36. Realise the Oneness of the Atmic Principle
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 30 (1997)
Realise the Oneness of the Atmic Principle
Editor’s note: This discourse does not appear in the Sathya Sai Speaks series. It appeared in Sanathana Sarathi , January 2016.
If you leave ego, you become dear to all; If you conquer anger, you become free from worries; You become prosperous when you control your desires; You attain happiness only when you conquer greed. (Sanskrit verse)
Embodiments of divine love!
A person with ego cannot attain anybody’s love. Ego is very harmful. An egoistic man loses the love of even his wife and children. In this vast world of infinite number of beings, where is the scope for people to develop ego?
Give up ego and anger
When you look at the map of the world, your own country Bharat (India) appears to be small, and within Bharat, the State of Tamil Nadu is very small, and in the State of Tamil Nadu, Kodaikanal is a tiny place. Your house in Kodaikanal is quite small; and you are only one among all in the house. It is ignorance to have ego. One Atma dwells in all beings (Ekatma sarva bhutantaratma ).
From another point of view, if you enquire, you will realise that the whole world is in you. A scope to exhibit your ego crops up only when there is the second person.
Truth is one, but the wise refer to it by various names (Ekam sath viprah bahudha vadanti ). When you realise that all are one and you are just one of the vast number of beings, where is the scope for developing ego? Is your ego due to your position, education, wealth, or property? Any number of people are better off than you in many respects.
Whichever way you look at, ego is the result of delusion and ignorance. When you give up ego, the whole world will love you. So, if you wish to be loved by all, you must leave your ego. As long as you have anger, you cannot be happy at all. You will be happy and blissful only when you get rid of anger. Anger is a great enemy of man.
One with anger will not be successful in any endeavour. That one will commit sins and will be ridiculed by one and all.
That one’s own people will abandon them. That one will lose all wealth and respect. That one’s anger will ruin that one completely. (Telugu poem) With anger within yourself, you cannot experience happiness and bliss. How can you sleep peacefully when a snake is slithering in the house? How can you be peaceful when anger permeates your entire being? One bout of anger drains away the energy gained in three months; it pollutes and heats the blood, which takes three months to regain normal state. Anger makes a person physically and mentally weak. Therefore, give no scope to anger. When anger is subdued, it is an indication that your spiritual discipline is on the right path.
Limit your desires and leave greed
As long as one has desires, one cannot be truly rich or wealthy. Put a limit to desires. Who is the richest person? One who has contentment. Who is the poorest person? The one with many desires. Of course, one has to have some desires in order to achieve certain good things in life. But the country is facing all types of problems because of the limitless desires of people. Desires are like a forest fire; the more it spreads, the more it burns with added vigour.
What kind of desire one should have? Have desire for mental peace, good health, and knowledge about the infinite principle. Householders should have such desires that are suitable to their stage of life. Goddess of wealth Lakshmi will then enter their house.
A great devotee Ramdas sang: Do not ask, oh mind, do not ask. The more you ask, the more you will be neglected. God will certainly grant you what you deserve without your asking.
Did He not grant the wish of Sabari, who never asked?
Did He not redeem Jatayu, who never asked but sacrificed his life for His cause? (Telugu poem) God gives without your asking. Neither Sabari nor Jatayu asked Rama for anything, but He granted them supreme state of salvation. A greedy person has no happiness. People can experience all kinds of happiness when they conquer their greed. A miser may have everything in life but cannot derive any happiness from all those possessions. Here is a small story. Once two brothers lived together. One was a great miser, and the other was a greater miser. They were so miserly that they didn’t enjoy anything they had. One day, they received the news that one of their close relatives in a nearby village had died. The elder brother decided to go there out of compulsion. He preferred to walk rather than spend money on a bus ticket. He got up early, lit the oil lamp to get ready, and proceeded on his journey.
When the younger brother saw the lighted lamp, he at once put it off lest it should consume oil. As he was groping in the dark, a him, scorpion bit him, and he writhed in pain.
Half an hour later there was a knock on the door. Seeing his brother standing at the door, the younger miser asked him, “Brother, why did you come back”?
The elder miser replied, “I returned to ask you whether or not the lamp was put out”. “Brother, what have you done? The soles of your sandals would be worn out by coming and going,” the younger brother expressed his worry. “Do you think I don’t have even that much intelligence? I kept my sandals under my armpit while covering the distance,” replied the elder miser. By developing excessive greed and miserliness, they could not experience peace and happiness in life.
Recognise the importance of practice
Sacrifice is very important in life. There is no higher quality than sacrifice. Immortality is not attained through action, progeny, or wealth; it is attained only by sacrifice (Na karmana na prajaya dhanena thyagenaike amrutatthwamanasu ). You can live without many things, but not without breath. But if you inhale, you must also exhale. After eating food, if you do not excrete, you will fall sick. Blood must circulate continuously or it will lead to clots. Blood and money must remain in circulation. Stagnant water becomes infested with worms.
Money should be utilised properly. If you go on accumulating and don’t spend it, it is like burying it under earth. Give up ego, conquer anger, limit desires, and get rid of greed. These four checks are very important, especially for spiritual aspirants. Mere chanting of God’s name (japa ) and penance (tapa ) do not constitute spiritual discipline (sadhana ). These are useless without mental transformation. The mind is the cause of bondage and liberation (Manah eva manushyanam karanam bandhamokshayo ).
What is a good action? An action guided by discrimination between the eternal and the ephemeral is a good action.
All powers are inherent in a person. There is power of light in the eyes. The human body is like an electric generator. There are battery cells in the body. People are endowed with great magnetic power. But they are not able to recognise these powers. If they did, they would recognise themselves. If one knows oneself, one attains bliss. You ask others who they are and where they came from. Rather, try to know who you are, where you came from.
If you think you are a doctor, a businessman, or a professor; this is not the truth about you. This is your profession, not your reality. You say, I am an Indian. That is your nationality, not your reality. All these epithets refer to external, worldly things. If someone asks, “Who are you?”, you should reply, “I am the Atma .” People read various types of sacred texts to know themselves. They interact with noble persons, but what is the use? There is no spiritual progress. If you recite all the 700 verses of the Gita , what you get is throat pain, nothing else. You may read the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita , but without practice, nothing is gained. Put into practice at least a bit of what you read and hear. Will the darkness in the world be dispelled by the message of light?
Can the disease be cured by merely listening to the efficacy of medicine?
Can the poor get rid of poverty by listening to the principles of economics?
Can hunger be satiated by mere repetition of the names of various delicious dishes? No. You can attain bliss only when you put your knowledge into practice.
(Telugu poem) Just by hearing, you won’t gain anything. For a cashier in a bank, will the money serve their own purpose? All powers are available within ourselves, but we are unable to utilise them. You say mine, mine. Who are you? When you know yourself, you will know what is yours. First know who you are. This is the teaching of all noble souls.
Open the heart and shut the mouth
You say, my body, my mind, my intellect (buddhi ), my mind-stuff (chitta ), then who are you? These are your instruments and you are the master. If you fail to recognise that you are the master and choose to be their slave, you will never reach the goal. Become the master and you achieve everything. Realising these as your instruments is all that is spiritual discipline (sadhana ). Keep the body and all these instruments in good condition with proper food and clothing. Open the heart and shut the mouth. Today we open our mouth and close our heart. We waste our time in too much talking. All this is of no use. The heart is very valuable. So, open the gates of the heart. It requires no spiritual exercises (sadhana ). The body is a temple and the indweller is God (Deho devalaya proktho jivo Deva sanathana ). Recognise that the body is a temple of God and that God resides in your heart. Develop this awareness.
Many people in the pretext of devotion neglect the upkeep of body. It is not correct. When the body becomes weak, the mind also becomes weak. Keep body, mind, intellect and mind-stuff in good condition to attain success in spiritual discipline (sadhana ).
Here is a small example. In the bedroom, you have a bed, a pillow, a ceiling fan, and an airconditioner. What is the use of all these if you are unable to sleep?
What is the use of having the mind, intellect and mind-stuff if you are not able to attain peace? Why has God given them to you? God has given them to you to attain peace. When you realise that you are the Atma , you will know who you are. People think that the mind and intellect are the controlling factors; but the heart is the real controller. When one looks outward, one has no peace; outside there are only pieces. Physically and materially, humanity has made a lot of progress, but morally and spiritually, humanity is on the downward path. What is the reason? Selfishness is the root cause of all this. There is selfishness in everything we talk about and in everything we do. People today have become slaves of selfishness. Leave selfishness and connect with God.
Perception (salokya ), proximity (sameepya ), identity (sarupya ), and merger (sayujya ) are the four stages of spiritual discipline (sadhana ). Equality, love, unity, and brotherhood are essential to attain these. With the attitude of seeing differences everywhere, how can one acquire this spirit of unity? You attain bliss by realising the oneness of the Atmic principle.
People are the repository of all powers
The same five basic elements are present in all bodies. There is no sixth element. From qualified non-dualism, we must advance to non-dualism. This is a beneficial perspective. Names and forms may be different but the five elements are the same in everybody. There is no difference whatsoever.
Whomever you salute, it reaches God (Sarva jiva namaskaram Kesavam pratigachchhati ), and whomever you criticise, it reaches God (Sarva jiva tiraskaram Kesavam pratigachchhati ). According to Vedanta , every action has its fruit or consequence (karma or phala ). There can be no action without a good or bad result. It may come immediately or after many days, many months or, even many births. For example, if you slice a fruit and cut your finger, bleeding starts instantly. So, you get the result immediately. When you sow a seed, it takes four or five days to sprout, five or six years to grow into a tree, three more years to bear fruit, and a few more days for the fruit to ripen. You eat in the morning, but it takes a few hours to digest. Every action has a consequence though we do not know when and where it will happen. Consequence of action is inevitable. What type of action should we do? We should do actions with divine feelings. Then we will attain divine bliss. Mundane actions performed with worldly feelings will yield mundane results, which are impermanent. Adi Sankara said that man should not forget God and should discard temporal things. Temporal things give only temporary satisfaction, but divine feelings, thoughts, and deeds lead to eternal bliss. A young man may exult at his own beauty and muscle power, but how long will they last? Lightning gives a flash of brilliant light, but immediately darkness follows. Adi Sankara therefore cautioned: Do not be proud of your wealth, progeny, and youth; The tide of time may destroy them in a moment. Ma kuru dhana jana yauvana garvam, Harathi nimeshath kalah sarvam . Everything has reaction, reflection, and resound. If you say Om standing in front of a hall, you get the resound at once. The air compressed in a harmonium produces various sounds sa , re , ga , ma , pa , da , ni . But their root is one sound, that is Omkar (the form of AUM , or Om ). Every sound originated from Omkar .
There is divine principle in one and all. In the Bhagavad Gita , Lord Krishna says, “Know Me as the seed of all living beings (Beejam mam sarva bhutanam viddhi ).” If you plant a mango seed, you will get a mango tree. Every tree has many branches, each branch has many fruits, and the same type of seeds exist in all fruits. Where did the seeds come from? The eternal Atma in all beings is a part of My Being (Mamaivamsho jivaloke jivabhuta Sanathana ). God is the one seed, universe is the tree, nations are the branches and sub-branches. All beings are the fruits; in every being, God is present as the Atma in the form of seed.
There is only one Atmic principle, and it is present in every being. Without knowing this, we resort to hating others. When this truth of oneness is recognised, we will not entertain perverted feelings of hating others.
There are many powers within us, such as magnetic power, electric power, fire power, and laser power. The body is like a generator, the eyes are the bulbs, the ears are the loud speakers, the heart is the main switch, and the mind is the wire. When you put off the main switch, everything goes off. So, always keep the main switch on. Similarly, consider God as the life-breath, who is the indweller. There is no need to search for truth, righteousness, and peace (sathya , dharma , and santhi ) anywhere.
You see so many light bulbs glowing here. What makes the bulbs glow? Is it the electric current or the wire? When you enquire, you come to know that all are important. Consider truth as the electric current, peace as the bulb, righteousness as the wire, and love as the light that emanates. If you want to have the light of love, you should have the bulb of peace, the wire of righteousness, and the current of truth. Then all become one. One Atma dwells in all beings (Ekatma sarva Bhutantaratma ). Vedanta teaches many easy paths for salvation, yet people do not have interest in Vedanta because they don’t understand it. If you develop interest in it, you will make spiritual progress. If you have interest, a spark can be developed into a fire. But on the contrary, if you have no interest, the spark will be put off in the first instance only.
Embodiments of divine love!
Develop sincere interest. Whatever you do in any field - moral, spiritual, or worldly - perform it with interest. Only then can you get the reward. Without interest, you cannot achieve anything. In matters relating to God, there should be greater interest.
Recognise the intimate relation between the body and God. The body is a limb of society. Society is a limb of nature, and nature is a limb of God. Who is the source? God is the source. God is the basis of the principle of unity. All organs should work in unity.
Suppose the eye sees a fruit on a tree and the mind desires to have it. The fruit won’t fall by itself. The legs must walk toward it and the hand and fingers must pluck it. Even then, your wish is not fulfilled. You must put it into your mouth, eat it, and taste it. Then the stomach should digest it and send the essence to all the limbs of the body. You get the correct result only when all the organs do their duty sincerely. Each organ has its specific duty. All limbs are important. Even if one limb is weak, we become unhappy. When God has given such a comfortable and ideal life, we should use this life to attain fulfillment.
All work is God’s work
True devotees show gratitude to God, saying, Oh Lord!
I offer to You the heart You have given me. What else is there with me to offer at Your Lotus Feet in worship?
Please accept this with my humble salutations. (Telugu poem) This is true surrender, sacrifice, devotion, and fulfillment. There is nothing higher and more valuable than this. Diamond and gold ornaments are considered valuable. But who has given value to them? It is humanity alone. People are much more valuable than all the wealth in the world. In a scenario where your value is decreasing, how should you redeem your value? Decrease desires in order to increase your value. God and world can be compared to the two ends of the seesaw. If you move toward God, the world is distanced. If you move toward the world, God is distanced. Use your power of discrimination and move toward God in order to realise your full power and value.
The Bhagavad Gita , the Ramayana , the Mahabharata , the Bible , the Quran are only guideposts; they show the divine goal. Making use of them, but you have to walk the path yourself. There is no use if you keep on chanting “Kodaikanal, Kodaikanal”. You have to travel to reach there. It is no use saying, potato-chapathi, potato-chapathi ten times unless you take it in your hand and eat it. Do contemplation and practice to derive bliss. It is not mere talking that is important, action is important. Today, people only teach, they don’t put what they teach into practice. We read the Ramayana. But how many people follow the command of their father? Very few. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita , “Those who think of Me under all circumstances will surely attain Me.” But you think of God only when you are in trouble. This is part-time devotion. With part-time devotion, you will get only part-time fulfillment. You must think of God at all times and in all situations. Everywhere, at all times, under all circumstances contemplate on God (Sarvada sarva kaleshu sarvatra Hari chintanam ). Consider your house work as God’s work, your business as God’s work. All work is God’s work. It is a very easy path. God is not asking you to do any penance.
People today are living in darkness, making their lives miserable. Engage yourself in sacred actions to make human life fulfilling. Devotion is not just singing devotional songs (bajans ). Bhajans are necessary, but only up to a certain stage. You should merge in love with God. I and you should become one. There is no second entity at all. God is one without a second (Ekameva adviteeyam Brahma ).
There are many pots filled with water. There is only one moon, but it is reflected in all of them. Bodies are like vessels, the mind is like water. There is the reflection of Atmic principle in it. There is one sun, which causes activity in the entire world. There is no separate sun for America or for India. Similarly, there is one Atma , which is present in all. Understand this secret. Understand this divine principle properly. B(hagavan concluded His discourse with the bhajan , “Bhavabhaya Harana Vandita Charana…”. )