Obtain Divine Grace by
obeying your Parents
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
giving His Divine Discourse on
18th September 2004 (Ganesh Chaturthi) at
Text of the Divine Discourse
delivered by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on 18th September 2004
(Ganesh Chaturthi) at Prashanti Nilayam, Sai Kulwanth Hall
The moon illumines the world
at night and the sun during the day.
Righteousness illumines the three worlds, and a virtuous son
illumines his entire lineage.
Embodiments of Love!
A virtuous son is greater than even those who have acquired
Jnana (knowledge), Vijnana (wisdom), Sujnana
and Prajnana (constant integrated awareness). Lord
Vinayaka is such a virtuous son. Every individual has a Guru.
But, Vinayaka has no Guru at all. He is the Guru of Gurus and
the leader of leaders. He is called by the name "Vinayaka" since
He has no leader above Him and He is the leader for all.
Embodiments of Love!
Whenever a new task is undertaken, it is customary to perform
Puja to Lord Vinayaka to invoke His blessings for the successful
completion of the task. Even while starting a musical concert,
the singers pray to Lord Vinayaka with the kirtan, "Vinayaka
Nannu Brovara" (Oh! Lord Vinayaka! Please come to my help).
It is only when you thus pray to Lord Vinayaka and seek His
blessings, will all your task meet with success.
Lord Vinayaka has an elephant's head and trunk. It denotes that
Vinayaka can be compared to an elephant in intelligence, which
always thinks twice before setting its foot forward. Similarly,
it is only after intelligent discrimination that Vinayaka moves
forward. The four letters in the word Ganapathi (ga,
na, pa and ti) denote that Lord Vinayaka is
full of Vijnana, Sujnana and Prajnana.
People today forget the underlying meaning in the name
'Ganapati' and engage themselves in mere rituals. You may not
perform any rituals, but, never give up worshipping Lord
Vinayaka. Especially, it is the foremost duty of the students to
come under the leadership of Vinayaka, who is a leader unto
Himself. You would not find a parallel to Lord Vinayaka. When
you take such a Lord as your ideal and pursue your studies, you
will be able to master all branches of education. Vinayaka has a
big tummy, which is full of Jnana (wisdom). That wisdom
is His power. We should worship such a powerful Lord. No one can
comprehend the true nature of Lord Vinayaka, fully.
Lord Vinayaka is the leader for one and all. He is the divine
father and mother to everybody. In accordance with the prayer
Twameva Matha cha Pitha Twameva, Twameva Bandhuscha Sakha
Twameva, Twameva Vidya Dravinam Twameva (He alone is the
father and mother, friend and relation, wisdom and wealth to
every individual). No one else can be compared to Lord Vinayaka
in terms of power and prowess in this world. The world is unable
to recognise the true nature of such a divine leader. We are,
today, prepared to accept the leadership of ordinary mortals.
This is an unfortunate situation.
Today is the holy day commemorating the birth of Lord Vinayaka.
In fact, He has no birth at all. He created the entire universe.
All the Vedas are the result of the divine sankalpa of
Lord Vinayaka. All forms of knowledge have originated from
Embodiments of Love!
Lord Vinayaka does not know what anger is. He is the embodiment
of love. Where there is love, bad qualities like anger, passion,
conceit etc., cannot gain entry. You might have witnessed the
facial features of Vinayaka. Did His face ever reflect anger?
No. He will always be smiling. Vinayaka is omnipresent. People
attribute a particular place as the birthplace of God and
consider it as a Kshetra (a sacred place of pilgrimage).
But, no single place can be ascribed as the birthplace of God.
He is Swayambhu (Self-emergent). There is no specific
place which can be ascribed as place of birth, place of
upbringing, etc., for God. He is omnipresent. God will manifest
in such a place where people get rid of their bad qualities and
sincerely pray to Him with devotion. He is Gunatheetha
(beyond attributes). He is Nirgunam, Niranjanam,
Sanathanam, Niketanam, Nitya, Shuddha,
Buddha, Mukta, Nirmala Swarupinam (God is
attributeless, pure, final abode, eternal, unsullied,
enlightened, free and embodiment of sacredness).
God appears to be angry at times. But, that is not real anger.
In order to put the devotees on the right path, He pretends to
be angry. If He does not pretend so, there is no chance for the
devotees to change their behaviour. His pretending to be angry
is just a drama. God has no trace of anger in Him. When we
commit mistakes or tread the wrong path, we are afraid that God
will be angry with us. But, God only pretends to be angry on
such occasions so that you become aware of your own faults and
deficiencies. For example, when Swami keeps Himself away from
you, you feel very sad and think that Swami is not talking to
you because He is angry with you. In fact, Swami does not know
what anger is. He is the embodiment of love. He is full of love.
However, on some rare occasions when He speaks harshly, it might
be misconstrued that He is angry. This is quite natural even in
our day-to-day life. When you call somebody, "Son! Please come
here," it sounds that you are calling him with love. But, if the
same words are uttered with a raised voice (in an angry mood),
it looks as though you are angry. Therefore, all these are
variations in expression and nothing else. The same was the case
with Sage Durvasa, whose expressions revealed anger and thus
became synonymous for anger. But in fact, Sage Durvasa had no
anger at all!
During the Mahabharata war, Aswatthama, the son of Dronacharya,
took a terrible vow to annihilate all the Pandavas. Having come
to know of this, Droupadi prayed to Krishna to save the Pandavas.
The leelas of the Lord are not only wonderful but also
mysterious. God enacts dramas and even changes the scenes in His
play for the welfare and safety of His devotees. In this
instance, the Lord saved the Pandavas with a delicate touch that
He alone is capable of.
He went to Sage Durvasa. He was immensely delighted to receive
Krishna. The sage asked, "Lord, what brought You to my humble
ashram?" Krishna smiled and said, "I have a small job for you."
The sage was happy and said, "I am at Your service. You just
have to command." Krishna then said, "Good! Tonight, you have to
save the Pandavas." Durvasa was puzzled and asked, "Lord, it is
You who protect everything in creation. Who am I to do that
job?" Krishna replied, "That is a different matter. But for this
job, you will be My instrument. I extend protection in many
different ways. On this occasion, you have to do something
specific as per My instructions." Durvasa wanted to know what it
was and Krishna continued, "Dig a pit, ask the Pandavas to hide
themselves in it, cover it with planks, grass and mud, and then
take your seat on the shelter so prepared. The enemies of the
Pandavas may come and ask you about the whereabouts of the
Pandavas. They may say, "You know the past, present and future.
Please tell us where the Pandavas are hiding." Durvasa
intervened and said, "Lord, I cannot tell a lie." Krishna
countered, "Did I ask you to utter falsehood? I am Myself the
Embodiment of Truth, and I will always ask you to speak only the
truth. However, you are at liberty to change your voice suitably
to achieve the desired result. I am sure you understand." The
sage nodded and smiled.
Some time later, after the Pandavas were hidden, Aswatthama came
there, exactly as Krishna had foretold. Durvasa was sitting with
his eyes closed. Bowing to the sage, Aswatthama enquired, in a
most humble manner, about the whereabouts of the Pandavas.
Durvasa slowly opened his eyes; which were like flame. Angrily
he roared, "Yes, the Pandavas are here, right below me."
Aswatthama was frightened because the sage was well known for
his bad temper and his propensity to curse those whom he is
angry with. Promptly, he fled from the scene, and the Pandavas
were duly saved. All Avatars employ such techniques, and Swami
too does the same when required.
The sages and saints, yogis and jnanis for ages
have been providing rakshana (protection) and sikshana
(correction) and make people tread the right path. Sage Durvasa
did the same thing. Ignorant people accuse him of being one of
anger in spite of being a great tapasvin. But, those people who
are able to understand the real intention behind his apparent
anger realise the truth. God has no anger. In fact, one who has
anger is not fit to be called God at all!
Once Mother Parvati and Easwara called Vinayaka and His younger
brother Subrahmanya, and advised them to go round the world.
They also told them that whoever came first would be given a
phala (fruit) as reward. This competition was intended to
demonstrate the greatness of Vinayaka to the world. The younger
brother Subrahmanya immediately plunged into action. He mounted
His vehicle, the peacock, to fly round the world. But, Vinayaka
did not move and sat in His own place. Easwara then enquired,
"My dear son! Why did You not start on Your journey round the
world?" Vinayaka laughed at this question and replied "Oh!
Father! I need not go anywhere. The fruit of all My journey
round the world is right in front of me." So saying, Vinayaka
made a Pradakshina (circumambulation) round His father
and mother (Lord Easwara and Mother Parvati) and sat down
calmly. He claimed victory in the race. In the meanwhile,
Subrahmanya came there, after completing His journey round the
world. He was very much tired and reported to His father about
His successful completion of the task. Lord Easwara then
declared Vinayaka as the winner in the race and handed over the
fruit to Him. The place where this episode took place is called
Palani, in the State of Tamil Nadu.
The underlying meaning in this story is that the parents are the
very embodiment of divinity and it is enough if one does
pradakshina to them in reverence. That would be tantamount
to the punya (merit) acquired by visiting all the holy
shrines in the world. Without the parents, there can be no son
at all! If children are to be virtuous, it is the parents who
have to take care of them. The parents are responsible for the
success of their children in all the endeavours.
It is common practice for students to visit temples during
examination time and pray for success in the examinations. They
offer coconuts in the temples with the pocket money given by
their parents. These are all external practices, which have
little to do with sincere devotion. If they really wish to
achieve success in their endeavour, it is enough if they please
their parents and obtain their blessings. If they are satisfied,
you are sure to succeed. In order to drive home the point that
children should strive to please and satisfy their parents
first, Lord Easwara and Mother Parvati arranged this competition
of going round the world for Lord Vinayaka and Lord Subrahmanya.
If you want to obtain the grace of God, it is enough if you obey
the command of your parents lovingly. There is no greater
divinity than the parents who are present right in front of your
eyes. They have struggled hard in several ways to bring you up
to the present state. They made a lot of sacrifice, so that you
may come up in life. No parent would ever like to displease his
children. They appear to be angry sometimes and may even give
some punishment, but that is only outward. In their heart of
hearts, they have abundant love for you. Even if they pretend to
be angry, it is for your own good. The stream of infinite love
ever flows in their hearts. Here is a small example: When the
child does some mischief, the mother gives a beating. But, how?
The beating merely produces sound but does not cause any pain to
the child. Her anger is borne out of love only. On certain
occasions, they may show anger, but it is only temporary. It is
never permanent. You may think that your parents are angry with
you. But, that is your own misunderstanding; you may not be able
to understand their love, which is lying dormant. Even if they
show anger and say "chee" (an expression in Telugu to indicate
one's disapproval), it is only out of love. Students shall,
therefore, try to understand the real nature of their parents.
In fact, one's anger is his own enemy, and happiness, his
heaven. One should always be happy. A person with anger and
irritable temperament can never achieve anything. Vinayaka is
one who always obeyed his parents' command. That is why it is
said that there is no leader above Him. Students sometimes ask
for money from their parents to go to a cinema. When parents
refuse, they think that the parents are angry. These are trivial
issues. The parents, especially the mother, will be even ready
to sacrifice her life, in order to save her children in times of
danger. Unfortunately, today there are sons who even go to a
court of law against their mothers. It is, therefore, essential
that they change their attitude towards their parents and
realise that they are verily embodiments of love.
Any number of diversions or silly thoughts may arise in
children, but the parents' love towards their children remains
unwavering. There are several sons in the world who are angry
with their parents, but relationship of the parents and their
children is one of love only. Whatever differences that may
arise between them are only temporary. The relationship between
parents and their children is one of love, nothing else. Lord
Vinayaka is the embodiment of love. He always showers love only.
When He was acting as a scribe to write the Mahabharata
to the dictation of Sage Vyasa, he displayed the same attitude
of love. Since He was the embodiment of Love, Vyasa selected Him
particularly to undertake the duty of a scribe. Throughout the
period of writing the Mahabharata, Vinayaka displayed
this quality of pure love. That is why you do not find even a
single mistake in the Mahabharata. Since He was flawless,
His word was also flawless. You do not find the bad qualities of
anger, jealousy, envy or pride in Vinayaka. They are the
qualities of a human being devoid of noble qualities.
Dear students! From today onwards, you give up whatever
little anger you have towards your parents and cultivate pure
love towards them. Love begets love. Receive love from your
parents in abundance and prosper in life.
Today is the festival of Vinayaka Chaturthi. It is a very
important festival. There is a custom in some families to invite
the newly married son-in-law for the festival. Therefore, do not
hesitate to go to your in-law's house to spend some time happily
Oh newly married bridegroom, visit your in-laws' house,
Come, spend your time in fun and frolic with your
brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law,
The entire household and the neighbourhood will honour you with
love and affection.
When a son-in-law visits his spouses parents' house, the entire
household gets into a festive mood. One is sure to feel happy
and mentally relaxed. There are, however, some stone-hearted
sons-in-law, who cultivate ill-feelings towards their in-laws
and do not visit their house. Such ill-feelings are the result
of food. As is the food, so is the head. The feelings of the
heart reflect the thought in the head (mind). Therefore, we must
take the right food. You should never take such food as would
kindle the flames of anger and envy in you. Since ancient times,
sages in India have observed strict diet regulations. They
always made it a point to consume sattwic food, not
rajasic food. By consuming rajasic food, anger is
generated. On the other hand, if you consume thamasic
food, you will feel sleepy even while you eat. Therefore, both
rajasic and thamasic types of food must be
avoided. Only sattwic food must be taken. Excess of
chillies, salt and sour items must be avoided in food. Before
you take food, never forget to offer your prayers:
Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmaiva Thena Ganthavyam
Brahma Karma Samadhina.
(Brahman is the ladle as well as the oblation. He is the
sacrificial fire as also the sacrificer. And finally, Brahman is
the goal of one who is engaged in the act of sacrifice.)
When you pray in this manner before you partake of your food,
God immediately responds thus:
Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva
(I am present in all beings in the form of digestive fire.
United with the Prana (exhalation) and Apana
(inhalation), it is I who consume the four kinds of food.)
While taking food, you must always ensure that you take only
such items which you can easily digest. Never consume food which
you cannot digest. Just as you sit down happily for taking food,
so also when you get up after taking your food, you must feel
happy and light. Some people sit for food with a light stomach
and get up with a heavy stomach after eating bellyful. This is
not the proper method of taking food.
Always take light food. These are the habits you must cultivate
at least from this auspicious day of Vinayaka Chaturthi. If you
cultivate these good habits and qualities you can become as
great as Lord Vinayaka.
(Bhagawan concluded His discourse with the Bhajan, "Prema
Muditha Manase Kaho?")