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  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
October 26, 2003

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar


October 26th, 2003


Sai Ram

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Let me begin my talk with greetings to all of you on this holy day of Deepavali, and also on the occasion of the New Year’s celebration by devotees from the State of Gujarat. May Bhagavan shower His choicest blessings on every one of you and your families.

This morning’s topic is this: “From…To…”. You may ask, “From what to what? From where to where?” I have chosen this to be the title of this morning’s talk as I thought of maintaining a continuity of the same wavelength, of the same mood with which we left Sai Kulwant Hall this morning: “Koham to Soham” was the theme of the discipline this morning by the youth and the Bal Vikas children from Gujarat.

Deepavali Celebration

Before I go into the topic, I’ll say a few words about the Deepavali celebration. Deepavali is an occasion which is very important, and celebrated in a grand gala way, with all festivity and gaiety all over the country. It is a festival when most of the lights are lit up, and all the houses are very well decorated with lights and lamps. These lights give us delight too. The light always stands for delight and love.

Deepavali festival marks certain important events in history. Most of us have come to know those points, which I could collect from Bhagavan’s discourses earlier, because certain new dimensions are shown to us by Bhagavan.

Deepavali Should Take Us to Bliss

One point is this: Deepavali, the light, should take us to the delight and bliss, from misery to bliss. We have to come out of the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of misery and the darkness of grief into the light of joy, the light of ecstasy, the light of awareness, the light of knowledge, the light of dance and the light of music.

Seriousness, as I said, is a sign of sickness. It is not a sign of religion. A man who is happy within himself, a man who is happy with existence, goes on smiling and bursts into laughter. A man who is not happy within himself, can never be happy with anybody in this world, and can never be happy with existence. He feels himself isolated, left all alone, God-forsaken, cut off from the pleasures and the smile of life. This is a life of worthlessness.

When life is worthless, we cannot smile. Life is almost death when we cannot experience bliss. Life is not worth it when we cannot burst into laughter. Where there’s no time for music, melody and dance, there’s no life at all. It is only a stupid man and an idiot who loves money, as money cannot give you music. Money cannot give you the outlook of the beauty of existence. The beauty of a flower cannot be bought. The beauty of a rainbow cannot be measured in terms of money. Money cannot measure the beautiful song of the nightingale.

Therefore, my friends, Deepavali signifies the movements of darkness into the light. Darkness symbolises grief, misery, sorrow, ignorance, helplessness, frustration, depression, and what not, creating suppression and repression. But light symbolises happiness, bliss, joy, laughter, melody, music, dance, ecstasy and bliss. That’s it.

Therefore Deepavali should make us joyful, smiling all the way, because those who cannot smile in the Divine presence of Bhagavan will be laughed at in society. We should laugh, but we should never allow others to be laughed at. My friends, this is the first point of Deepavali.

The day of Rama’s coronation

The second point: When Rama left Ayodhya to spend time in exile, the whole of Ayodhya felt that they were living in darkness. In Ayodhya, the capital city, all the inhabitants felt that they were living their lives in darkness without Rama. It means that without God, life is darkness. Without God, life is lifeless, pitch dark. You can’t move anywhere. You have to grope in the darkness.

But after killing Ravana, Rama comes back to Ayodhya with His consort Sita, accompanied by his brother Lakshmana, back to Ayodhya where He was coronated. The coronation of Ramachandra was a time when the whole of Ayodhya could bask in the light of delight. So, with God, it is a life of light. Without God, it is a life of darkness; it is a life of misery. Therefore, Deepavali is the day of Rama’s coronation.

The coronation day of Viswamitra

Point three: History also speaks of a great king in Indian history by name of Viswamitra. He was a great king who encouraged fine arts, particularly literature and music. He was a great patron of Vedic literature, and Deepavali happens to be the coronation day of Viswamitra.

Vamana put Bali into Pathala

Point four: There lived a king by the name of Bali. Bali was an emperor. You must have heard about him at the time of Onam. It was Lord Vishnu, in the form of Vamana, who subdued and put down Bali. Why? Bali was a king of sacrifice, a man of truth, a man of righteousness and a great emperor, beloved of everybody. Why did God choose to put him down? The reason was that Bali had a claim of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. Bali had a feeling that, “This is my kingdom. These are my people.” But that ‘mine’, that sense of possessiveness, that sense of attachment are responsible for his being sent to Pathala, the lower world. Therefore, Vamana has put him down, meaning that the ego was taken out.

So, Deepavali is a day of celebration because it was when Emperor Bali was relieved from the sense of ego. Onam is the day when Emperor Bali comes out of that lower world, that lower level of consciousness, and comes back to his people. That is Onam. Onam is coming back. He brought Emperor Bali back to earth to meet his subjects. Deepavali is the day when Vamana put him down. I think that I am clear. Why Bali was punished at all was because of his sense of ego.

Therefore, my friends, Deepavali is the celebration when we are truly egoless. When we are egoistic, the same Deepavali celebration will happen, but we will be put down like Bali. Yes, that is the fourth point, which I want to bring to your attention.

Krishna killed Naraka with the help of Sathyabhama

The fifth point: There lived a king by the name of Naraka. The word ‘naraka’ means ‘hell’. Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, yet he did not see hell or heaven anywhere, or anything like that. Man is ready to go to Mars also. Man is able to make space travel; he has become an expert on astronomy; he knows all the planets existing in the cosmos, in the universe. But he doesn’t know where paradise and hell are. Is it a myth or is it a story?

It is neither a myth nor a story, according to Bhagavan Baba. Paradise, heaven and the hell, are here and now. They’re here and now! When you are joyful, it is heaven. When you are miserable, it is hell. “It is the mind that makes heaven out of hell and hell out of heaven,” says John Milton in Paradise Lost. Paradise is a day of happiness, while hell is a day of misery. Therefore, ‘naraka’ stands for hell.

What is the identification nature? Identification with the body is verily hell. When I identify myself with the body, it is hell. That’s’ all. Why? I want to maintain my body. I refuse to age. I don’t want to be old. More so, I don’t want to look old. (Laughter) I feel so disturbed when others tell me that I am old. So I don’t want to know, I don’t want to be told, though it is a fact of life. We can age gracefully. There is beauty in old age. Why not? A ripe fruit is quite sweet. It has got its own beauty. It has got its own taste, so why not? We don’t need to age with grudging complaints. No, ungrudgingly, happily we can age. Why not?

Therefore my friends, Naraka the king stands for body identification. And God, as Lord Krishna in Krishnavatar, killed Naraka. He killed him with the help of his consort Sathyabhama. Sathyabhama is the consort of Lord Krishna.

Here we may get a doubt as to why Krishna required the help of Sathyabhama. “If Krishna takes the help of Sathyabhama, let me worship Sathyabhama straightaway. Why have Krishna in the middle?” (Laughter) Later, when Krishna is needed for support, you think you can say, “Oh Krishna, thank You. I’ll seek Your support from tomorrow onwards.” That will be our natural calculation. Don’t you think so? But my friends, Sathyabhama is not Krishna’s wife in the worldly sense, no. Krishna is a Brahmacharya, for your information, a celibate. How do you say that? That will be the next talk, if you so want.

So, Sathyabhama stands for Sathya, the Truth: the fundamental Truth that you are not the body; the fundamental Truth that you are not the mind; the fundamental Truth that you are not the intellect. The Truth is that you are Divine, that you are the spark of the Divine, that you are essentially Divine -- nothing other than that. So with the help of the Truth of the Self (symbolised by Sathyabhama), Krishna killed Naraka, who represented hell. So you can certainly kill and vanquish Naraka, body identification, with Truth, Sathyabhama, which was done by Krishna Himself, the individual Divine. That’s what this story is, my friends.

So, Naraka asura is killed. ‘Asura’ means ‘demon’. ‘Narakasura’ means ‘demon king’. Naraka has body identification, and asura, mind identification. He identifies himself with the mind also. So if I think that I am mind, I am an asura, demon class # 1, a VIP demon, okay? (Laughter) We all want to be VIP’s. (Laughter) Even among demons, we would like to be a VIP demon. Okay? So an asura, identifying with the mind, has a demonic nature. One who has identification with the body has an animal nature. Narakasura, identifying with the mind and the body, the animal and the demon, two-in-one, doesn’t deserve to exist on this beautiful planet of creation, a place so beautiful, so magnificent. Therefore, Krishna chose to kill him with the help of Sathya, the basic Truth that one is the Atma, the spirit, and not the body or mind.

Removal of the Planet Naraka by Krishna

And now point six: During the time of Dwapara Age, when Krishna took birth, there was a planet by the name of Naraka. That planet was close to the moon; but also that planet Naraka was coming closer to the earth. It led to a situation that the two might collide at any moment, leading to calamity, leading to complete disaster. So all people prayed, “Oh God, save us!” Then Krishna completely removed the planet Naraka from its orbit. So also, the removal of the planet Naraka from its orbit is the celebration of Deepavali.

Deepavali celebrates the lights in arctic zones

Deepavali is also the celebration of the period when the lights in arctic zones are continuous, where you have light for six months (and later, there is six months of darkness). Those who live in the polar regions will be in the light for six months. Later, they will be in darkness for six months. Therefore this light lights up the skies for six months in those polar regions. That is called mithya jyothi, the ‘eternal light’. This is ananda jyothi, the light of bliss. This is jnana jyothi, the light of knowledge. This is prema jyothi, the light of Love. That is Deepavali.

The Inner Light

Bhagavan further says that you light the lamps outside, but you miss the inner light. There is light always within us, but we don’t see that light. The heart is the container. The human heart is the container filled with the oil of Love, with the wick of the individual soul, and having the flame of wisdom. The brilliance of the light of bliss is shed all over. The light is bliss. The wick is the individual soul. The oil is Love. The container is the heart. That is the inner light. But unfortunately we don’t see this inner light. We want to have that light.

Why don’t we see the inner light? Because the inner light seems to have been extinguished. Why? The oil is used. The oil of Love is gone. Instead there is water, the water of sensual pleasure; therefore you cannot expect the wick to burn brilliantly. It is impossible, as water is there, and the wick itself gets drowned in water, being totally wet. So it cannot be lit up at all. Similarly, worldly people, material people who are drowned and drenched in the material world, cannot see the inner light. With all the worldly pleasures, it is impossible for them to get up and get out of the sleep and slumber. Impossible.

Therefore, what should we do? Pour out the water and remove the worldly, sensual desire from the container of our heart. Then we must dry this wick, keeping it in the sunlight. The drying process of the individual soul is called vairagya or renunciation. Dry it with vairagya, renunciation. Then you can light it properly. Then it is possible to have the effulgence and the brilliance that is there at Deepavali, according to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The Final Destination is ‘Soham’

With that note, we will go to this morning’s topic, “From…..To.” This morning you saw a short display by the Bal Vika youth from the State of Gujarat. They have given me this inspiration and suggested this topic to me to deal with this morning. In fact I was very much inspired by their topic. It is the travel from ‘Koham?’ meaning, ‘Who am I?’ to the final station of ‘Soham’, ‘I am You. I am God.’

So, ‘Who am I?’ is the first station. The final destination is ‘Soham’, ‘I am You.’ But we unfortunately get down in the middle, due to ‘moham’, meaning ‘attachment’. To reach New York, you purchase the ticket, but you get down at Frankfurt, thinking you have reached the end of the journey. If you get down there at Frankfurt, or if you get down at Heathrow Airport and think that it is New York, well, nobody can help you. (Laughter) You have got a through ticket. You cannot get down in between. From Koham, this Bombay airport, you’ll be going to JF Kennedy Airport, Soham. There are some intermediate stages for refueling like London and Frankfurt, which are like moham. So that has been the theme of their topic.

We Are In ‘Moham’ Now

Let me change a little bit. We are in moham now. There’s no doubt about it. Certainly the one who denies that is fully in that. (Laughter) Never believe such people. The people who speak more of philosophy are the most worldly. I know that. So we cannot be carried away by these words because, as the famous quote goes, ”They will quote scriptures.” So let’s not say that. We are mundane people, after all. We cannot deny that because we even get attached to the seat, the place where we sit everyday. We cannot dream of another man sitting where we are sitting. (Laughter) Yes. Therefore, if I said that I have got vairagya or renunciation, it is the joke of the century. It cannot be so. We are attached. We are in moham. Moham is attachment to the family, attachment to the property, attachment to the country, attachment to society. Attachment, attachment, yes! It hits you something like this: We’ve got all fixed and attached, so it’s so painful when we are removed. When children leave us, we shed tears. When we retire, we cry. When we lose our seat, we cry and make others cry. (Laughter) When another occupies our seat, we make him cry. (Laughter) Sure, this is what moham is -- attachment.

“KOHAM, Who am I?”

So this is the situation. Spending all the time in moham, attachment, there comes a time in the life of every person, that this is all there is. But this is not the be-all and end-all because, my friends, all that we see is sure to vanish. All the property that you have shall not remain as it is. All the friends around will not remain with you throughout. That we’ll understand.

Then comes the question, ‘Koham, who am I?’ I thought that the family, my children, and my wife were all with me. They are mine. But the moment comes when you cannot oblige them any longer; when they say, “Thank you.” Then you put to yourself this question, ‘Who am I?’ When you want to give some advice and some suggestions to your son, and your son says, “Daddy, you’re out-dated. Please leave me alone.” Then you’ll put to yourself the question, ‘Koham, who am I?’

When your wife does not attend on you, when your wife does not do what you want immediately, then you put a question: ‘Koham, who am I?’ When you retire, the subordinates and others who were serving you so faithfully until yesterday, when the moment that you retire, they do not recognise you, then you’ll put the question: ‘Koham, who am I?’ So long as Swami talks to me, everyone says, “Anil Kumar, Sai Ram! How are you?” When Swami starts ignoring me, nobody will care to look at me; nobody will greet me. Then I put to myself the question, ‘Koham, who am I?’ Right? (Laughter)

My friends, at one time or another, we are sure to put this question to ourselves: ‘Koham, who am I? Either material or spiritual, that is immaterial. This question we certainly have to face at one time or another. No one is an exception.

So, ‘from Moham to Koham’ -- that is how I put it, because moham, attachment, made us totally frustrated. Attachment made us totally depressed as nothing is guaranteed, nothing is certain. A friend in the morning becomes an enemy by the evening. That’s called politics. Yes, a friend so close to you betrays you. Then there are many families where all the love is centred around one son out of the three. Yes, then Judas Iscariot betrayed his guru, Jesus Christ. So, when the nearest and the dearest betray you, you will understand what life is. ‘Koham, who am I?’

The ‘Koham’ Question Will Not Come Easily

So, my friends, the ‘Koham’ question will not come so easily. The ‘Koham’ question will not come so immediately, because moham is deluding, alluring, attracting and so beautiful. Yes, maya is the delusion. Moham is so attractive. Moham takes you to a state of forgetfulness. You get intoxicated, so you get into a state of forgetfulness. You get into the state of intoxication. That is the quality of moham, attachment, due to maya, delusion.

So if I ask, ‘Koham? Koham?’ it is only verbal; it is only fictional; it is only external; it is only scholarly; it is only academic. It is not born out of real experience. Therefore, my friends, sometimes we do face certain difficulties in our life. In our own individual families, we have certain problems. Individually, we may have certain health problems. Family-wise, we may have certain problems with children. We have some professional problems, some business problems. Every one will have one problem or another. If a fellow has no problem, the absence of a problem will be his problem! (Laughter) So, there is bound to be a problem. If we have no problem, that is the biggest problem! (Laughter) So, my friends, when we have problems, when people have become problematic, there arises the question of ‘Koham, who am I?’ -- not till then. It is academic until then. It is all gathered textual knowledge - just collected information, that’s all. The genuine question is born out of day-to-day life experience.

Unless the curd is churned, you cannot get the butter. “No, no, sir! Butter is floating on the surface of my curd.” Well, it could be anything other than butter. Unless it is churned, you cannot get the butter. Similarly, life is like curd. The continuous churning process is going on. Only then comes the butter, which is a question -- ‘Koham, who am I?’ That question is genuine. Out of the genuine question, asked to one’s own Self at the right time, will come the correct answer. The answer comes from within. Until then, the answer that you get from books is bookish. But the answer that comes from your heart is born out of personal experience. This is what you call wisdom. Answers that you get from books are knowledge. The answer that you get from your own heart is wisdom, born out of experience.

The Senses Are Enjoying You at Your Cost

So, my friends, having been drenched, having been totally drowned, having been lost in moham, attachment, then there comes frustration. Because of all the joys and all the pleasures of bodily comforts, naturally in the course of time, one will develop blood pressure, and sugar (diabetic) problems will be waiting at the doorstep: ‘Come on! Let him enjoy; and then I will enjoy him at his expense.’ We enjoy with the senses, but the senses will enjoy us later.

Bhagavan says that people say, “I enjoy with all my senses. “

But Bhagavan said, “No, you are not enjoying with the senses. The senses are enjoying at your cost.” Understand that. That is what Swami has said repeatedly.

There is so much truth in it because, if you are really enjoying life with the help of the senses, you should grow stronger and stronger day-by-day -- but we don’t. We become weaker and weaker day-by-day. Why? It only means that the senses are enjoying us at the expense of this food.

Therefore my friends, this question ‘Koham?’ should come to us when we are totally frustrated and disappointed with the body, with the mind, and with the people around; when we are disgusted and vexed with all the comforts and conveniences. When you have no more interest in name and fame, when we’re not here to please people, then we put to ourselves this question, ‘Koham?’ Not until then.

A simple example: So long as we praise our fellow man, you cannot call yourself religious. The tongue that praises God cannot praise the fellow man. Impossible! Seek no favour; fear no man. You praise your fellow man because of favour; you praise your fellow man because of fear. When there is no fear, when there’s no favour, then you can praise God incessantly, continuously and ceaselessly.

From ‘Moham’ to ‘Soham’

At one time a grand old man came on a visit to this place.

Someone said, “Swami, he is a great scholar.”

Swami spoke to him, “How are you?”

He replied, “Fine.”

Then He spoke further to him: “Yesterday you attended a meeting and spoke in praise of the chief minister. And today you have come here to have Bhagavan’s darshan. What is it you are doing? “

Then Swami gave him an example: “The one who drives the car of the president of a nation cannot be a taxi driver.”

So, the tongue that has praised God cannot praise cheap people, or men of prestige in a position of authority. It is really a life that is meaningless. Sycophancy, pleasing people, and seeking favours is irreligious, non-spiritual by any standard.

My friends, ‘Koham?’ is a question that comes only at a time when you have no more charm for the body, when you have no more attraction for the mind, when you are no more enchanted by the greatness of your intellect, when you have no more desire for name and fame, when we don’t have or want any favours. Then comes this question ‘Koham?’ Otherwise, the question is meaningless, and we don’t get any answer at all.

This is the right time, yes. ‘Oh, Lord, I don’t want all this. Enough is enough. Enough is enough! But I want something special now.’ Then, ‘Who am I? Am I merely the son of so-and-so? Am I merely the father of so-and-so? Am I merely the husband of so-and-so? Am I merely the employee of such-and-such a concern? Am I merely a citizen of the country? Am I merely a man based on my age, young or old?’ You then call, ’Who am I?’ Then comes the question ‘Koham?’ The answer is ‘Soham, I am You.’ ‘Oh God, I am yours. You and I are One.’

So my friends, from moham, where one is totally frustrated and disgusted with that attraction and attachment, one puts the question ‘Koham?’ We go from moham to ‘Koham?’ to reach that state of ‘Soham’, ‘I am You.’ That is the topic for today, “From…To…”. These are the points that I will complete in the time left from now.

From Ignorance to Wisdom

We should travel from ignorance to wisdom. “No sir, who said that I am ignorant? I am a PhD -- don’t you know that? (Laughter) I’ve been serving as a professor. Are you not aware of it? I have attended many international conferences. I have contributed a number of articles.” Please, keep quiet. All that you can claim is Himalayan ignorance, because that is all borrowed information, collected information. Books collected there, lying fast asleep in racks.

So, if you cannot claim all that is in the books as your own, it is ignorance. The one who quotes, the one who speaks of others, not born out of experience, is the very symbol, the very personification and the very metaphor of ignorance. We must go from ignorance to wisdom, my friends. I’m telling you out of my personal experience. My friends, I am sharing with you out of my personal life. It is not somebody else. It is what it is, from ignorance to wisdom.

Ordinary Science -- Nothing Extraordinary

Secondly, we know how the body functions. Medical sciences speak of the functions of the body, the physiology and the anatomy. We also know the material sciences, the properties of matter like heat, light, sound, magnetism and physics. We know the different branches like chemistry. We know social sciences, humanities. We know fundamental sciences. This is all ordinary science.

So, there is nothing extraordinary about ordinary science, as you are studying that which is already in existence. You have studied that which is already present. There is nothing new, my dear fellow. You have not brought anything new. There are only five elements. Have you discovered a sixth element? Please, let me know. (Laughter) There’s no sixth element. Water is H2O. “No, no, make it H3O, if possible.” Carbon dioxide is CO2. “Make it CO3.” You cannot do it. You are only studying what is already in existence. So, it is ordinary science.

Out of the Ordinary, the Extraordinary Should Be Born

Out of this ordinary science, you should go to higher science. That’s why Swami named this university: “Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning”. That’s why Swami named the super-speciality hospital as the “Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences”. It is something higher, something deeper, because out of the ordinary, the extraordinary should be born. So it is a higher thing, from lower thing to higher. That it is what we call from matter to energy; from matter to the electronic level. At the ionic level, that is what is higher science -- from jnana to vijnana.

Jnana (Anil Kumar is referring to ordinary, objective knowledge here – vishaya jnana.) is just understanding. Jnana is just that which is perceived. Jnana is that which is collected. Jnana is that which is understood, which is comprehended. But vijnana is that which is discriminated; vijnana is that which is digested; vijnana is that which is assimilated. If I go on repeating like a parrot, it is only jnana.

From vishaya jnana to Vijnana

Suddenly Swami says, “Anil Kumar, you speak the day-after-tomorrow.” I prepare some papers, go on repeating it through the night, all the twenty-four hours, and repeat (give) the talk successfully, get some claps and go back to my place. It is jnana (vishaya jnana – ordinary knowledge) because it has no spontaneity; this kind of jnana is not instantaneous, not fresh. This kind of ordinary jnana is preserved, old stuff.

But vijnana is born, vijnana is fresh, vijnana is spontaneous, something like a fountain, something like a waterfall. It is always fresh. So, we travel from jnana to vijnana.

From Dynamic Life to Changeless Life

Next, we go from dynamic life to changeless life. Dynamic, yes, we all want to be dynamic. Nobody wants to be static. To be dynamic is the quality of a leader. He goes on changing. He is a dynamic man, ready to rise to the occasion, ready to face the challenges of life. He is a man of dynamism. He is a man of leadership qualities.

But you go from dynamism to the changeless because That (Atma) which is in you, the spirit, is neither dynamic nor static. It is changeless. A simple example: While I am talking to you now, that spirit in me is there. When I go to sleep at night, that spirit in me continues to be there. That ‘I’ is uniform. That ‘I’ is a continuous thread throughout, in all the three levels of consciousness. In the waking state, the dreaming state and the deep sleep state, that ‘I’ is the continuum. The only difference is the change depending on time and space.

Therefore, dynamism is temporary. Dynamism is only one phase. You cannot be dynamic all twenty-four hours. While in sleep, can you be dynamic? No. Well all right, you can be dynamic if you snore, OK. (Laughter) So, I am dynamic while in sleep. Oh yes, I do understand. No one would like to sleep by your side because of the disturbing sound. (Laughter) So, dynamism is temporary. It is only one phase. But the spirit (Atma) is changeless. So, you go from dynamism to a changeless state, from personal to impersonal.

We all look at everything from the individual point of view. Suppose I say this and that, but you are not ready to hear me, as all that is said is focused from my understanding, from my experience, from my background. Thus we make everything personal. Suppose I come and say, “Sir, Swami spoke to me. I was very happy. Swami gave me vibhuthi.”

You’re not prepared to hear me. You’ll stop me in the middle and say, “Ten years ago, He gave me this ring. Five years ago, He gave me this chain. Last year, He gave me this watch.” What nonsense you are speaking. Is that right? (Laughter) Because of an ego problem, everything becomes personal.

If I say, “Sir, I started yesterday and reached this place”, you’ll say, “Is that so? I started day-before-yesterday and reached here one hour before you came. Is it okay?” (Laughter) Even spiritual matters we make personal. That’s why we’re not happy.

From Search to Quest

Spirituality is impersonal; the world is personal. So we go from the personal to the impersonal, from search to quest. Search is: “I lost my friend. I’ll search for him, and I’ll find him sometime or another.” Or, “I lost my book. I’ll go on searching for it. I will find it.” But quest is a continuous process. Quest is continuous, while search is periodical. Search is accidental; search is incidental; search is momentary; search is for that which is lost.

Quest is for that which is already present, but unknown. Unknown, the Atma, the spirit, is in me. I do not know that Atma or spirit is already there. I am not aware of it. So, to know that which is already in existence is a quest. Articles are lost or found because of a search. But that which is already there, the Self in me, is a quest.

So it is a journey from search to quest. All that we have today -- social sciences, humanities, fundamental sciences or technology -- you can call it all material knowledge, aparavidya. Aparavidya is the material knowledge, the worldly knowledge, but the spiritual knowledge is called paravidya. Paravidya is spiritual knowledge, while aparavidya is secular or material knowledge.

From apara-bhakthi to para-bhakthi

Next is this point: We have devotion; nobody can deny that. Devotion is neither imported nor exported nor generated. Devotion is there, but we need devotion. We are devoted when we are in difficulties, not until then:

‘Oh, God, I’m fine today. I’ll think of You later.’ But when your promotion is stopped, when the doctor says that there is something wrong with your ECG and that your blood pressure has gone up, when the doctor says, “You had better be careful from today -- just a caution”, then you will understand. Only then you will know the need for bhakthi, devotion, as your BP has shot up -- not until then. (Laughter)

So, the usual bhakthi we have -- the ceremonial, traditional, customary, conventional type of devotion -- is what you call apara-bhakthi, meaning conditional and seasonal. “Oh! Tomorrow is Christmas. Is the sacrifice ready? Get a cake ready tonight, OK? Thank you.” Then we wait for the next Christmas. So this is what we call apara-bhakthi, conditional and seasonal.

On the other hand, Para-bhakthi is supreme devotion. It means that I think of God and do my work, with ‘constant integrated awareness’. ‘CIA’ is a favourite term of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. ‘Constant integrated awareness’ means discharging one’s duties with the constant thought of God. That is Para-bhakthi or supreme devotion.

From ‘Adheya’ to ‘Adhara’

Next, we see this beautiful building. We have the tallest building there, and we have the bookstores there, Chaitanya-Jyothi over there, plus beautiful buildings of architecture, engineering skills of excellence. We are very much attracted. We are all in praise of them. For your information, for the beautiful constructions in Prasanthi Nilayam, the builders received international awards -- 20 lakhs or 15 lakhs, something like that. Did you know that? Many buildings won international awards and recognition, by the international organisations attached to the United Nations. Fine, fine! We all look at the buildings.

They are beautiful, but how about their foundations? We don’t think of it. We don’t see the foundation. We don’t know where the foundation is. We see the building above, but not the foundation below. Therefore, what we see, this whole building is adheya, while adhara is just the reverse. Adhara is the base foundation. We see and think of the adheya. From adheya we should go to adhara. The building is adheya, while the foundation is adhara. So we go from adheya to adhara. That is another journey “From…To….“

From the Attributes to the Attributeless State

Then, from saguna, attributes, we should travel to nirguna, the attributeless state. A simple example: With rice flour, you can make a sweet. With wheat flour, you can make another sweet. It may be wheat flour or rice flour or some other flour, but the same sugar is added. Am I not right?

Another example: Whether it’s tea, Ovaltine or coffee, the same milk is used, is it not? So, milk is the same; but when you mix it with the coffee powder, you call it coffee; with the tea powder, you call it tea; with Ovaltine powder, you call it Ovaltine, and so on. In all, milk is the same. Similarly, the gunas or attributes are different, but God is nirguna, without attributes.

So, let us understand the fundamental principle of electricity. The electricity is neither light nor sound. But electricity is the basis or the undercurrent for both light and sound. Similarly, nirguna or the Divinity will make us experience all of these gunas. (AK proceeded to sing about gunas.)

The gunas are manifested. Because of gunas, we experience in this world. Every guna attribute is functional or operational because of the guna. So the attributeless God is responsible for all these attributes. It means that the electricity, which has no shape and form, is responsible for the light. It is responsible for the sounds. Therefore, from saguna, the attributes, we travel toward nirguna, the attributeless.

From lust to love

Then, in this world we say, “I love you.” “You love me.” “Love you!” Love, love, love everywhere! It is all lust. What are we saying? In fact, true love is never spoken.

It is very funny when I find three people telling me, ”I love you; I love you.” I don’t know. (Laughter) Do you say that? Should I wait like a newspaper, or a TV broadcast every morning, “I love you, my son. I love you, my daughter.”

They may say, “So, if you don’t love me, whom else are you going to love?” (Laughter)

It is rather funny to me. So, if I say to my son, “I love you,” that is not love; at least, I don’t think so. I don’t think so because true love is not spoken. True love is never said. True love is experienced. Love is not an outer expression.

Then I may express tomorrow: “My son, I don’t like you. I don’t love you any longer these days because you are not hearing me. How many times can I send you money orders? You want money from me. How long can I send to you? So, I don’t love you, my son. Okay? Stop asking and then I’ll start loving you again.” (Laughter)

So, all that we say is love is not love. It is just lust. We should move from lust to love. We are already happy with all the objects around. We should know that all matter does not matter, but we want God. It doesn’t matter -- no more of matter. We have had enough of it.

From matter to god, from seen to unseen

We have enjoyed all the comforts and conveniences in life. Now it is time to think of God. Yes, now is the time to find our refuge in Him. It is time to find our identification with Him. It is time that we enjoy Him, so let us move from matter to God, from the seen to the unseen.

“Swami, all people love me; all people respect me. Why? Because of You.” Yes, I see everybody respecting me, but Swami’s blessing behind it is unseen. Yes, I am selected; I am promoted. It is seen. But Swami’s blessing behind it is unseen.

Therefore, the unseen hand of God behind everything that happens in our life should be experienced, moving us from seen to unseen. “For means of living, yes, I go on earning money. I do two to three jobs. Even after retirement, I want to work on, superannuation. I don’t want to retire.” I want to go on earning, earning, earning because that should take me to burning later! (Laughter) Yes, there’s no limit to this earning. So my friends, from means of living or earning, earning -- yes, stop it! It should take me to that situation when I know, when I begin to understand the goal of life. I should go from the means of life to the goal of life.

From instant to Constant

Then, I want everything immediately -- instant food, instant coffee…instant moksha also, if possible, instant moksha! (Laughter) However, instant moksha is not possible. We should understand that ‘instant’ is applicable to the world, but that God is constant.

So, our travel is from the instant to the constant, from darkness to light -- Thamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya, from the temporal to the eternal, from the sentient to the insentient, from the ephemeral to the permanent. All this external world is temporal. All this is changing. We must go from untruth to Truth.

What is the Truth? The only Truth is God. That’s all. Sathyam, Truth is God. God is Truth. “Live in Truth,” says Bhagavan. Everything else is untruth. Yes, God is Truth because He has taken on a myriad of forms. The same God has put on so many forms. (Anil Kumar chanted parts from the Veda here.) This is a chanting of a Veda that you must be hearing every day. You must have been hearing all that. Who are you? All of us are sparks of the Divine. We consider ourselves separate. We consider ourselves different, but we are not separate. We are all one. That is what we have to understand. The Truth is that we are One. That is what Swami says quite often: “All are One, my dear son. Be alike to everyone.”

From Death to immortality

And finally comes, “From death to Immortality”: Mrityur Maa Amritham Gamaya.

Asato Maa Sad Gamaya,
Thamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya,
Mrityur Maa Amritham Gamaya.

Led us from untruth to Truth,
Led us from darkness to Light,
Led us from death to Immortality.

After all, Bhagavan has said many times that death is the dress of life. (Anil Kumar sang the sloka.) One season after another season, we go on changing our dresses -- evening dress, sports dress and nightdress. When I change my dress, I don’t cry. While changing the dress, if I cry, there is something wrong with me. I should consult the psychiatrist. So, changing the body from one to another body is equal to changing our dress or moving from one room to another room. That’s all.

One season gives place to another season, summer, winter, rainy season, and so on like that. Seasons come and go. But we don’t cry, “Oh God, I know summer is passed. Okay, is it over? No, no, I want summer throughout the year!” Nobody would say that, particularly in Puttaparthi! Do you say that? No. (Laughter) So, seasons come and go. It is the same for this body, moving from death to Immortality. Really, there is no death at all, spiritually speaking.

Spiritually speaking, the word ‘death’ is totally wrong. But from the worldly point of view, we use the word ‘death’ because we use the word ‘birth.’ Where there is birth, there is death. When there is no birth, there is no death. Actually, there is no birth at all. There is only the dress that has been taken up now. The wave is born on the ocean. Then the wave gets merged back in the ocean. The water bubbles are born; the foam is collected over the waves. And then the foam and the waves get merged back in the ocean. They have no separateness whatsoever. Therefore, my friends, that Immortality, that eternity, that Oneness is the Divinity, which is the main message of Deepavali. May Baba bless you. (Applause)

Questions - - October 26th, 2003

We have one or two questions. We will complete it quite soon.

Q. I am a devotee of Swami and have been for the past four years. Does Swami know about me? Does He know of my love and devotion for Him?

Good. The answer is quite simple. Bhagavan Himself said, “Nobody can be here unless I will, unless I decide.” So, you have been here for four years, not because of your choice or because of your preference. No, no, no! We are all here because He wants us to be here, not necessarily that we wanted to be here. (Applause) Let us be very clear, because I can also put it this way if you’ll excuse me. We are here in spite of us! (Laughter) This is not a city. This not a place of comfort. This is not a place of luxury. This is not a place of entertainment. Five star, super star hotels are not available here, no entertainment, nothing. This is not Las Vegas! (Laughter)

Then why are we here? My friends, we are here because He dragged us or brought us, and kept us here. (Silence) That’s all. (Applause) He silenced all of our emotions. He silenced all of our desires. He has switched off our mind, and made us live comfortably with the fellow mosquitoes all around. (Laughter) Sometimes every one of us begins to wonder how we are able to live here. (Laughter) We don’t meet people with a smiling face. Nobody will greet us. “Why are you here? Get up. Go there.” If you go there, “Come here.” (Laughter) What is all this? (Laughter)

My friends, we are still able to get along. (Laughter) We are here. We are still able to bear all this. Why? Sathya Sai, the spirit, is responsible, not the people around here. I’m very much sure about it. So, my friends, when you say that you are here for the last four years, that is enough of a guarantee to say that you are chosen, you are selected, not by your own will, but by Bhagavan Baba Himself. (Applause)

Q. The thought for the day of the 18th September, 2003 revealed: “Man has been given a hundred years of life and plenty of work to fill the years with, but you fritter the time with playful games, founding and fostering a family.” What does Baba mean, ‘We fritter the time in founding and fostering a family?’ Is there something wrong in founding and fostering a family?

Good question. Swami will never say that to lead a family life is wrong, no. I’ll put it this way. “Be in the world, but not of the world.” Be not worldly. Swami gave an example: A boat is on the surface of the water, but the water is not in the boat. If the water is in the boat, it will be in the next day’s newspaper: ‘Fifty Fellows Drowned’. (Laughter) Am I not right? Similarly, we are on the surface of the waters of family life, but above it, over it. So you can be in the world, but yet out of the world.

Another example: The lotus flower is born in the mud, surrounded by water, but the flower is above the surface of the water, untouched by the water and mud as well. That’s the exemplary example that Bhagavan has given all of us. Be in the world, yet above the world. You can be in the world, but you cannot be of the world. That is what Swami said. Condemnation of life, negativity about life is not spirituality. Spirituality is life affirmative. Spirituality is life positive. It is not life negative, no!

Q. “What does Baba say about Vastu? Vastu Sastra is a special science that speaks of the engineering constructions, where such a building has to be constructed in the north or something like that.”

I don’t have enough information about what Baba has said about Vastu. I have no information, but the experts and experienced people tell me that all the constructions here totally agree with the science of Vastu. Vastu is a science that tells where the kitchen should be, where the dining hall should be, where the bedroom should be. People say that all the Prasanthi constructions are in perfect agreement with Vastu, but I have no knowledge to quote Swami here right now about what He has to say about this particular topic.

Q. “Sir, we all agree that all human beings, irrespective of cast and creed, are in search of the so-called unknown in the physical world, which is peace or universal Love, or Self- realisation. We also agree that Swami has incarnated in the world for this very purpose, to help or lead of us on the path so that we can reach the destination. Now, sir, you are in the proximity of the physical form of the Avatar, and also on constant physical talking terms, more than anybody else in the world. Do you feel that you have come to the end of the search, or feel that you have accomplished the task of this life, or do you feel fulfilment can be attained in the near future? What exactly is your inner feeling? Sorry, sir, for asking a personal question, but this is out of curiosity. (Laughter)

The answer is this: You and I are very close to Swami. We are talking to Him every day. Does it mean the end of the search? Does it mean that we have accomplished what we should do? Should we declare that we have reached the end of our journey? No sir, because when I say, “I achieved,” ‘I’ is the barrier. Until ‘I’ is gone, ‘I’ am yet to go. (Laughter) So as long as ‘I’ is there, there is still a long way to go.

If you say, “I have come to the end of the journey”, no, you have made but a beginning, because ‘I’ is still there. You have not come to the end. In fact you are still at the beginning. (Laughter) If you say, “I have accomplished”, you have not! You are yet to accomplish. You are here to know what is to be accomplished because, my friends, when once this ‘I’-ness is gone, there’s nothing to be achieved. There is nothing to be accomplished, because it is already here! It is already here.

There is a curtain there, but the board is here. The curtain is there just in front of it. Because of the curtain, you are not able to see the board. Because of the curtain, you are not able to see the letters. Now, remove the curtain! Take it off. You can see the board.

Similarly, there is the spirit, the Divinity, the Prajnana, the awareness, within you. The curtain of ‘I’-ness, of ego has got to be lifted, that’s all. It is not the beginning of the road or the end of the road, because this road is the beginning and the end. It is the beginning and the end, because it is already there. I do not know. When I begin to see that is the beginning, when I experience that it is the end, it is the beginning and the end, too. (Laughter) The only thing is it is unknown at one time and known later.

I really appreciate those who have put those questions. Thank you very much. May Bhagavan bless everyone in your families on the happy occasion of sacred Deepavali. Thank you very much. (Applause)


Asato Maa Sad Gamaya,
Thamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya,
Mrityur Maa Amritham Gamaya.

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

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti


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