23. Forsake the fete of fancy
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 9 (1969)
Forsake the fete of fancy
WHY does man wail when he arrives into the world, whimper throughout his life and groan out, into the beyond, lamenting that his sojourn here was a waste of years? Man does so, because he is unaware of his glory, of his high destiny! He is the Divine poured into the human mould, just as everything else, alive or inert, is; but, it is the privilege of man alone, to be able to become aware of this precious truth! This is the message of the Upanishadhs to man. This message is echoed by the scriptures, and in the declarations of countless saints. Yet, man turns a deaf ear to it, perhaps, due to his own misfortune created by his own misdeeds in past lives. He can derive Anandha (Divine Bliss) through the contemplation of his Divinity, or the Divine as represented by all that he sees, hears, tastes, touches or smells outside himself. "Sarvam Brahmamayam" - Brahman is immanent in all What an inexhaustible source of lies inside or outside you! Only you have to develop the mind that will respond to the call, that will recognise the Truth. The baby in the cradle is the very picture of Anandha; when it cries out of grief, we run towards it, for, it is against its nature to be sad. Man too is essentially Bliss. Misery is alien to his make- up. Recognising the immanence of the Divine, one has to dedicate all acts to the Divine. What is the act, when you analyse it deeply? It is the manipulation of the Divine by the Divine, for the sake of the Divine through the skill endowed by the Divine; there is no I or mine in it, except the Universal I and the Divine My.
Keep the mind away from vice and greed
Dedication is to be carried out in various ways. Take the food that we consume. Offer it to God, before you partake of it. Then it is rendered pure and potent. Any act done for the glorification of God is thereby rendered pure and potent. It is incapable of harming the doer, the beneficiary, or society, for, it is saturated with Love, which is God. God is the director of this puppet show, the manipulator of the strings. Go behind the screen and see Him. It is now hiding Him; you have only to peep behind a flower, peer behind a cloud, to see Him pulling the string, to show us the beauty, to show us the darkness of heavy moisture. So also, you have only to peep behind your thoughts, to peer behind your feelings; you will find there the Inner Motivator!. This process of looking inwards is taught in the Yogashasthra (science of yoga) of India. But, you must approach teachers, who are pure and selfless, not, those who make up for their ignorance by stunts and feats.
If you do not get such a teacher, mere meditation on the Name and Form of God (whatever Name and Form that appeals to you) is enough. Or, even the recollection of the Name and the Glow is enough. Keeping the mind away from vice and greed is important. The heart should be kept tender and compassionate. It is not age that matters; a person may be old, but, his heart may be fresh and tender, full of enthusiasm for service and willingness to sacrifice. That will ensure your getting the passport to the spiritual realm. Divinity is only the terminus of the journey of human life, like the ripe fruit being the terminus of the journey from bud through blossom, from blossom to the fruiting, the sour bitter fruit to the sweet juiceful ripeness. Grace is the sunlight which will ripen the fruit. Sadhana is the sap which rises from the earth. Both are needed by the tree, in order that it may yield fruit.
Seven steps to be mastered in meditation
Grace is showered on those who seek. Knock, and the door shall be opened; ask, and food will be served; search, and the treasure will be yours. You may complain, Yes! Swami! We have been knocking, asking, and searching, since years...but, the door is yet unopened, the food is still not forthcoming, the treasure is still beyond our reach! But, let me ask you this. You have been asking the devil not the deity, knocking at the devil's door and digging for the treasure at the devil's realm. The devil's realm is the objective world, outer nature, Prakrithi! She is a clever enchantress! You have been propitiating her, believing that she can confer peace and Anandha! She tantalises you and leads you from one disappointment to another. She enhances your ego and sense of achievement, until you collapse from swollen head! You are knocking at the wrong door - the door of hell, which is ever open! You are searching for paltry pleasure, not permanent treasure!
You tell me, "Swami! I have been practising intense meditation since 50 years, but, I have yet to gain concentration. This is a shameful confession. Dhyana is the seventh in the series of steps, leading to the eighth Samadhi (conquest of the Mind). Unless you have secured a strong foothold on the six previous steps, you will slide back from Dhyana, however many years you may try to stick to it. The first step is the control of the senses, the second is the control of the emotions and impulses. The third is the mastery of balance and equipoise, the fourth is the regulation of breathing and movements of the vital airs, the fifth is the prevention of outer influences from deviating the mind, the sixth is one-pointed attention on one's own progress, and then, we come to real Dhyana - meditation on one's Reality - which easily leads to its realisation in Samadhi. Without the preliminary rungs, you cannot hop straight on to seventh! And then, skip on to the eighth!
Reduce your 'luggage' to make life's journey safer
Reduce the luggage you carry about, when on the journey of life. Remember, all that is not 'you' is luggage! You are not the. body. So, the body is an item of luggage. The mind, senses, the intelligence, the imagination, the desires, the plans, the prejudices, the discontent, the distress - all are items of luggage. Jettison them soon, to make your travel lighter, safer and more comfortable. Learn this lesson watching the great, who are humble and simple. They are the elders whom you should admire and follow. They are the people who bring forth your tears when they pass away; there are others who bring forth your tears, when they pass your way! They are to be avoided.
God makes himself aware to beasts and birds, rather than man, who has strayed into the wilderness. Recently at Dharmavaram, a jutka (horse-drawn cart) full of men and luggage was being driven towards the railway station, the driver beating the horse mercilessly on the back and neck, so that it may run fast. A bearded old man, fair and rosy in health, was passing that way. He accosted the driver and said, "Here! Don't hold the reins so tight. Leave them free, hold them loose! The horse will then run fast." The driver retorted. "You keep quiet! I know my horse better." One of the men inside the jutka said, "I don't care!" The driver then heard a voice (it was the horse that spoke). "He is Krishna, who drove the horses of Arjuna's chariot. He knows all about horses!" The driver thought that the voice belonged to some one among his fare. He replied, looking into the jutka. "He may know all about Arjuna's horses; but, what does he know about mine?" The Gopees felt that a bee can sympathise with their pangs of separation from Krishna, more than any human messenger. They asked the bee to intercede with the Lord, on their behalf. Pray to Him, to wear the garland of my adoration, one Gopee asked the bee. Another wanted it to ask Krishna to illumine the darkness of her heart. Radha asked it to pray to Krishna to make the desert sands of her heart sprout into green, so that His Feet may tread thereon, light and soft.
Mere scholarship will not lead to mergence with God
Offer to God the clear calm Manasa lake; or even if the mind is wayward and freakish like the monkey, offer it to God, as Shankaracharya did. He prayed to Shiva, "Lord! I have with me just the thing you need, when you go a-begging. I have a monkey, most mischievous, jumping at everybody and everything that attracts its fancy! Take it with you; and like the beggars who carry a monkey about with them, you will be a more welcome beggar among the children of the villages you frequent!" Give the mind over to God, pure or puerile. Be sincere in your yearning and in your Sadhana. Formal scholarship and outward conformity are poor substitues for real genuine devotion. Shankara-charya was going along the streets of Varanasi, when he saw in a small hermitage a monk poring over a book of grammer! He took pity on the ageing scholar and warned him that when the end drew near, his scholarship will not save him from perdition, or take him to the goal of mergence with God. So, he asked him to adore God, and fill himself with thoughts Divine. That is the proper way to deal with life, not frittering it away as a fate of fancy.
Love your religion, so that you may practise it with greater faith, and, when each one practises his religion with faith, there can be no hatred in the world, for all religions are built on universal love.
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba