Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 14 (1978 - 80)
The Sadhguru speaks

THE Macrocosmos and the microcosmos - the Brahmanda and the pindanda - the Universal and the individual - all arise from the One Truth. They are manifestations and emergents of that Truth, which is not affected by either. That Truth is known as Brahman. When this unmodifiable, transcendent and immanent Brahman, instead of just 'being,' decides on 'becoming,' It is best designated as 'God,' 'Ishwara' (Almighty). The Divine ground of everything is the spiritual Absolute, called Paramatman (Supreme Absolute Self). It is also the ground, the base, the core, the reality of man. But in spite of 'becoming,' which is only an illusion imposing multiplicity on the One Being, It remains One. So long as inquiry is postponed, only the multiplicity is cognised. The multiplicity is neither real nor unreal. It is relatively real, temporarily real, pragmatically real, mithya - not sathya - but an amalgam of sathya (truth) and asathya (untruth), apparently real but fundamentally unreal, real for most practical purposes (vyavahara) but unreal when the basic nature is unravelled. Mithya is the mixture of sathya and asathya, the knowledge of the serpent which is negated when the knowledge of the rope is won.
Maya makes us believe the world is real
The clouds appear to be stuck to the sky; so, too, maya (the tendency to conclude that what the senses tell us is true or to project our preferences and prejudices on to the world around us) gives us an untrue picture of Brahman. It makes us believe that the world is real. Its impact warps our reasoning process, our sensory impressions and our views on God, on creation and on man. It spreads before us a diversity which tantalises and deceives. The basic Truth upon which maya (divine illusion) projects its kaleidoscope is described by seers as Sath-Chith-Anandha (Being-Awareness-Bliss Absolute). This does not mean that Brahman has three attributes, namely: It exists beyond time and space; It knows and can be known; It is the source and acme of Bliss. They are not three distinct characteristics; they indicate the One, of which the three can be grasped by experience - not by words, for words can only recoil before that Godhead. We cannot assert that Brahman (Supreme Being) belongs to a class or genes, nor can it be defined by the three basic qualities. It cannot be described as performing any specific activity, for It is ever motionless. Nor can It be explained in terms of relationship with other entities for It is One, without a second. Maya is only the Divine Will that inaugurated the manifestation of the cosmos (Ekoham, Bahushyam - I am one; I will be many). Maya (apparent deluding reality) inheres in every being and every activity of that being; it has three aspects of achievement through the three modes and moods of that Will - the sathwik, the rajasik and the thamasik (the calm, contented, equanimous mood; the potent, passionate mood; the inert, slothful, sluggish mood).
Maya is the Will that causes the variety
When maya prompts us into the sathwik mood of that Will, we become progressive seekers of jnana (spiritual wisdom) that reveals the Unity. When we are overwhelmed by the rajasik quality of that Will, we are deluded into the pursuit of worldly victories and ephemeral wealth and renown. The thamasik nature of that Will seeks the quickest and easiest ways of happy living. These are the reflections in our minds of the basic modes of the Will that Brahman assumes when It is moved by the primal urge to express Itself. The facets of that Will are called Jnana shakthi, Iccha shakthi and Kriya shakthi. The three modes affect beings and things in various proportions and permutations, and so we have all the variety and diversity of the objective world. Atman (whether individualised or universalised), is One only. The jeevatman (individual soul) and the Paramatman (Supreme Soul) are one and indivisible. The philosophers of all lands and all times have sought to discover the truth about God, the objective world and man, as well as their mutual relationship. Maya is the Will that causes all three. It is a clear flawless mirror. When the sathwik nature is reflected in that mirror, God results; when the rajasik nature is reflected, the jeeva (individualised Self) results. It is everanxious to grow, to grab, to survive and to be secure. When thamasik nature is reflected, matter (the objective world) is the result. All three are Paramatman, but they derive their reality as Its reflections. When undergoing reflections, they attain different forms and combinations of characteristics. The One becomes many; every one of the many is Real only because of the One in it. Maya too is a component of the One; by the emphasis on that component, the One transformed Itself into the many.
The One comprehends all the images
We now know that maya is like a mirror. The mirror reflects within itself all that is before it. The convexity or concavity of the mirror, or the covering of dust that might have settled on it, will certainly blur the reflected image, but it cannot distort the objects themselves. Ishwara, prakrithi and jeeva (the Almighty God, objective world and individualised self), all three are images of Paramatman (Supreme soul) reflected in the mirror of maya and warped by the gunas (qualities) that tarnish the surface of the mirror. It is the mirror that pictures the One as many. But the One is ever One. The One is comprehensive of all this. So It has no wants, no desires and no activity to realise anything. Shri Krishna tells Arjuna, "Na me Partha! asthi karthavyam, thrishu lokeshu kinchana" (There is nothing I have to do in any of the three worlds), He has willed the world as His Sport. He has laid down that every deed must have its consequence. He is the dispenser of the consequences, but He is not involved in the deeds.
None can discover the beginning of maya
Therefore it becomes plain that neither the personalised God, nor the individualised self, nor even the objective world can ever succeed in discovering the beginning of the maya which brought them into existence and started the chain of 'act-consequence- act.' Nevertheless, one can succeed in knowing when maya will end! When will it end? When the objective world is ignored, set aside, denied or discovered to be immanent in the Divine, the jeeva (individualized being) is no more. When the jeeva is no more, the Ishwara (Cosmic Being or personalized God) is also superfluous and disappears. And when the Ishwara has faded out, the Brahman (Absolute Reality) alone Is. Where there is no child, how can a mother exist? It is a word with no significance. When a personalised God, a personality separate from the rest, called jeeva, and the mental creation of that jeeva, called prakrithi (the objective world), are non-existent in the developed consciousness of man, maya, the progenitor of all three, cannot persist. When space is enclosed in a pot, it appears limited and small. But once released from the upadhi (container), it again merges in the infinite sky. The sky is not reduced or transformed in shape or quality by being held in the upadhi. So, too, the One Atman that is pervading the bodies and lives of billions of beings does not get affected by the upadhis (living beings) to which it adheres for some time. Many are affected by the problem of what caused the Cosmos. How did it come into being? They advance various theories and lay down many opposing hypotheses. But there is no need for seekers to beat about the bush so much. Just as a dream results when one is cut off from reality in a state of sleep, the Cosmos is a result of being cut off from reality by maya in a state of ignorance. The Cosmos is as ephemeral and as vagarious as a dream. It is difficult to discover laws that explain or govern its infinite mysteries. More profitable than inquiring into the mysteries is the inquiry into possible ways of benefitting by them and learning from them. It is mostly a waste of time to probe into the origin of the Cosmos or to determine how it will end. You are a part of creation, so try to understand yourself and keep your goal in view.
The individual has three qualities in him
The jeeva (individual) has the emotional, passionate and active qualities in his composition. The quality that is inferior is the thamasik and that which is superior is the sathwik. Ishwara is the sathwik reflection of Brahman. Therefore man must strive to rise higher into the sathwik realm. He must be ever vigilant not to slide down into the lower realm - the thamasik realm of matter and material pursuits. The Guru has to hold this ideal before the pupil and guide him towards it. He must encourage him to become aware of the God within man. The word adhyathmik (spiritual) is used often by aspirants and preceptors. What exactly is implied by adhyathmik? Is bhajana (congregational prayer) adhyathmik? Or does it involve japa or dhyana? Or does it denote religious rituals and ceremonies? Or does it extend to pilgrimages to holy places? No. These are only beneficial acts. Adhyathmik, in its real sense, relates to two progressive achievements or at least sincere attempts towards those two achievements: elimination of the animal traits still clinging to man and unification with the Divine.
Three different types of Gurus in the world
Consider how far man has succeeded in overcoming the animal inheritance of lust, greed and hate, when he spends time, money and energy for these so called adhyathmik exercises. What progress does he make by listening to exponents of texts? Has man become any less bestial? This is the inquiry, this is the assessment for man to be engaged in, though this is the very task ignored by him at present.
The sadhanas (spiritual practices) now adopted promote only pride and prompous display, envy and egotism. They do not uproot them in the least. People proceed to the House of God as pilgrims, but pray to Him for more money, fame and power, for their thoughts, words and deeds centre only around these transitory and trivial tokens of worldly success. The world and all its trappings bespeak the thamasik guna (quality of inertia). They can never raise man to the higher sathwik (pure level).
The Guru must exhort the individual self to realise the Universal Self. On this Guru Poornima, we must revere with grateful hearts such Gurus who have consummated liberation for many. They are the highest Gurus. There are in the world many other types also. There is the Guru who gives you a manthra (sacred formula), tells you its potentialities and directs you to repeat it sincerely and steadily. He is the dheeksha guru; the initiation into the manthra is called dheeksha in ritualistic parlance. He assumes that his duty ends with the gift of the manthra and the command to use it with conviction and care. He does not direct the pupil to master his senses or guide him to march forward and attain that victory. For the pupil the manthra is a formula to be repeated in a parrot-like way. He might not even know that it is a precious gift, but without the sadhana (spiritual discipline) of self-improvement, the gift has no value at all.
The maya too is an aspect of Brahman
A second type of Guru recommends the worship of one or another of the forms of God. Another set of gurus teach lessons destined to change your consciousness. These are the teacher-gurus. But all these types ignore the One and divert attention, adoration and devotion to the many, which are only relatively real. They do not lay down methods by which purity and clarity can be won. They are afraid to antagonise the animal urges in their pupils. Their teachings fill the head but do not thrill the heart. All types of gurus assert that God, Nature and man are distinct, whereas they are all really based on the play of maya on Brahman. They deal with subsidiary not the Primary, the diversity not the Unity, the trivial not the true. The primary is Brahman which, when reflected in maya, seems to be broken into God, Nature and man. These three are only the unreal images of the One. And the maya, too, is an aspect of Brahmam "Mama-maya" (My maya), says Krishna in the Geetha. Hence when we merge in Brahman or win the Grace of the Lord, His maya cannot exist for us. One can also be rid of maya if one can discard the three gunas from one's make up. The Sathwa guna, too, has to be transcended. Why? The Geetha directs that even the eagerness to be liberated is a bond. One is fundamentally free; bondage is only an illusion. So the desire to unloosen the bond is the result of ignorance. Krishna says, "Arjuna! Become free from the three guna." In truth, the word 'guna' means 'rope,' for all three gunas bind the jeeva with the rope of desire. Liberation means liberation from delusive moha (attachment). 'Mohakshaya' is decline in the desire caused by attachment to sensory pleasure.
The greatest of Gurus was Sage Vyasa
The Yadhavas were attached to Krishna through a sense of worldly belonging. He was their kinsmen, they felt, and this feeling did not save them from total destruction. The gopees felt they were His, not that He was theirs. So they were recipients of His Grace. When the ideas of 'I' and 'mine' disappear, man's only thoughts are of 'Thee' and 'Thine.' He then finds only 'Thee' everywhere and thus achieves the Vision of Unity. This day thousands of you have gathered here because it is Guru Poornima, the 'full Moon of the Guru.' The fully worth-while Guru must facilitate that Vision of Unity without the discords and divisions that 'mine' and 'thine' engender in the mind of man. Such a Guru was the sage Vyasa. This day is also called Vyasa Poornima, a day when mankind offers him the gratitude he deserves. 'Vyaso Narayano Harih': Vyasa is the Lord Narayana, Hari. Narayana, the Lord Himself, came as a man called Vyasa, to collate the Vedas and teach man the path towards God. He has made the path plain and easy to climb. But the tragedy is that man has misinterpreted or missed the path. He has stuck to his out-moded beliefs in the efficacy of worldly, material and transitory rituals and rites, which weaken his mind through fear or pride. The true Guru should keep away from such weakening tactics and should impart the strengthening awareness of the Atman. Only then can he be revered as a Guru. When there is the clear call from the higher regions of the sathwik, why should the Guru remain deaf to that call and grovel in the regions of thamas and rajas? Why must he be content to keep his pupils in those lower levels?
Goodness is natural to man, not evil
However, the trend among the guides and seekers in the spiritual field is to avoid the heights and wander in the valleys. Consider for a moment how long worldly triumphs last. They are but the play of scintillating name and form on the Divine, which is the core of every being and thing. Earn the vision that sees the Divine inherent in all. We are not troubled when something is good, but only when it is bad. This is because goodness is natural and evil is an aberration. We are worried and alarmed when someone slides into wrong or is in pain or in sorrow. This is because nature plans us to be right, to be happy and ever in joy. It is a pity that man has lost his understanding of this truth.
Embodiments of the Divine Atman! In truth, man is the encased Atman. He is the repository of the infinite, ever-full, One, Indivisible Atman. Man, at best, remains man, satisfied with the rajoguna dominant in him. Many are content with their dealings with the objective, thamasik world. Their ideal is only to amass material wealth and satisfy material needs. Examine yourselves and discover at what level you are by analysing your desires and activities. In this way you can yourselves sublimate your thoughts and urges. Your revised urges must have a beneficial impact on your activities, for it is through activity that gunas are given up or gained. Activity causes birth and death and fills up the years of one's life. It supports good and evil, joy and grief. However, man is willfully unaware of the activities that will lighten the burden of his life and also illumine the Atman. It is the Atman that illumines all, but man is in the dark about its existence. Just as everything sweet is sweet on account of the sugar it contains, all things and objects are cognized because the Atman is behind the cognition. It is the Universal Witness. It is the Sun that activates all but never gets activated itself. You, too, must establish yourself in the position of a witness.
Methods to attain the status of a witness
The sages have laid down methods by which man can attain the status of a witness. Dhyana (meditation) is the most important of these. It is the penultimate of eight steps, the last one being Samadhi (super conscious state of communion), and grants the wisdom to be completely unaffected. The sixth stage is dharana (concentration). Dharana is the stage when japa, puuja and other practices are engaged in, in order to prepare the concentration of mind for dhyana. Dhyana is not mere sitting erect and silent. Nor is it the absence of any movement. It is the merging of all your thoughts and feelings in God. Without the mind becoming dissolved in God, dhyana cannot succeed. The Geetha describes genuine dhyana as 'Ananyaschinthanyatho mam ye janah paryupasathe' (Those persons who adore Me, without any other thought or feeling). Krishna has assured such persons that He would Himself carry their burden and be by their side, guiding and guarding. Persons adept in this dhyana are very rare; most people go through the external exercises only. So they are unable to win Grace.
Bodies are expressions of the Atman
Dhyana is interrupted in most cases by worry and anxiety regarding one's kith and kin, and one's earning of riches. But since all are manifestations of the maya which is natural to Brahman or Paramatman, the Paramatman (Supreme Self) in which you take refuge will certainly free you from fear. Why? You are, each one, the Atman and nothing else. This is the reason why I began this discourse, addressing you as Dhivyatma swaruupas! Your bodies, too, are expressions of the Atman (divine self). Your personality, individuality, mind, intellect - all are manifestations of the Atman which is the prime mover of your life. This teaching is being propagated since ages by the sages of this land. The seers who saw the validity of this vision encouraged inquiry and experiment into the process of dhyana and sadhana.
Sage Vyasa sympathised with man who was caught in the coils of do's and don'ts, of success and failure, of desire and despair. He demarcated many a path which leads man along to fulfilment. The fulfilment consists in uprooting the animal that lurks in man and reaching out to the Divinity that is his essence. We find individuals and groups trudging to Badhrinath, Kedharnath and Haridhwar in search of peace and prosperity. They also go to Thirupathi and Kashi. Have they jettisoned even a few of their animal propensities. That is the test; that is the justification for the money and time they have spent and the troubles they have undergone. When the animal is conquered and God head is felt within reach, man can assert that all these pilgrimages are within him. He has no need to travel from temple to temple. And without achieving this victory you have no right to claim that you are a devotee of Rama or Krishna, or of any other Incarnation of the Lord. This is real adhyathmikatha (spiritual progress). I bless you all that you may earn it.
Man must demonstrate his superiority over the animal, by conquest over the senses. He must wriggle out of his animal shackles and assert his "humanity," which is essentially "divinity". When Emperor Bharthruhari gave up his throne and went into a hermitage in the forest, the subordinate rulers who were his tributaries laughed at the stupid step and asked him how he got the idea and what he gained.
Bharthruhari replied, "I have now gained a vaster empire, a richer and more peaceful empire; I gave in exchange a poor barren torn empire; see what profit I have made."
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Selected Excerpts From This Discourse
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