way for salvation. There is no other way for Nirvana or Moksha.

Bondage is not outside. Bondage is inside. Let us understand. If the bondage is outside, it is very easy to get out of it. If my family is the bondage, then early in the morning, around four o’clock, I can get up and run away from here (with my bank passbook, of course)! No, no that won’t solve the problem. If my properties are the bondage, I can simply sell them, turn it into cash and run away, right?

So my friends, the real bondage is the bondage within. What is that bondage? The feeling that ‘I am the body’ is the real bondage. The thought that ‘I am the mind’ is the real bondage. The feeling that ‘I am the intellect’ is the real bondage. Identification with the body is the biggest, most hopeless and heaviest bondage. So, bondage is inside. Until I am free from the bondage within, I am unfit for the spiritual path

How to get free from this bondage? That process is a yagna. The process of finding out one’s own true identity, the process of experiencing one’s own reality - one’s own Self - is a yagna. So, when you sit calmly, quietly and peacefully, ask yourself, “Who am I?”

Start by asking, “Am I the body?” “No.”

“Am I the mind?” “No”.

“Am I the intellect?” “Certainly not.”

“Who am I?”

“I am the Self.”

Until you experience the Self, you proceed along this path of Self-inquiry. That is a yagna. Is that clear?

A Yagna is God

There are certain Sanskrit words that convey one important idea. What is it? God is everything. God creates, God sustains, and God destroys. G-O-D: Generator, Organizer, and Destroyer. Similarly, the concept of the yagna is that everything is Divine. The process of a yagna is Divine. The doer is Divine. The One to whom the offerings are made is Divine. A yagna is for God; a yagna is by God; a yagna is of God. Using Abraham Lincoln’s famous words: ”…a government of the people, for the people and by the people”. So a yagna is God. It is for God, and the material is of God. So this concept is explained by these three words.

Vishnu Has Three Dimensions

Vishnovai Vishnuh -- what does it mean? God is the Master. The whole yagna is to please Him. The whole yagna is to earn His blessings, to earn His Divine benediction, to earn His Divine grace. So Vishnovai Vishnuh means God is the Yagna Purusha. Yagna Purusha means the main object, the main subject, or the main version – in short, the Divinity.

To please the Divine, we conduct a yagna. The Yagna Purusha is Vishnu. What is the meaning of Vishnu? ‘All pervasive’ -- the One who is everywhere is called Vishnu. To sum it all up in one sentence, Vishnuvai Vishnuh conveys one simple idea: He is the Creator, He is the Veda, He is the process of the yagna and He is the master of the yagna, the One who is called Vishnu. I think I am clear.

The second concept is that Vishnu has another name -- Yagna Bhruth, meaning master of the yagna. (These are all details collected from Sai literature, not from conventional texts, no, no. This is straight from Swami’s Divine discourses.)

In the process of a yagna, there are three dimensions to Lord Vishnu. What are these three dimensions? One is the essential text, meaning the procedure. The second aspect is the doer, and the third aspect is the One to whom the offerings are made - the receiver. As giver, doer, and receiver, all the three aspects of Vishnu are seen, adored and experienced in this yagna.

The first aspect is Vishnovai Vishnuh, the giver. He is the Master. He is also called Yagna Bhruth. God is the Master. Let me not think that I am conducting this yagna, that I am organizing this yagna, meaning that I am the master and I am the leader - no, no. That is the physical interpretation. That is the worldly understanding. That gives no results at all. That takes us nowhere. We should have the feeling that God is the giver, that God is the Master, Yagna Bhruth.

Then comes Yagna Kruth: God is the doer; I am not the doer. “Oh God, You are the giver, You are the doer, and You are the Master. I am nobody.” Do you think that we are doing anything? No. Left to us, we are not capable of doing anything. Of course, mistakes we may make. (Laughter) But left on our own, we are not capable of doing anything worthwhile, particularly a spiritual activity. Any pilgrimage or sacrifice or charity we do because of the Divine prompting from within.

Brothers and sisters, please be sure! All spiritual activity is undertaken as a result of God’s special munificent grace. No, it is not done by anyone of us. Our coming here, our being alive here, our being here or anywhere else is not our doing or our making. God is the doer. He helps me to read; He helps me to remember; He helps me to share with you. He helps you to hear and He pretends to understand, though He already understands Himself.

So both the listener and the speaker are God. If I think that Anil Kumar is speaking, I will be a total failure the next second. The moment I feel that I am the doer, I will be a total flop. Similarly, if you think that you are listening, you are also mistaken because, when you think that you are listening, your mind may not co-operate. It will think of the foreigners’ dining hall. It may think of your return tickets. It may think of the date of expiry of your visa. It may think of the day on which you have to report back to duty at your various work places. “I must go back to Colorado to my duty.”

So, the mind should also cooperate in order to listen. There are some people who can afford to sleep even when Bhagavan gives a discourse! I wonder how they can sleep? The mind refuses to co-operate. The body feels tired. The mind is exhausted. So, the listener is not just ‘so-and-so’. The speaker is not just ‘so-and-so’. The subject is not that material alone, secular or otherwise. The subject, the speaker and the listener are all Divine. They are all One. No one is superior and no one is inferior.

The sacred text says ‘satsang’ -- never is it said there is a ‘public meeting’ at four o’clock. You will never find on the invitation, “General Meeting at four o’clock”. Not ‘public meeting’, not ‘general meeting’. All spiritual meetings are called ‘satsang’. ‘Satsang’ means ‘sharing together, understanding together, investigating together, exploring together, and discovering together, caring for each other’.

So my friends, the concept of satsang gives us the idea that the speaker, the subject and the listener are all Divine. Similarly, the giver of a yagna, the doer of a yagna, and the receiver of a yagna -- all three are God Himself. Yagna bhuk is the receiver, yagna kruth is the doer, and yagna bhruth is the master. All the three are One, called Vishnu. And that Vishnu, Vishnuvai Vishnuh, is the Super Divine. He is the Super Master, the Supreme, for whom the whole yagna is organized. Am I clear?

We should try to understand the advantages and the uses of the yagna. A yagna will help us to control our senses. If the senses are not controlled, the purpose of a yagna is defeated. In addition, the yagna is never personal. It is never personal. I may organize a yagna. But see, watch -- fully aware of the significance -- you are more benefited than me. Am I clear? So a yagna is not like eating for my sake. A yagna is never personal. It is collective. It is organized and performed for the welfare of all humanity -- not only for India, South India, and Puttaparthi -- no, no, no, no! It is for the welfare of all humanity. Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu. “Let the whole world be happy, let the whole world be prosperous.” That is the aim of a yagna.

By performing a yagna, we will certainly be the recipients of God’s grace and become Divine. The purpose of human life is this: Man should become God. Though I say man ‘should become’, it is wrong in one sense. Becoming is futuristic. Becoming is a promise. Becoming is an activity. Becoming is a plan, no, no. Being is God. Being is more important than becoming. So, in spirituality, nothing is becoming; everything is being. So a yagna will help us to know our true being, our real being, that we are Divine and that we are no longer only human.

The Second Aspect of a Yagna

Now I will move on to the second aspect of the yagna. Someone asked me a question…

I appeal to you once again: Questions are quite welcome. But please pass them down to the table here. All the questions will be processed and you will get answers, which will be available on the website for your reference. I am happy that last week’s talk got to the ears of the listener, prompting him or her to put forth this question. I am glad. Toward the end of this morning’s session, you will know the answer to your question.

Celebration of Dasara is performed to awaken the Kundalini -- in other words, to get closer to God. Now, let’s assume that the celebration was a service and there was some improvement in spiritual life. The question is this. After Dasara, that person has to go back to his or her country -- Italy, Germany or USA. We don’t all stay here in Prashanti. “After going back to our native place, how can one maintain or hold onto the spiritual gain obtained during Dasara?” This is a very genuine question and you will have the answer here in the second part of my talk.

The Outer and the Inner Aspect of a Yagna

A yagna has two aspects -- the outer aspect and the inner aspect. The outer yagna is what you will to see from the ninth of October through the fifteenth of October. The closing day of the yagna is called ‘Vijaya Dashami’. The yagna will take place in the Poornachandra Auditorium. You will find a number of priests sitting there, chanting manthras. All the yagna that you will see there is called the outer yagna – the external, spiritual ritual. It is the outer activity only. What you see there is a reflection of the inner yagna. If I look into a mirror, I find my own reflection. I don’t see your face there. Similarly, in a yagna what you find outside is a reflection of the yagna going on inside. So a yagna has two aspects -- the outer aspect and the inner aspect.


During the yagna we hear the name of ‘Indra’. Who is this Indra? Indra is the name of the mind that has full control over the senses. If the mind has no control over the senses, you cannot call him ‘Indra’. The mind is only a servant of the senses. But truly speaking, the mind is the master of the senses. So, the mind that masters the senses is called ‘Indra’ - meaning, there is control.

But there is another, higher stage where you go beyond your senses, not merely controlling the senses. Whether you become a slave to the senses or control the senses, the senses are still there. You say, “I have total control over my senses.” So the senses are there and you have controlled them. There is another man who says, “I have become a slave to my senses.” Very fine - because there are senses, you have become a slave. So for both, the senses are there, whether one is a slave or a master. But true spirituality means to go beyond the senses, above the senses -- not senseless! No, no, no. Divinity is experienced beyond senses. It is a transcendental experience.


That state which is beyond senses is called ‘Rudra’ or ‘Eswara’. ‘Indra’ is the state when you have total control over your senses. ‘Rudra’ or ‘Eswara’ is the state when you go beyond your senses, when you have transcended your senses.

Indra has another name - Puruhootha. What does it mean? During a yagna, you will hear certain manthras that are repeated again and again. You will hear certain names time and again. Indra is invited to the yagna repeatedly. By making offerings, by performing the yagna, this Indra is invited repeatedly. So he is called Puruhootha. Huth means ‘calling’ and puru means ‘again and again’. During the yagna, Indra is welcomed again and again. Thus comes the name Puruhootha.

These are the aspects of the outer yagna, which goes on once in a while as a seasonal festival -- occasionally, incidentally, but not regularly. On the other hand, the inner yagna keeps on happening, keeps on taking place from birth to death. There is no season for that. There’s no reason for that. That yagna goes on forever and ever. How? The body is the platform or stage, such as the Poornachandra Auditorium platform or stage on which the priests sit. My body is the Poornachandra stage. Am I clear? At the centre of the Poornachandra Auditorium stage, you find the sacrificial fire where all the offerings are made. That is called vedika, meaning ‘altar’. My mind is the altar. So my friends, my body is the Poornachandra platform or stage, while my mind is the altar.

Sacrificing Animal Qualities

You’ll find priests sitting around that altar, pouring ghee into the fire and chanting, “Swaha, Swaha, Swaha ”. While uttering every manthra, they are pouring ghee into the fire. What is this ghee? Desires, human desires, are equal to the ghee poured into the fire. Why? When ghee is poured into the fire, the fire burns brilliantly. So, the ghee represents desires. One house, two houses, five cars -- desires are endless. In ancient times, during a yagna, animals were sacrificed. No one should sacrifice animals today.

What is meant by ‘animal sacrifice’? It means sacrificing our animal qualities. If you throw a bull or a buffalo into the fire, it is not a yagna. Pour your animal qualities into the fire. Swami gives numerous examples like sluggishness and feeling sleepy all the time is the quality of a buffalo. Some people sleep even in the interview room; some in the auditorium. So what is to be done? Put that buffalo quality of sleeping more, of eating in excess, into the fire. Buffalo qualities should be sacrificed.

Secondly, there is a quality of unsteadiness or a wavering nature. A wavering nature is the quality of a horse. If you watch a horse, it is never steady. It moves its tail, its ears or its head. It is never steady. A wavering nature should be offered and put into the fire.

And thirdly, some have a scheming quality. They may like taking away another's belongings. This kind of scheming, this kind of taking away others’ things, is the quality of a cat. A cat is ready to drink milk left anywhere, not necessarily the milk of the master. After all, the neighbour’s milk could be tastier! This sort of pilferage, this sort of stealing, has to be sacrificed.

Anger is a dog’s mentality. A dog cannot bear to see another dog on its street. They go by territorial feelings. So, to go by regional feelings, to have linguistic chauvinism or to have this feeling that, “This is my area”, is a dog's mentality. This sort of possessiveness, this sort of belonging to some area, this sort of identifying with a region and fighting with the others, is the typical character of a dog. So, this too has to be sacrificed. Hence, this is what is meant by ‘animal sacrifice’. I’m just stating this as Bhagavan Himself has explained.

Here's another animal quality: "You didn’t reserve my seat yesterday. Therefore, I shall never reserve a seat for you this lifetime.”

“You did not oblige me yesterday, so I shall not see you for a lifetime."

This kind of mentality is revengeful. Revenge, to avenge or be revengeful, to have a vindictive nature is the character of a snake. This snake quality also has to be forsaken. It has to be offered; it has to be sacrificed.

So, animal qualities -- like revenge, anger, regionalism, hatred, gluttony, excess of sleep -- these are all the animal qualities. This is what is meant by ‘animal sacrifice’ in the yagna during Dasara time.

So, the inner yagna goes on every moment of life, not necessarily just during Dasara. The outer yagna takes place during Dasara, while the inner yagna takes place every moment of life. The outer is symbolic, while the inner is a regular feature. The outer is a ritual, whereas the inner is our duty. With the outer, you have a choice; but the inner is choiceless. The outer is expensive, while the inner is simple and inexpensive. The outer requires paraphernalia -- so many priests, so much money, and so much material. However, for the inner, only you are required, nothing else. So the outer yagna requires many people and so much material. But the inner yagna is only concerned with you. The outer yagna gives benefits to everybody, while the inner yagna begins with and benefits you. It benefits you to start with, while the outer yagna is for the whole world.

We Have To Clear the Debts

The yagna has another aspect with which I will conclude this morning’s session. Those who have incurred debts must clear their debts. We find people who take out loans from the banks, which they don't pay back, and then the bank goes bankrupt. Our life should not be like that. Having taken loans, we should clear them up.

We are indebted to three people, and we have to clear the debts before we leave this body. If we don't clear our loans, we will have to pay with compounded interest -- if not now, then in the next life or any number of lives to come.

Who are the three? The first one is Daivaruna. We are indebted to God.

“Oh God, You have given me this life. Oh God, You protect me in every possible way. Oh God, You wake me up in the morning. I don't wake up by myself.”

It is God who wakes you up. If He doesn’t wake you up, you will find your photograph in the newspaper under the obituary column! (Laughter) So, who wakes you up? God does. I take food and God digests it. I breathe in and God helps me to breathe out. When it stops one day, that's the end of life.

So, “God, You're responsible for the respiration and the circulation, for the nervous system and for the protection of this body. Yes, You have given me this life. I am indebted to You.”

I am very fascinated by one word – ‘thanksgiving’. This word is a very beautiful word – ‘thanksgiving’. Having come from a Christian college, I used to receive invitations: “We will have a Thanksgiving function this evening at 4:00.” What they called ‘Thanksgiving function’ was for a birthday, a transfer or a promotion.

So, “Oh God, we thank you for this life.”

We should go on thanking Him because the moments of misery, the moments of hospitalisation, and the days of sickness are very few. The days of bliss, the days of health, the days of happiness are many, many in our life. After all, I may fall sick for only three days in a year. For 360 days, I'm healthy. Only for three days I am sick. That's all.

So my friends, I'm sure that you will all agree with me that our days of happiness and our days of health are far more in number than our days of sickness. Shouldn’t we thank Him? We should thank Him. But how to thank Him? Shall I say, “Oh God I thank You?” No, not verbally -- Thanksgiving is not vocal. It is not a public meeting with a lot of thanks by so-and-so. How to thank God? By serving our fellowman selflessly. If you serve your fellowmen, if you serve your neighbour selflessly, that is the expression of gratitude and thanks to God. That's how you can pay off the debt, how you can be free from this debt. So my friends, first we are indebted to God, Daivaruna. We can pay this back by rendering selfless service to all.


The second debt is to Rushiruna. We are indebted to our prophets. We are indebted to our sages, saints, and the Holy Scriptures — the Bible, Koran, Bhagavad-Gita, Guru Granth. We are indebted to all the sacred texts. There are many people who keep the sacred texts in their puja room at the altar. They worship the books. They worship the pictures of their prophets or of the sages. That is not the way of paying your tribute, of expressing your gratitude. That is not at all the way. What is the best way to pay your gratitude to the prophets? By following their teachings. By following the Holy Bible, by following the Bhagavad-Gita, by following the commands of your prophets, you can express your thanks. In that way, you can express your gratitude. That is Rushiruna.


The third debt we owe is to Pithruruna. We are indebted to our parents. We have this body because of our parents. We have this life because of our parents. We are indebted to them. We should express our thanks and gratitude to them. How? By trying to please them. By trying to serve them. By living up to their expectations. By keeping up the name of the family. By keeping up the prestige of the family. That’s most important. Pithruruna -- One should keep up the good name of the parents. Everybody should say, “So-and-so is the son of that great lady, don’t you know? So-and-so is the son of that great man, don’t you know?” Thus, a son should bring a good name to his parents. That way one can be free from the debt to their parents.

So my friends, we are indebted to these three: first, to God; secondly, to our prophets and sacred texts; and thirdly, to our parents. A yagna helps us to express our gratitude to our parents, to the prophets and to God. This is the purpose of a yagna.

My friends, we will discuss and learn some more points that Bhagavan has told about the Dasara Yagna during our next satsang.

Before I take leave of you, I received a question from a friend. The letter said,

“We want to hear more about Swami. We want to know what Swami says to students on the veranda. We want to know Swami’s comments.”

That is the letter I received. I am very frank here. I am very open. I am a democrat. (Laughter) I really want to share these comments with you, but for the time factor. Yes, I will certainly be able to answer this question.

Hereafter, all of these things that Swami says to the students on the veranda will be there at your residences, the moment you switch on your computer. All of this matter, whatever Swami says to the students, will be available to you in the future on the website www.internety.com/anilkhome.

Those talks will go on parallel to these Sunday Talks. Are you happy? (Applause) All over the world people would like to know what Swami is saying to the students. It is not enough if I just talk to you. Instead you can just go to your computer and follow what Swami says by checking this website. So that will be available to you as soon as possible.

For questions that are received, I will have answers every Sunday. For answers to those questions that I don’t know, I will certainly find out at the earliest opportunity – to be cleared up by Bhagavan Himself. So then I will be able to answer them properly for you.

Before I take leave of you, from the bottom of my heart -- I really mean it one hundred percent -- I am very, very grateful to every one of you here. I am very, very indebted to every one of you here because you help me to read Sai literature. You help me to be thorough in Sai literature -- to be very clear on certain ideas. When I speak to you here, I have to be doubly sure of what I am saying. I am not simply engaging my audience. I am getting myself enlightened. This is a source of sadhana, a spiritual practice that I have taken upon myself, for which I am highly grateful and thankful to each and every one of you. (Applause)

Thank you very much!

Om Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Thank you very much, Sai Ram!

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