76. Experiencing Unity of Man and God
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 29 (1996)
Experiencing Unity of Man and God
Editor’s note: This discourse does not appear in the Sathya Sai Speaks series. It appeared in Sanathana Sarathi, November 2012.
Neither by penance nor by pilgrimage nor by study of scriptures nor by japa (repetition of the name) can one cross the ocean of life. One can achieve it only by serving the pious.
One cannot attain the goal of life merely by going to the forest and performing penance, leaving family, friends, and property. Even if one attains mastery over six sastras (scriptures) and performs japa (repetition of the Name) from morning till night, one cannot find fulfillment in life. One should serve noble ones, serve society, and recognise the principle of oneness in order to cross the ocean of worldliness, which is the root cause of man’s endless cycle of birth and death.
In this wide world, there are many intellectuals and scientists, but do they have peace even for a moment in their life? Do they understand what peace and happiness mean? When one is not able to experience peace and happiness in life, what is the use of anything else?
Peace is the main goal of one’s life. Without peace, life is worthless. That is why Thyagaraja sang, “There is no happiness without peace.” One can be happy only when one has peace. On the other hand, if one has no peace, the entire life will become a nightmare. Everything appears dark to a blind man. Similarly, howsoever great you may be, the world is nothing for you when you are asleep.
Do not be under the delusion that eyes are meant to see anything and everything in this world. Even birds, animals, and insects have eyes. What is the use if one cannot see the divine effulgence with one’s eyes? Ears are given to listen to the divine sound of Pranava (Om), and the mind is meant to experience peace.
What is the reason that one is unable to experience peace? There are five types of roots of sorrow (kleshas) that cause suffering to humans. These are: ignorance, ego sense, desire, hatred, and fear of death (avidya, asmita, raga, dwesha, and abhinivesha).
What is meant by avidya? ‘Vid’ means knowledge. Therefore, avidya signifies lack of knowledge. What is that lack of knowledge? It is not the lack of worldly knowledge. It is the lack of knowledge of one’s divine nature. One considers oneself to be an ignorant mortal due to avidya. It is impossible for such a person to achieve peace. One who is in the grip of avidya leads a worldly life, identifying with the body and mind and lacking the wisdom to know that one is divine. Body attachment and attachment to the world cause immense suffering. All this is the result of avidya, which causes untold suffering to humans.
The second root of sorrow is ego sense (asmita). One is unable to recognise the root cause of this worldly life and all the suffering associated with it. One forgets that the mind is the root cause of all the suffering. As a result of this, one becomes a victim of ignorance and delusion. One is subjected to various types of sufferings because one is unable to control the mind, which causes all sufferings, sorrows, and difficulties. Asmita signifies the inability of man to understand the true nature of mind, which is the root cause of all suffering.
Desire (raga) is another root of sorrow that causes suffering. What is meant by raga? Here raga does not mean the tune of a song. To desire this, that, and everything signifies raga. When these desires become unlimited, raga becomes roga (disease). People undergo suffering because they are unable to control their desires.
Therefore, one should try to control desires. That is why it is said, “Less luggage more comfort.” It is because of limitless desires that one loses stability of mind, gets deluded, forgets the true and eternal principle of Divinity, and consequently undergoes enormous suffering. Therefore, first of all, put a check on your desires. As long as you have limitless desires, you cannot have peace. You may have desires, but they should be under a certain limit.
Then comes the root of suffering called hatred (dwesha klesha). In times of difficulties, sufferings, and losses, one expects help from someone close. But if that person declines to help, one’s expectation turns into hatred.
In this world, both good and bad cause suffering to people. All that is good does not necessarily give us happiness. and similarly, all that is bad does not always cause misery.
How does something good give us sorrow? Tulsidas gives an example of this. He said, “I offer my salutations to both good people and wicked ones.” You may say, there is some meaning in offering salutations to a good person, but what is the purpose in offering salutations to a wicked one? A wicked person causes suffering to you when you meet them. Similarly, a good person makes you sad when the good person leaves you. Therefore, Tulsidas offered his salutations to wicked people so that they would not come near him. Likewise, he offered his salutations to noble ones so that they would not go away from him.
Association with an evil person and separation from a noble one both cause suffering to man. Human life consists of union (samyoga) and separation (viyoga). It is described as an ocean with turbulent waves of samyoga and viyoga.
Who can judge what is good and what is bad? Therefore, as the Gita teaches, “One should remain equal-minded in happiness and sorrow, gain and loss, victory and defeat (Sukhadukhe samekruthwa labhalabhau jayajayau).” Treat both happiness and sorrow with equanimity.
In order to attain peace, you should exercise equal-mindedness. Do not consider someone as good and another as bad. See God in both. The same Atma is present in both. That is the feeling of oneness and Divinity (ekatma bhava and Divyatma bhava). Bodies are different, tendencies of mind are different, but Divinity is one and the same in all.
Identify yourself with the Self
Names and forms may vary, but Divinity does not change. As long as one observes differences, one cannot attain peace. That is why Tulsidas propagated the principle of oneness. He considered God as the indweller of all beings and experienced oneness.
I often tell you that you are not one person but three: the one you think you are, the one others think you are, and the one you really are, which signify identification with the body, with the individual soul, and with God (dehatma bhava, jivatma bhava, and Ekatma bhava).
All religions, be it Christianity, Islam, Jainism, or Sikhism, proclaim the same truth. Jesus first said, “I am the messenger of God.” Then he said, “I am the son of God.” In the third stage, he said, “I and my Father are one.” The same truth is reflected in the statements, “I am in the light, the light is in me, and I am the light.” The essence and goal of all religions is the same. God is one and the same for all.
Then why should there be differences, conflicts, arguments, and counter arguments? All these are the signs of ignorance. Only foolish people who do not understand the real meaning of Divinity create such disturbances and conflicts. Therefore, do not observe any differences whatsoever. Do not criticise any religion or any spiritual practice.
Everyone has a right to follow the path of their choice and experience happiness. When everyone is given the freedom to follow the religion of their choice in their own way, one can experience Divinity.
Do not think of others’ faults
How can you give peace to others when you yourself do not have it? Therefore, first of all, you yourself should attain peace. Thereafter, spread it in your own house and your village. In this manner, gradually spread peace everywhere.
Have peace within and without. This is the real spiritual practice. Moreover, do not become narrow-minded. Do not try to evaluate the good and bad of others. Develop your own goodness, and preserve your own purity. This should be your goal. On the other hand, if you look at the wickedness of others, their wickedness will enter you also.
In this regard, here is a small example. You have a camera, and you want to take a photo of someone in front of you. When you focus your lens on the person and press the button, you will capture their photo in your camera.
Similarly, when you focus the lens of your vision on the wickedness of others and press the button of intellect (buddhi), their wickedness will enter you.
Usually, people take the photo of those whom they like. Since you like good people, focus your mind on them only. Then your feelings will become one with theirs. Do not think of the evil of others, because if you keep on thinking about it, you yourself will become evil. As are the feelings, so is the result (Yad bhavam tad bhavati).
Develop unity and experience Divinity
Once, cowherd maidens (gopikas) came to Radha and asked, “You are always thinking of Krishna. As a result of this incessant contemplation on Krishna, you may become Krishna yourself. When Radha becomes Krishna and there is no duality, what happiness will you derive?” Radha replied, “Oh gopikas, by thinking of Krishna constantly, I may become Krishna. In the same way, as Krishna thinks of Radha continuously, He may become Radha. Then also there will be both Radha and Krishna.” Therefore, when you think of God, God also thinks of you. In this manner, you create God.
Who creates God? The devotee creates God and God creates the devotee. Then what is common between God and a devotee? It is the power to create. As God has the power to create, so also has the human. The power of creation is the same in both.
Try to experience Divinity by understanding this principle of unity. Forget all differences and have faith in unity. The knower of Brahman becomes verily Brahman (Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati).
Everyone knows that they have to die one day or the other. Yet, everyone wants to cling to life, and nobody wants to die. This is due to sorrow of fear of death (abhinivesha klesha), which afflicts people.
What is the main cause of sorrow? Worldly desires are the main cause. You become a victim of various roots of sorrow (kleshas) when you forget your real nature and focus your mind on the world.
Be happy with what you have. Why do you worry about something you do not have? Do not crave things that you do not have. This is your real spiritual discipline (sadhana). When you are not satisfied with what you have and constantly worry about what you do not have, how can you experience happiness? Therefore, be content with what you have and share it with others.
Develop such broad-mindedness. In this vast world, one should have a broad mind. One bereft of broad-mindedness is not a human being at all. So, broaden your heart. How can you do it? Fill it with love. When you fill your heart with love, you will not be troubled by any of the roots of sorrow. You will have the power to face all challenges and move forward.
Fill your heart with love
Many people pray to Me to give them a broad heart. Here, what does heart mean? It does not mean the physical heart. When your physical heart is enlarged, you become a patient and have to undergo an operation. So, there is a big difference between the physical heart and the spiritual heart.
The physical heart is like the main switch for the mansion of human body. It is only the main switch, but not the ‘current’. Then where is the current? “Brilliant like a streak of lightning set in the midst of the blue rainbearing clouds (Neelatoyadamadhyasthad vidyullekheva bhasvara)”. Where is this vidyullekheva? This effulgent power is present in the spinal column. This is also called the central nerve current (sushumna). It is from this sushumna that the current enters the main switch of the heart. If you do not know this, you may enquire about it yourself.
Doctors perform heart surgery. If you think, the life principle is present in the physical heart, then where does it go when heart surgery is performed? Since life is not present in the heart, a heart-lung machine is used during the course of a heart surgery. Hridaya (spiritual heart) is not confined to the body; it is present everywhere. This spiritual heart is present in the body right from top to toe. When an ant crawls on your foot, you immediately become aware of it. So where is your Hridaya? It is present in your foot also. Otherwise, how could you become aware of an ant crawling on your foot? The physical heart is located at one particular place in the body, whereas the spiritual heart pervades the entire body. The physical heart helps in blood circulation, but it has no control over the life principle.
God’s Name is the panacea for all your ills
Whatever difficulties you may have to face, constantly think of God and remain unperturbed. Always be happy. All difficulties are like passing clouds; they come and go. There are no permanent clouds in this world. Understand this truth and spend your time in the contemplation of God without giving room to worries. In fact, you should think of God more and more in times of difficulties.
Many people criticise and abuse God when they are faced with difficulties, saying, “Does He have no eyes? Can’t He see my difficulties? Does He have no ears? Can’t He hear my cries?” In fact, you should pray to God more earnestly when you are enmeshed in difficulties.
Spiritual aspirants should always remain steadfast in their spiritual practices, wherever they are. A patient has to necessarily take medicine whether the patient is in the hospital or at home. The patient cannot say, “I am already admitted to the hospital, why should I take medicine?” Similarly, you should always contemplate on God in times of both happiness and sorrow. Only then will the divine Name become the panacea for all your ills.
(Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the bhajan, “Sivaya Parames-waraya...”)