32. Re-conditioning man
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 10 (1970)
TO HAVE this Conference of the representatives of all the Units of the Sathya Sai Organisations at Prasanthi Nilayam is a source of great pleasure to Me. I am sure everyone here knows the purpose and significance of this Organisation, that has spread all over the World. It is necessary that the obligations too are always kept in view. Discipline is essential for the success of every endeavour of man, whatever the field, whether it be economic, social, educational, or merely material and wordly. It is even more essential for success in spiritual effort. The discipline of concentration, for example, is indispensable for even common acts like walking, talking, writing or reading. Spiritual progress and bliss depend on disciplined effort. It can come only through hard and difficult toil, not through pleasant easy paths. Life becomes worth living only when one has disciplined habits, concentration of mind, renunciation of sensual pleasures and faith in the Atma (the Self).
Discipline and Concentration are as the embankments which control and direct the flood waters of a river into harmless and fruitful channels. You are engaged in sadhana and the inquiry into the Self and, in this great task, these two will be of great help. No one ignorant of the path can reach the goal; no one unaware of the goal can choose the path and tread it. You must have the proper conception of the path, as well as its destination before you decide on the journey.
Before seeking an office consider your capacity
Again, people aspire only for the fruits of authority; they shirk the responsibility that the authority involves. Do not think that this is so only in India, it is the attitude of aspirants all over the world today. Power is sought; but the burden that comes with power is not welcomed. The chaos and misery of the world today are the creation of persons who have climbed to positions of authority but do not discharge the responsibilities of those positions. No one is entitled to such position who is unable or unwilling to shoulder the responsibility inherent in it and who does not discharge it sincerely. Whatever their status, however deep their scholarship, however rich they are, they do not deserve the position they crave for or hold. In the Units of this Organisation too, the same rule applies. No one has a place who does not possess the skill, the capacity and the willingness to carry out the responsibility. Before you enter the Organisation or seek any office therein, consider well whether you have the yearning and the capacity; else, if you join or complain against some person or some programme, you are only revealing your own smallness or weakness. Make due inquiry, give full consideration, before you join the Organisation. Having joined, co-operate with others vigorously and carry out all your duties conscientiously.
Senses are obstacles in the path of the Spirit
This Organisation has spread far and wide, but I must say that is has drifted away from the purpose for which it was started. It has not resulted in the least benefit. For, in the Spiritual path, the first step is 'Selfless Service.' Through selfless service, man can realise the Divinity that is all this Creation. Of course, all beings and all things are Divine - but, through intelligent analysis, you have to choose the beings and things that will help you and to avoid the beings and things that will hinder you. This is the way of Wisdom. Take the electric current, or fire, or a sharp knife. They are dangerous if you do not know how to use them; they are beneficial if you know how to handle them discreetly. They can be either friends or foes. So too, the senses. If we allow them to master us, they become our deadly enemies; if we master them, they help us to realise our Goal. Man has to master the senses which draw his attention to the outer World. Man cannot liberate himself from bondage to the wheel of duality (pleasure and pain, joy and grief, etc.) so long as he is led by the senses. The senses are obstacles in the path of the Spirit which leads you into the inner Conciousness, not the outer World. Birds and beasts are not troubled by the thirst of the Spirit but man is. He is awarded this great gift, by God's Grace. Man can liberate himself from the cycle of birth and death through detachment from the senses and attachment to the inquiry into his real nature. You may know of persons who are friends or foes today and who may turn out to be foes or friends tomorrow. But, of this be certain: Kama (Desire) is a perpetual foe. The more we yield to this foe, the more dominant it becomes, the more you are enthralled and enslaved. Each one is saturated today from head to foot, with desires of one kind or another - for wealth, for social status, for fame, for luxurious life, etc. Sundry cravings assail man from all sides at all times. They go on growing in number and force, incessantly. The embankments of discipline and duty are swept away by the flood of desire.
Be sincere in thought, word and deed
So, you should cultivate detachment, develop renunciation and keep desire in check. The end of human life is not wealth or vanity, gold or worldly fame. Be moral, be virtuous. Be sincere in thought, deed and word. Be honest to yourself. Money comes and goes! But, morality comes - and grows! So, man has to give up the yearning for money and yearn for more and more morality.
The Sathya Sai Organisation is working with persons belonging to all religions. They do so because all religions - Christian, Parsi, Hindhu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim - have, as their basic doctrines, Love and Non-violence. Develop these qualities. Then, you get the title to preach them to others and propagate them.
This land, Bharath, has been declaring since ages the way of Life, viz., "Having crossed yourself, help others to cross" the sea of turmoil and travail, of grief and pain. Realise - and then help others to realise. Be an example. That is the best way to teach. Bharath is celebrated as a holy land, for here the people renounced desire and earned fulfilment. The Saints liberated themselves and lived in joy and peace; they also inspired the common man and sweetened his days with love and faith; unaffected by the Ego and its greed, they skipped the years in joy and lived for over a century. But, today, on account of the impact of egoistic desires, life is becoming shorter and more miserable:.
Promoting enquiry into four basic problems
The Sathya Sai Organisation is established to translate the principles of Love and Non-violence into daily practice. It has also to promote inquiry into four basic problems- (1) The Body - What is it? (Deham); (2) The Body - I am not it (Naham); (3) Then, who am I? (Koham); (4) Well, I am That (Soham).
First, the Body. Consider what it does, whether it really benefits us. There is the story of a man who came upon human faeces while walking along a path. He stepped aside, disgusted; but the faeces was enraged. It called him an ungrateful traitor. "I was a sweet juicy fragrant fruit yesterday; I gave you strength and sustenance; I sacrificed my strength and beauty and my very existence for your benefit. In return, you have reduced me into this foulness and condition and, adding insult to injury, you are turning away in revulsion! It is I who ought to turn away from you in disgust! Contact with you has brought this disgrace on me." The man listened and wondered why he was all that nasty. This led him into an inquiry about the nature of the body he was in. We say "my hand," "my book," 'my mind," "my act," "my thought," because there is an I that owns all these, that uses all these as its instruments. Who is this I? Like the current which activates and operates the machine, (with all its nuts, bolts, wheels and belts), the I activates the inert body and its components, inner and outer. We have a microphone here, before me, and there is a wire which is fixed in it. But, even if the microphone is of the latest model and the wire is of the best quality, if there is no current coming through, my voice cannot reach you! In the body too, there should be this I, this Divine power, prompting and performing the hand, the eye, the mind.
Desire liberation from the see-saw of duality
You must carry on the activities of your Unit in the faith that a Divine Will is the basic motive power of all you plan and do. Who are you? You are that Divine Will, that gives you life, vigour, will and wisdom. Realising this, is the goal of life. It means an end to ignorance, delusion (maya).
The Sages have laid down four goals for man on earth' dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (desire) and moksha (liberation). That is to say, man must earn wealth through righteous means and desire above all for liberation from the see-saw of duality. Liberation is the goal that must dominate all the activities of life. The rest of the three have to be subordinate. If you need flowers from a tree or its fruits, you do not water the boughs and twigs, where the leaves, buds and shoots are! You feed the roots! So too, when you seek the last of the four, moksha (liberation), foster dharma (righteousness); that will sanctify your artha, and purify your kama and win for you the moksha you strive for. Develop dharma and let it saturate your efforts to earn wealth and comfort.
Every worker in this Organisation must rid himself of the idea of separateness or distinction, between one person and another, on the basis of caste or creed, poverty or richness. He must always be eager to share the sorrows - and what is more difficult - the joys of others.
Power of the Atma only can save the world
My desire is that whenever any slight misunderstanding arises among you, you must set it fight among yourselves, exercising love and tolerance. You should not plunge into a passion over it and let things blaze into a quarrel or a factional split. Recognise that you are engaged in the exercise of widening your hearts, of reaching the Feet of the Lord through the expression of love. Unless you cultivate love, tolerance, humility, faith and reverence, how is it possible for you to realise God?
At the present time, when we see all over the country, confusion, fear and anxiety, each worker in each one must contribute his share of cool, calm love to suppress the anger and fury. No governmental authority can suppress it as effectively and as quickly as you can by love and brotherliness.
The world can be saved only by the power of the Atma, inherent in everyone; this has to be tapped by individual sadhana, and by the Grace of God which can be won only through love, purity and service. If these two are absent, Pralaya (devastation) is certain; it is inevitable. Love is the scarcest article today! There is no love in the home, between father and son, between husband and wife, between brother and brother. Is love to be scarce, between member and member, in our Units too? No. You have to prove by your conduct and attitude, that love, based on the realisation of the One Atma in all, can cure the problems of the world. Living has become very artificial. Men are moving in blind fear, not knowing what might happen to them at the next step. Prepare yourselves to be lamps, to guide them aright.
Become embodiments of Love
Be lamps of love. That contains all. Then, there is no need for japam or thapas. Love, loving service of others (who are forms assumed by the Divine) will provide you the Grace of God. Therefore, resolve today to enshrine love in your heart, to cultivate it; make it Universal, free from selfish desire. Become Premaswaruupa (embodiments of love). I am not interested or elated when this or that District claims to have a larger number of Units of this Organisation than the other one. I am interested in the work, in the loving heart, in the selfless service. There are Units that exist only in name! There are others that function in ways quite contrary to our purposes and ideals! Instead of allowing these to continue, it is best they are wound up, immediately. Better to have two or three that function well than hundreds that function badly or not at all. Two ounces of cow's milk are preferable to a potful of ass's milk. If Units are started or if they are functioning only with the idea of helping the Office-bearers to attend these Conferences, if the members have no faith and devotion, if they do not make constant effort to realise the ideal of the Organisation, then it is necessary to wind them up. If we allow them to continue, they will create in the Organisation the confusion we find in the political scene.
Consider well the qualities you have to retain, the qualities you have to discard. And, act this very day to give up the undesirable and cultivate the desirable. Look forward; recondition yourselves and march on.