28. Fight the forces of evil
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 28 (1995)
Fight the forces of evil
Life in the world is impermanent; Impermanent are youth and wealth; Wife and children are not permanent; Only Righteousness and renown are enduring. EMBODIMENTS of Love! In this phenomenal world, life is like a water bubble. No one can tell when, where and how this bubble will burst. One's youth and wealth are transient stages in one's life, coming and going. No one can predict when they will come and when they will pass away. Is there any reason for feeling proud about one's youth, which is purely transitory? It is not the unchanging reality. Wife and children are not permanent. They are like passing clouds. They are like lightning flashes, bright one moment and disappearing the next. None of these is of a lasting nature. "Dharma keerthi dhvayam sthiram." The righteous acts performed by one and the reputation earned by one, these two alone endure for ever, as long as the sun and moon last. Embodiments of Love! The primary goal of a human being is to realise his inherent divinity and redeem his life by that realisation. Man's heart, which should be an ocean of milk, has been polluted so much by evil today that it has become an ocean of brine. Ksheerasagara (the ocean of milk) is regarded as the bed on which the Lord reclines. It is pure and white like milk. But by polluting his heart man is a prey to all kinds of worries. The ocean of milk has no room for whales and crocodiles. But the main evils of attachment and hatred, infesting the heart like whales and crocodiles, have turned it into an ocean of salt.
Festivals are designed to promote lofty feelings
The tainted life of man has to be purified by expelling the pollutants within man. What is pure and sacred has to be taken in. This duty has been forgotten. If you want to fill the stomach with wholesome and delicious food, you have to empty it of what is impure. One cannot relish good food when the stomach is full of bad stuff. This is borne out by every one's daily experience. Hence every one should get rid of all the bad thoughts, evil intentions and bad feelings in him and fill the mind with good thoughts and noble feelings. All Bharatheeya festivals have been designed to promote such lofty feelings and not for indulging in feasting and revelry. From ancient times Bharath has upheld high spiritual ideals and proclaimed the principle of universal well-being. "Lokas-Samasthas sukhino bhavanthu" (May the people of all the worlds be happy). The ancient sages led lives based on these sacred ideals. These ideals have almost disappeared today. Immersed in endless worldly desires people have become strangers to the Divine.
People today are keen to secure shortcuts for achieving anything. This is not so easy. "Anithyam asukham lokam idham prapya bhajasva mam" (Having come down into this ephemeral and hapless world, worship Me), says Krishna in the Geetha. This world is impermanent and "a vale of tears" - Asukham. Having taken birth in such a world, men desire true lasting happiness. When they do not get what they desire, they blame God. World is governed by the rules: As you sow, so shall you reap. Only when you sow good seeds can you reap a good harvest. How can you hope to get sweet fruits by sowing poisonous seeds? If you want to enjoy good results you have to perform good deeds.
Man today is dominated by selfishness and self-interest. Every action is based on selfish interest. Man has become a plaything in the hands of Selfishness. Consequently he has forfeited peace of mind.
The real meaning of Punya
In life, everything has to be governed by restraints. These restraints should be for the purpose of directing life in the ideal path. Men desire the fruits of good deeds without doing good deeds and want to avoid the consequences of bad actions while indulging in them. What, indeed, are Punya karmas (meritorious actions)? Vyasa defined them as actions to help others. Causing harm to others is sinful. These are secular interpretations of the terms Punya and Papa. Real Punya is the endeavour to recognise one's true self. Although man is the embodiment of Sath-Chith-Anandha (Being-Awareness-Bliss) he is searching for them elsewhere. When man realises that the Bliss he seeks is within himself, that is Punya (meritorious). This Anandha is within him and not in the external world. Whatever joy he may find in the external world is impermanent. "Papaya parapeedanam" (To cause harm to others is sinful). To realise that "the same Atma that is in all others is within me and is in all living beings" is Punya. This Ekatma bhava (spiritual oneness) is meritorious. To regard all beings as diverse in spirit is a sin. The sense of separateness is sinful. "That is full and this is full." This oneness of Spirit has to be experienced. Causing harm to others is only a sign of animality. The real sin is to regard what is spiritually one as manifold and diverse. Man is the embodiment of the Divine. All human bodies are animated by the same Spirit, like the current that makes all bulbs shed light. The Divine subsumes everything though invisible.
Make efforts to realise the Divine
The Divine is omnipresent. The entire cosmos is permeated and sustained by this Divine energy. Everyone should endeavour to experience the Divine. Man must make the effort and he is bound to realise the experience. The necessary sacrifice must be made. All the bad qualities have to be renounced the moment they invade the mind. True devotion means elimination of all the animal tendencies in man. Man should seek to realise the eternal Divine within him. That is the primary purpose of human life. All other accomplishments are valueless. Man should raise himself from the animal to the Divine. There is nothing great in earning a fortune. What one should seek is purity of the Self - that is the essence of humanness. Today is described as Naraka Chathurdhasi. What is Naraka ? Whatever is associated with suffering is called Naraka. "Ka" stands for 'bad qualities’. Naraka means human life with bad qualities. That is a hellish life. How did Krishna deal with Naraka? Krishna is the Divine, one who attracts by His magnetic vibrations. These vibrations represent the. Life Force. The Consciousness that animates the Life Force is known as Prajnanam, the source of radiation. When radiation and vibration are active in the body, you have the whole human being.
The bad qualities in man, in the form of Narakasura, have to be destroyed. Krishna came to destroy these bad qualities. He enlisted the aid of Sathyabhama, who represents the bearer of Truth. This means that with the help of truth, Krishna destroyed the bad qualities. Thyagaraja sang ecstatically about the glorious achievements of the Lord. On Deepavali day, people should pledge themselves to get rid of their bad qualities. "There is no greater virtue than Truth." Truth is not limited to one nation or one people. It belongs to all mankind. Truth sustains the cosmos. Therefore Truth is God. Follow the path of Truth. Speak the Truth. That is the foremost spiritual exercise.
Fight evil forces
Embodiments of love! Your duty today is to destroy the demonic qualities in you. Evil thoughts and evil actions are rampant everywhere You cannot remain a mere witness to these happenings. Placing your faith in God, you have to fight evil forces as a human being. You have to demonstrate your human estate. You have to earn a name as a good man. That alone counts. All other acquisitions are worthless. Only a good man endures. Every moment of one's life should be devoted to practising Dharma (righteousness) and earning a Keerthi (good name). Fill every cell in your body; with the spirit of Truth. Naraka Chathurdhasi is the day on which you resolve to get rid of your bad qualities and follow the path of righteousness. Deepavali is celebrated today as a festival of lights, with the firing of crackers and display of fireworks. In olden days the ancients rejoiced over the destruction of the demon Narakasura and let off fireworks. There is another meaning in the burning of crackers on Deepavali day. This is the rainy season. All kinds of germs fill the atmosphere. The smoke from the crackers destroys these germs. The joy derived from the burning of crackers should really come from the elimination of bad qualities within one. For this, it is essential to meditate on God. Listen to Divine discourses. Participate in Bhajans.
Work done for the welfare of the world is thapas (true penance), while work done for selfish purpose is thamas (useless).
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba