Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Divine Discourses


The Fifth Veda

Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, 23 April 1963
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust

Gullapalli Buuchiraamayya Shaasthry spoke about the Mahaabhaaratha so well and with so much scholarship, as he has been specialising in its exposition for years. The Mahaabhaaratha is considered by many as not so conductive to Bhakthi as the Bhaagavatha for instance, or as the Raamaayana; but, if once you know the taste, no one will give it up or consider it as of lower value. It is called the Fifth Vedha, not without reason. The Vedhas reveal things that are beyond the reach of the intellect. The truths declared by the Vedhas are made practicable and simple, interesting and instructive, by means of stories and homilies in the Mahaabhaaratha.

The Puurva Meemaamsa (analysis of Vedhic statements concerning rituals) deals with the Pravritthi maarga (path of worldly desire) and the Utthara Meemaamsa with the Nivriththi maarga (path of renunciation). Puurva Meemaamsa deals with the Kaarana (reason) and the Utthara Meemaamsa, with the Kaaryam (duty), which is Jnaanam. In the Mahaabhaaratha, both the paths are fully explained. So, it is called the Fifth Vedha. It is the Vedhasaara (essence of Vedha) itself. In Thelugu there is a proverb. "If it is a question of listening, listen to Bhaaratham; if it is a question of eating, eat Gaarlu." That is because the Bhaaratham gives in sweet simple style all the inspiration that a man needs for this world and for the next.

Where there is Dharma, Victory is assured

The Vedha saadhana has four pillars on which it stands - Sathya, Dharma, Shaanthi and Prema. They have to be practised, experienced and their combined result, namely, Aanandha has to be enjoyed. Krishna told the Paandavas that He did not know anything about the fateful dice game, which started the succession of calamities. "I was in Dwaaraka at the time," He said. Dwaaraka means the citadel with the nine gates or Dwaaras, the Body itself. Krishna is the witness of everything; anything done without His approval or without being dedicated to Him will be a failure.

The five Paandava brothers are the Five Praanas (vital energies), symbolised in story, and with the help of the Lord, they won the battle against the forces of evil. Where there is Dharma, victory is assured. The Mahaabhaaratha teaches that truth. The Pandavaas had many temptations placed before them to slide back into A-dharma; but, they held on to the difficult path of Dharma and won. The status of manhood has been won after aeons of arduous struggle and to waste it in vain pursuits forgetting the Dhivyathvam (divinity) which has to be manifested is indeed pitiable.

God weighs only the Feeling behind Prayer

Dhroupadhi praying in distress from the Assembly Hall of the Kauravas is an instance in point. The Mahaabhaaratha proves times out of number that the Lord answers prayers that come out of faith and agony in yearning. There was a cowherd called Maaladhaasa who was determined to see the Lord, as He was described in the sacred texts he had heard expounded in the village temple by a Pandith. So he prayed and prayed to the "black Lord riding on the White bird" all the time his cows were pasturing in the fields. Eleven days passed; but, there was no sign of the "black Lord riding the white bird. He had forgotten to take food and drink during all those days and so, had become weak, too weak to walk or talk. At last, the Lord melted at his entreaties and presented Himself before him as an old Brahmin; but the Brahmin was not riding a white bird, nor was he black, beautifully black, as the Pandith had described. So, he asked the Brahmin to come the next day at seven in the morning, so that he may bring the Pandith and verify whether He was the Lord Himself. The Pandith laughed at the whole affair and refused to take part in it; but Maaladhaasa was so importunate that he agreed.

The entire village turned out on the river bank the next day, long before seven o'clock. The Brahmin was there, exactly as he had promised and Maaladhaasa showed Him to all. But, they could not see him! They began to laugh at the cowherd's antics and threatened him with a severe beating for bringing them along as butts for his joke. Maaladhaasa could see the Brahmin clearly but no one else could. At last, he got so enraged that he walked up to the old Brahmin and gave him a whacking blow on the cheek, saying, "Why don't you show yourself to all?"

That blow changed the entire scene. Krishna appeared in resplendent robes, smiling face, captivating form and the white bird. As the astounded villagers were recovering from the amazement, the Vimaana (heavenly chariot), floated down from the sky and Krishna asked Maaladhaasa to sit inside it. Then, with the Lord by his side Maaladhaasa rose up and soon was out of sight.

Mahaabharaatha is an Inspiration for all Time

The Lord always weighs only the feeling behind the prayer to satisfy and please; the Saguna form visible to the eye and cognisable by the senses, but something unapproachable by the senses (Indhriya-atheetha), has to be offered. In this way, Karma itself becomes Upaasana, by the addition to saturation point, of dedication. Rathi (attachment) is the seed; Bhaava (feeling) is the sapling; Prema (love) is the tree; Sath-Chith-Aanandha (being, awareness, bliss) is the fruit. The Vedhas have Karma, Upaasana and Jnaana (action, devotion and knowledge) sections. The Mahaabhaaratha teaches all three and so, for the Vedhavriksha (Vedha tree), the Bhaaratha can be said to be the fruit.

You have heard that the Lord comes down when Dharmaglaani (the decline of Dharma) happens; well, Vedhaglaani (the decline of the Vedhas) is equivalent to the decline of Dharma, for Vedha is the very root of Dharma. There are five treasures which the good always try to guard, and which you should endeavour to foster - the Cow, the Brahmin, the Vedhas, the Shaasthras, and Chastity. If these are lost, then, life is lost; everything that adds value to life is lost.

You are your own Foe and Friend

Where there is Dharma, there Krishna is; so, think for yourself, each one of you! How far have you deserved the grace of the Lord? You draw Him near; you keep Him far. You entangle yourself, bind yourself, and get caught in the trap. No one is your foe except yourself. No one else is your friend; you are your only friend. The Guru shows you the road; you have to trudge alone, without fear or hesitation.

The Mahaabhaaratha clearly explains the bunds which Sanaathana Dharma has constructed to direct the wild floods of the senses and the emotions, into the sea, without harming the banks. Brahmacharya (student celibate), Grihastha (householder). Vaanaprastha (recluse in the forest), Sanyaasa (ascetic) - these stages of life with the restrictions and regulations prescribed for each are such bunds to guard the individual and society from the upsurge of the beast in man. Even today, the Mahaabhaaratha can be of great help; it is an inspiration for all time, for all humanity. The battle between Dharmakshethra (the camp of virtue-bound noble Paandavas) and Kurukshethra (the camp of the egoistic wicked Kauravas) is ever on and however strong the Kurukshethra might appear to be, even if it has the Yaadhavas on its side, so long as the Lord is the charioteer, victory is certain for the champions of Dharma. Even now, when the Chinese are pressing on the frontier, the best armour for the country is Dharma, which will win the grace of God. What is not possible for a people who has won that?

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