Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 16 (1983)
Perpetual bliss

Who can ascribe a form to Him who is beyond all bounds and shapes?
One can only laugh at those who babble that He is thus and thus and thus.
He has no hands or feet or limbs or parts: How then can humans picture Him?
His radiance is that of a billion Suns and more: How can the mind hope to reach Him?
'Tis formless Force - to grasp It whole, Who can venture? Who can claim success?
'Tis Atma with no fixed Form, since Time began, Illumining Space and the boundless vast

He, the Ever-existing with no birth, no death,
Sans beginning, middle or end,
Unborn, undecaying, deathless
He is the Atma, the Timeless, the Etenal Supreme.
Since dawn this day, from every tongue, the words, "Happy Birthday" "Happy Birthdays" have been resounding. What exactly do these words mean? Are the words used with awareness of their significance, or, are they spoken as a conventional form of social etiquette? Such doubts do arise. The English word "happy" has as its equivalent in Telugu Santhosham. We shall probe into the implications of the expression San-thosham. 'Thosham' signifies prasannatha (delight). The prefix 'Sam' denotes that the delight has been won through righteous and honourable means, that is to say, through 'detachment' and 'sacrifice.'
When discontent disappears delight is established
One has to give up desires that enslave and imprison, that bring sorrow in their train. Desires can be grouped under two heads: desire for an object or experience that no one else has earned, and desire that the object or experience one has earned should not be earned by any one else! Both these desires are indeed ridiculous. What is desired is as illusory as one's shadow. The faster you run towards it, hoping to seize it, the farther it is from your reach. When you pursue desire, it flees; when you scorn its hold, it submits like the shadow that follows you when you turn your back on it. Desires are born of greed. When greed is weakened more and more, discontent declines in equal measure. And, when discontent disappears delight is established.
Prahladha, as the Bhagavatha text declares, was rooted in the faith in God Narayana and His Universal, Absolute Reality. His father, Hiranyakashipu, however, was drawn by external forms and the limiting names. Therefore, Prahladha was rooted in Ananda (Bliss) wherever he was, in whatever set of circumstances. Hiranyakashipu was ever worried and anxious, caught up in the multiplicity of names and forms. Those who are in such bliss as Prahladha had will have an aura around them and an effulgence on their faces. People can derive joy watching their faces and yearn to have that experience again and again. The faces of the worried and the anxious will infect others too with similar feelings.
In deep sleep man is in his native core
Besides, Delight endows one with great power also whereas anxiety robs one of the strength he has. True delight cannot be acquired by effort or produced artificially or maintained by design. No course of Sadhana (spiritual effort) can be prescribed to enable one to gain Ananda. For, one is, in fact, the very embodiment of Ananda! But since he has failed to identify his truth, he is seeking it from outside, from the objects around him. For those who have realised that they are the Eternal, the True and the Pure Atma, Ananda is ever accessible. Ananda is Brahman; the Bhagavathgeetha teaches this truth in many ways.
The very name Prahladha has Ananda soaked in it. 'Hladha' means Ananda and the prefix 'Pra' indicates that the Ananda is 'full.' Prahladha means 'Full Bliss' - "a person who is full of Ananda." How could Prahladha attain that state? He gave up attachment to his name and form and sought the Atma as the only reality and identified that reality with Narayana. Every man is privileged to taste this Bliss during Sushupthi (deep sleep). In that state, he is not conscious of his name and form, nor do any of his senses function. So, he is then in full Bliss, his native core, his very birthright. This is the reason why he seeks it so restlessly from the moment he awakes until the moment of sleep, unaware of the inner spring which is its unfailing source, engaging himself in the pursuit of knowledge and skills for earning a living. Knowledge, wealth, power and status are all capable of granting only worldly pleasure or joy or exultation. Of course, whatever the extent or nature of this joy, it must be realised that it is a amsha (particle) of the supreme Ananda of the Atmic awareness, the impact of Brahma Ananda (the Limitless Vast). The mansion of a millionaire may have many evidences of his wealth but each is a particle of the Grace of Lakshmi (Goddess of Prosperity). Men may derive joy from their enormous wealth, deep scholarship, or physical prowess, but each of these is really a ray emanating from Brahmanandha. The ray is reflected differently from different media but the source is One and the primal essence is one.
The yearning to know is the sign of Chith
Ananda (Supreme Bliss) is immanent in every thing in Creation, for Ananda is Brahman (the Universal Absolute). Everything is Sath (Being), Chith (Awareness or Consciousness) and Ananda (Bliss), that is to say, Divine. Everything IS, the IS-ness is the Sath (the being) capable of Becoming.
Next about Chith (awareness): the capacity to be known and to know, to gain awareness and to grant awareness is Chith. When we take with us a child to a fair or market or an exhibition, it asks for answers to endless questions, What is that?" "Why is it so?", “What is its name ?". This yearning to know is the sign of the Chith. In spite of our seeing so many dying around us and heating about as many more deaths, though we witness the misery and the suffering of so many, we long for a death-less and sorrow-less life. We spend fortunes to lengthen our lives. That is the urge of the "Sath" in us. The other longing to know is the expression of the "Chith" in us.
The third proof of our innate Divinity is the urge of Ananda in us. Without exception, every one is motivated by this Ananda urge.
Purity of mind is enough to obtain Divine Grace
However, these urges have each two aspects - the impression (internal) and the expression (external). Sath has, for example, the being and the becoming. The process of becoming is what the Gayathri prayer asks for "Awaken my intellect, heighten and expand my awareness (prachodayath)." Becoming is through expanding, manifesting wider and more varied forms. The Upanishads declare, "He is everything that exists both inside and outside."
Antharbahishcha thath sarvam vyapya Narayano sthithah
(Narayana permeates everything inside and outside all this).
He cast His look and it all happened. The Become is a reflection of the Will that urged the Being; so, the Being IS the Becoming. It changes from Is to Was; it is unstable, while Being is stable. Being is the screen and Becoming, the pictures that flit across the screen. When there are no pictures, who will be drawn to the screen? How can pictures be seen, when there is no screen? The fleeting and the fixed are inextricably dependent on each other.
The objective world is but a series of momentary pictures impinging on the mind. The mind is active in the walking stage of the body. The body is built up by Anna (food), maintained by Anna and disintegrates through Anna. The body has five sheaths, the outermost one, the Annamaya Kosha (food sheath). It is known also as the sthoola (gross body). The next three sheaths, the Pranamaya (vital air), the Manomaya (mind), and the Vijnana (intellectual) form the suukshma (subtle) body. The subtle body is active in the dream stage also. The fifth and the inner-most sheath is the Anandamaya (Ecstatic, the Blissful), the Karana (causal body).
The expression of the urge of Ananda is as Love and Delight. Delight is the product and projection of Love. The expression of Chith is awareness. The expression of Sath is Becoming. Divinity is the Unity that manifests in Diversity, the One as the Many. The One is the efficient cause as well as the material cause of the Many. The One is inherent in the Many and shines in the Many which It has become. The ONE is the source of the highest and the most lasting Ananda.
Brahmanandha is native to Man, his very source
The Ananda we get when hunger is appeased by a meal is short-lived. Hunger afflicts us again before long. However sweet and tasty the food may be, it causes nausea when consumed in quantity. The mythological bird Chakora is said to feed on moonlight only but we can be sure a surfeit of that will certainly be unwelcome to it. Even nectar will cloy when one continues to eat it endlessly.
Brahmananda, however, is different. For, it is native to man, his very source and sustenance. The purpose of human striving, through stage after stage of spiritual progress, is to attain that. A fish placed in an artistic golden gem-studded bowl is miserable. It has no Ananda, for it has no water. Water is its home, its real source and sustenance.
Man too must reach his original home, however far he may wander. Thyagaraja sang: "Birds, big and small, before nightfall seek the tree where they can rest. I hold Your Feet In my grasp; save me, 0 Rama." The Bhagavatha makes it more explicit, "For every living being, the best course is to attain the source from which it originated."
Be reminding yourself: "I am not different from God"
There exist many flooded streams on the globe. Where has the water come from? The ocean, of course. Consider the impediments the streams have to overcome before they attain the source! The flooded stream of human life has originated from Brahmananda and it has to attain the source from which it has come away. In order to succeed, man must recollect the ecstasy of Brahmananda every moment, in every activity. Thyagaraja revelled in the Ananda that poetry, music and scholarship can confer but since the Ananda that learning can confer (Vidhyanandha) was liable to weaken, he considered it only as a particle or foretaste of the Brahmananda he sought most the Ananda derivable from the Universal Eternal Delight, the Nirguna Ananda Brahman, That Ananda is man's reality, for, man is God.
God is neither distant, nor distinct from you. You are God. You are Sath-Chith-Ananda (Being, Awarenessand Bliss Absolute). You are Asthi (being), Bhathi (awareness), Priyam (bliss). You are all. When do you cognise this Truth? When you shake off the delusions which hide the Truth.
If your yearning to experience Brahmanandha, the Sath-Chith-Ananda is sincere and pure, from this day, keep ever in your memory what I am about to tell you:
(1) "I am God; I am not different from God." Be conscious of this always. Keep it ever in mind. "I am God; I am God. I am not different from God." Be reminding yourself of this. Pray that you may not fail in this sadhana (spiritual exercise).
(2) "I am the Akhanda Para Brahman (Indivisible Supreme Absolute)." This is the second Truth to be established in the consciousness by unremitting repetition and prayer.
(3) I am Sath-Chith-Ananda ("Being, Awareness, Bliss").
Divine Bliss is the goal to be ever kept in view
(4) "Grief and anxiety can never affect me." Develop this Faith and convince yourselves of this Truth by repeated assurance and prayer.
(5) "I am ever content; fear can never enter me."
Feel thus for ever. Pray that this conviction grows stronger and stronger. Exhort yourself, "O self ! Utter 'Om Thath Sath', 'Om Thath Sath'", the threefold symbol of Brahman. As the physical body is maintained healthy and strong by the five pranas (vital airs), these five prayers will endow you with the "awareness of Brahman," which is the same as "the status of Brahman Itself."
Do not demean or condemn yourself as low or small or weak. The body is but a vehicle for the journey through life. Do not mistake it as your self and impose on yourself its ups and downs. You purchase a car and possess it for the sake of its usefulness, not for keeping it under lock and key in the garage. The body-car should be put to the best use, for attaining Brahmananda.
The four goals of human life - Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha (right living, right earning, right desiring, and release from worldly bondage) are the wheels of the vehicle; the wheel inside that steers these four is the mind.
The Buddhi (intellect) is the switch. The air which fills the tubes in the tyres is Faith and the destination is Ananda.
Ananda is the breath that sustains life. That is the goal which has to be ever in view, while navigating the ocean of one's life. Even the least trace of Ananda that one derives is but a reflection of Brahmananda. One has to keep this in mind. Anything done or said or seen, is but the prompting of the Brahman that is one's reality. Have faith in this fact. In order to develop and deepen this faith, certain spiritual practices can be undertaken. Do not feel separate from God and consider Him as the Giver and yourself as the Recipient. This smacks of commerce. It is wrong to plan for getting some wish granted in return for what you offer. God will not pay any attention to your material greed; He watches the heart and its contents. Believers in God have not understood God if they bargain with Him and clamour for worldly goods. Hence, from ages past, they have suffered misery. The Divine seeks and rewards only Divine qualities, virtues and conduct.
The highest virtue is humility, surrender to God
The body is transient and the joy it seeks and gets is equally transient. The Ananda one gets through meditation on the Atma is as lasting as the Atma. When Godhead assumes a body, It too is unaffected as the Atma. Nothing can confer as much Ananda as virtue, neither wealth, nor material power, nor fame, nor scholarship. The highest virtue is humility, surrender to God. People speak of those who have no one to look after them as 'orphans' but God looks after every one. So, no one can be an orphan. God alone is the anatha (orphan), for who can claim that he is God's guardian?
Dedicate thought, word and deed to God. Do not treat some of your activities as done for God and others as done for yourself. They are both like the two halves of a pulse grain. The plant sprouts from the middle of the grain, drawing sustenance equally from both halves. The alert and the inert, the living and the non-living, the moving and the non-moving are all God. Strengthen this faith, live in this faith. This is the prescription for perpetual Brahmananda.
The mother must herself prepare food for the home; for, food that is prepared with love and served with a smile is much more sustaining and strengthening than food cooked by a hired woman and served by a disgruntled refractory kitchen boy!
– Sathya Sai Baba
Selected Excerpts From This Discourse