Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourses


Japasahitha Dhyaana

Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Chithravathi River Bed, Puttaparthi, 23 February 1958
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust

The devotee who spoke first here now was, let me tell you, denying God for twenty-five years and it is only since five years, after seeing Me, that he has changed. Of course, many people have had no experience which could change them and so they are not to be blamed of their want of faith. So too, this Seshagiri Rao here was finding fault with his son and daughters for coming to Puttaparthi, and himself for long refusing to come! One day at Bangalore, there was a function in the house opposite his, for I had gone there. During Bhajana (group singing of devotional songs), this man hesitantly crossed the road and peeped into the hall and I went forward and called him and made him sit near Me. I asked him to come to Puttaparthi and invited him to 'examine' and 'experience'. He has been with me ever since; it is now eighteen years since he first came here. This is just the reason why I came to sow the seeds of faith, in religion and in God. You might have heard some people say that I became Sai Baaba when a scorpion stung me! Well, I challenge any one of you to get stung by scorpions and transform yourself into Sai Baaba. No, the scorpion had nothing to with it! In fact, there was no scorpion at all! I came in response to the prayers of sages, saints and spiritual aspirants for the restoration of Dharma (righteousness).

The root Cause of all this Restlessness

When there is a sign of a little unrest, the police constable appears on the scene; if the mob gets unruly, the inspector rushes in; and if it becomes violent, the Superintendent of Police has to be personally present on the scene to quell it. If, however, the situation waxes hot, the Inspector-General has to make himself available, is it not? This is a situation in which the Inspector-General is taking overall charge of the situation. The Mahaapurushas, the Mahaathmas, the Jnaanis, the Yogis and the Dhevaamsa-sambhuuthas (sages, savants, saints, yogis and divine personalities) have had their try, and they will all be co-operating in the task of re-establishing righteousness and clearing the path for the world attaining Shaanthi (absolute peace).

The greatest defect today is the absence of Aathma vichaara (the inquiry into the nature of the self). That is the root cause of all this Ashaanthi (restlessness). If you are eager to know the truth about yourself, then even if you do not believe in God, you will not go astray. The pots are all of mud, the ornaments are all of gold, the clothes are all of yarn. There is a unity where one saw only diversity; the basic substance is one and indivisible. That is Brahman (supreme reality), that is the Aathma, which is your own basic substance too.

This Aathma vichaara is best found in the Upanishaths. Just as a river's flow is regulated by bunds and the flood waters are directed to the sea, so too the Upanishaths regulate and restrict the senses, the mind and the intellect and help one to reach the sea and merge individuality in the absolute. Study the Upanishaths with a view to act accordingly, to put the advice into practice.

Scanning a map or turning over a guide-book will not give you the thrill of the actual visit, nor will it give you a fraction of the joy and knowledge of a journey through that land. The Upanishaths and the Geetha are only maps and guide-books, remember.

Call upon the Lord in your own Heart

There is the story of a rustic who sat among a gathering of devotees and listened to the exposition of the Geetha by a great Pandith. All were wonder-struck by the scholarly commentary which the Pandith gave and his learned disquisition on each word and phrase and the rustic, though the exposition was very much over his head, seemed to attend very closely of he was all the time in tears! When at last the Pandith asked him why he was weeping, he surprised everybody by the sincerity of his Bhakthi. For he said that he wept at the predicament of the Lord, who had to sit at the head of the chariot and half turning his neck hold forth so long to convince the dull-witted Arjuna. "How much pain must He be suffering in His neck?" he asked and wept. That was real devotion, a sure passport to spiritual victory. He had identified himself with participants in the episode and the whole setting had become alive for him.

You need not even read the Geetha or the Upanishaths. You will hear a Geetha specially designed for you if you call upon the Lord in your own heart. He is there, installed as your own charioteer. Ask Him and He will answer. Have the form of the Lord before you when you sit quietly in a place for meditation and have His name, that is, any name when you do Japam (repetition of holy name). If you do Japam, without that picture or form before you, who is to give the answer? You cannot be talking all the time to yourself. The Ruupam (form) will hear and the Ruupam will respond.

All agitations must cease one day, is it not? The Dhyaana of the form and the Japam of the name - that is the only means for this task.

Stick to the Name and Form you like the most

The secret is: you should 'be', but not be as in sleep, when you are aware deep down within you, that you are. Only, sleep is enveloped in Maayaa (delusion). Awake from that delusion, but immerse yourself in this sleep that is real Samaadhi (superconscious state of bliss). Japam and Dhyaanam, are means by which you can compel even the concretisation of the divine grace, in the form and with the name you yearn for. The Lord has to assume the form you choose, the name you fancy; in fact, you shape Him so. Therefore, do not change these two, but stick to the ones that please you most, whatever the delay or the difficulty.

Do not get discouraged that you are not able to concentrate for long from the very beginning. When you learn to ride a bicycle, you do not get the skill of keeping the balance immediately. You push the cycle along to an open maidan and hop and skip, leaning now to one side and now to the other and even fall with the cycle upon you on many an attempt before you are able to ride with skill and never again to worry about the balance. Automatically, you are able to make the necessary adjustments to correct the balance, is it not? After getting this skill, you can ride through the narrow streets and lanes and you do not need an open maidan; you can negotiate your vehicle through the most crowded thoroughfares. So too practice will equip you with a concentration that will sustain you in the densest of surroundings and the most difficult situations.

The best Saadhana for the Beginners

Do not be under the impression that I will be angry with you if you don't accept Me as the Dhyaana ruupam (form for meditation)! I am not concerned at all; you have perfect freedom to select the name and form that give you necessary encouragement. When you meditate, the mind often runs after something else, it takes another road. You have then to plug that outlet by means of the name and the form and see that the even flow of your thoughts towards the Lord is not interrupted; if it happens again, use the name and the form again, quickly. Do not allow the mind to go beyond the twin bunds, this side Naama and that side Ruupam! Then it will not stray into a third place.

First, when you sit for meditation, recite a few Shlokas on the glory of God, so that the thoughts that are scattered could be collected. Then gradually, while doing Japam, draw before the mind's eye the form which that name represents. When your mind wanders away from the recital of the name, take it on to the picture of the form. When it wanders away from the picture, lead it on to the name. Let it dwell either on that sweetness or this. Treated thus it can be easily tamed. The imaginary picture you have drawn will get transmuted into the Bhaava chithram (emotional picture), dear to the heart and fixed in the memory; gradually it will become the Saakshaathkaara chithram - when the Lord assumes that form in order to fulfil your desire.

Use the Body as an Instrument for spiritual Practice

This Saadhana (spiritual practice) is called Japa sahitha dhyaana (meditation on the Lord's name and form) and I advise you all to take it up, for it is the best for beginners. Within a few days, you will fall in line and you will taste the joy of concentration. After about ten or fifteen minutes in the initial stages and longer after some time of this Dhyaana, have some Manana (inward contemplation) on the Shaanthi and the Sowkhya (peace and contentment) you had during the Dhyaana; that is to say, bring back into your memory the joy you experienced. This will help your faith and earnestness. Then, do not get up suddenly and start moving about, resuming your avocations. Loosen the limbs slowly, deliberately and gradually, and then enter upon your usual duties. Taste the fruits of Dhyaana and learn to relish them; that is what I mean by this process of Manana (repeated reflection).

Be careful about your physical health also. Satisfy the demands of nature; the car must be given the petrol which it needs. Otherwise, your head might reel and your eyes might get blurred through sheer exhaustion; how can thoughts of the Lord be stabilised in a weak frame? Only, do not forget the purpose of this body when you are tending it. A road-roller is fed with oil and coal and other types of fuel. But why is it kept in good trim? In order to mend the road, is it not? Similarly, remember that you have come embodied, so that you might realise the end of this cycle of birth and death. For that sake, use the body as an instrument.

Flying hither and thither, higher and higher, the bird has at last to perch on a tree for rest. So too, even the richest and the most powerful man seeks rest, Shaanthi. Peace can be got only in one shop, in inner reality. The senses will drag you along into a mire, which submerges you deeper and deeper in alternate joy and grief, that is to say, prolonged discontent. Only the contemplation of unity can remove fear, rivalry, envy, greed desire - all the feelings that prompt discontent. Every other avenue can give only pseudo-contentment; a day will come when you will throw away all these play-things and toys and cry, "Lord! Grant Me unruffled peace." The dacoit Vaalmeeki prayed so; the confirmed atheist too has one day to pray for peace and rest.

Engage yourself in good Thoughts and Deeds

People hug brass pots and take them to be gold, but they have to polish them so that they may appear bright. One day, they will get disgusted with this constant polishing and scrubbing; they will pray, "Release me from this scrubbing, this birth, this suffering and this agony." Life is short; time is fleeting: your Saadhana is creeping at tortoise speed. When will you decide to proceed a little faster? Your Saadhana is like the answers you write at the examination. If you get only 5 or 6 marks, then the examiner will strike out even that, saying, "What is the use of these few marks: it will take him neither here nor there." If you get somewhere near the passing marks, then grace will give you just a little more so that you may pass, provided you have been a diligent, well-behaved student.

Engage yourselves in good deeds, good company and good thoughts. Fix your attention on the goal. You have not realised yet the secret of this advent. You are indeed lucky, more fortunate than many others. It is only when Yasodha found every length of rope a little short to go round His belly that she discovered He was the Lord. So too, you will realise every description of My Mahima (divine glory) a little too short of the actuality; and then you will get convinced. Meanwhile if you study the Shaasthras and know the characteristics of the Avathaar of the Lord, you might get a glimpse of the truth regarding Me.

You will know the Truth when you experience

There is no use arguing and quarrelling among yourselves; examine, experience; then you will know the truth. Do not proclaim before you are convinced; be silent while you are still undecided or engaged in evaluating. Of course, you must discard all evil in you before you can attempt to evaluate the mystery. And, when faith dawns, fence it around with discipline and self-control so that the tender shoot might be guarded against the goats and cattle, the motley crowd of cynics and unbelievers. When your faith grows into a big tree, those very cattle can lie down in the shade that it will spread.

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