The universe is itself a university in which every
human being is a student. Every student pursues one subject and
acquires a degree. Each one chooses the subject he likes. But whatever
different subjects any may study, there is one thing common to all of
them, one common pursuit and goal: to obtain the degree of Divine
Love. In an army there are a variety of jobs to be done and a
hierarchy of ranks. But whatever the job, whether it is that of a
washerman, an orderly, a sentry, or a commander- disciplined drill at
the parade and the ability to use the rifle are essential requirements
for everyone. Likewise in the Cosmic University, though there are
scientific, political, economic, and other studies, what is
fundamental to all of them is spiritual knowledge.
Even in the spiritual field, there are special
subjects. There is one group which may be described as the Five D's:
Dedication, Devotion, Discipline, Discrimination, and Determination.
Those who have mastered the Five D's are qualified to receive God's
Dedication: It means offering. As soon as Swami
arrived (in the Auditorium) teachers and students made offerings of
flowers and offered their salutations. The flower symbolises the heart.
When you offer the flower of your heart to the Lord, it should be free
from the pests of desire, hatred, envy, greed and the like. Only pure
flowers are offered to the Lord or to those whom you revere. The
flower of the heart is subject to infestation by two evil creatures-
one is self-conceit (Ahamkaara); the other is envy (Asooya).
Self-conceit is based on eight different factors: wealth, physical
prowess, birth, scholarship, beauty, power and penance. Of these, the
arrogance born of wealth or scholarship is to be despised most. As
long as this conceit (Ahamkaara) is predominant, it is
impossible to recognise the Divine or one's spiritual reality.
Self-conceit is a great barrier between the individual and God. It has
to be utterly demolished.
Pride of wealth is another grievous human failing,
which causes the downfall of man. All forms of pride, based on birth,
wealth, power or scholarship, have to be given up totally. Only when
egoistic pride is offered as a sacrifice at the altar of the Divine
can man discover his true nature. This is the Dedication that is
called for as the first step in the spiritual journey.
Next comes Devotion. This is the highest form of your
love. "Service to Hrishikesh is known as Bhakti," says the
Sutra. Devotion means constant contemplation of God. The term
Bhakti is derived from the root Bhaj (to worship). Devotion
means loving contemplation of God, repetition of His Name, worshipping
Him and doing penance for Him. Service to the Lord is the highest
expression of devotion. There is nothing which is not attainable
through loving service to the Divine. Once Tulasidas was engaged in
meditation at the confluence of the three rivers (Ganga, Yamuna and
Saraswati). Rama and Lakshmana appeared before him as two young boys.
They asked him: " Kakaji! What is it you are doing?" Tulasidas replied:
"Children! I am doing service to Rama." The boys asked: "What is the
use of doing service to Rama?" Tulasidas replied: "Through service I
get a sweet." They said: " What is the use of getting a sweet? Once
you have eaten and digested it, nothing remains." Then Tulasidas
explained that the sweet gotten from others is digested in a brief
time. But the sweet given by God is His love, which is not digested
and cast away. When it is eaten, all hunger is appeased. The sweet of
Divine love illumines the spirit. When the oil of Devotion is put into
the lamp of the Antahkarana (the indwelling motivator) and the
wick of integral consciousness (Prajna) is lit by the fire of
spiritual enquiry, the flame of Self-knowledge shines effulgently.
Devotion does not mean merely doing bhajans or
performing puja. These forms of devotion at present are based
on some kind of self- interest and self-seeking. True devotion should
be free from selfish- ness of any kind. For the external observer all
appear to be devotees, filled with humility and piety. But internally,
their hearts are otherwise. Judging a student by his marks, he may
have a high rank. But as regards his conduct he is a blank. Likewise,
judging from external practices a person may appear to be a devotee.
But his heart and mind may be filled with evil. This sort of duplicity
should be given up. There should be the same loving devotion both
inside and outside. Devotion is not something o be proclaimed or
demonstrated. Exhibitionistic devotion may result in disaster. True
devotion should be an expression of love both internally and
Next comes discipline. This is most essential for
students. From the moment you wake up, you have to carry out your
morning ablutions, meditate on God and then do your prescribed duties
in an orderly manner without deviating from the regular routine.
Variations in the routine from day to day are undesirable. You should
not wake up at one hour on one day and at a different time on another
day. The day's activities should be regulated by the same schedule.
Immediately after finishing the morning chores, one should devote, in
the calm and serene atmosphere of the morning, at least a few minutes
to loving meditation on God. The human estate is based upon
regulations and self-control. These have to be strictly adhered to in
Then comes discrimination. The world is a mixture of
good and bad, of joy and sorrow, right and wrong, victory and defeat.
In a world replete with such opposites, man has to make constantly the
choice between what is right and proper and what is wrong or
undesirable. A man who has no such discriminating faculty is an animal.
Man should not let himself be guided by the mind. He should follow the
directions of his intelligence (Buddhi). As long as you follow
the mind, you cannot obtain Madhava (Divinity). Young people in their
tender years tend to follow the inclinations of the mind. They do not
rise to the level of their intelligence. Consequently, they are
subject to various agitations and frustrations. They have, therefore,
to learn to use their powers of discrimination. `I am a human being. I
am also a student seeking knowledge. In this condition, how should I
conduct myself so that I may win the respect and regard of others?'
These are the questions which each student should ask himself. He
should enquire on every occasion as to what is the right course and
what should be avoided. He should decide on what he should do and
where he should go after due enquiry. Having acquired knowledge, he
should not behave like an illiterate, uneducated person. His conduct
should be in keeping with his learning. Humility is the index of true
education. Without humility, scholarship will lack lustre.
Discrimination is essential for every student and educated man.
Determination is the fifth D. It is like the reins for
a horse. When you want to achieve something, you must have the
determination and persistence to secure it by all your efforts. No
room should be given for doubts and hesitations. There is nothing on
earth which cannot be achieved by firm determination.
Starting with Dedication, you end with Determination.
There is no use of relying solely on book knowledge or mere
intellectual cleverness. There must be firm faith in God as the basis
There is one kind of pest which affects the leaves and
branches of a There is another which destroys the roots of the tree.
Likewise a hypocrite is a human pest that can spoil a good man. The
hypocrite is not merely an actor. He poses as a devotee externally,
but is really evil-minded. He leads a double life. It is dangerous to
associate with such persons. Many good men in the world have come to
grief because of association with such pretenders.
WORLDLY AND DIVINE LOVE
Love is of two kinds: One is related to the physical
and the other relates to the Divine. All the fears and delusions
afflicting the world, all the chaos and violence prevalent today, are
due primarily to physical attachments. These are also responsible for
the falsehood, corruption and other evils rampant in society.
Preoccupation with the physical accounts for the evils in the
administration and even for international conflicts. Divine love knows
no differences among individuals or nations. Egoistic attachments and
selfishness are at the root all human troubles and conflicts. The
Mahabharata war was also the result of selfish and narrow attachments.
Dhritarashtra made a distinction between his own sons (Maamakaah)
and the Pandavas (the sons of his brother Pandu). This narrow
attachment was responsible for the complete ruin of the Kauravas.
Physical love should be confined to strict limits. If
the divine consciousness were not present within, of what use would
the body be? It would be as useless as a school without teachers, a
farm without water, a temple without a deity.
You must develop Divine Love. You must be resolute in
striving to achieve what you aim at. Only then will your devotion and
discipline bear fruit. There is no meaning in parading one's devotion.
The external human form has no significance. You must be human in your
actions and feelings. By reforming your conduct and purifying your
thoughts and actions, sanctify your lives. That alone is true
education, which will lead you to Self-realisation.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Divine Discourse, 16 Janyary 1988, Prashanti Nilayam