4. Sathyam Shivam Sundaram
Summer Showers 1993 - Indian Culture And Spirituality
Sathyam Shivam Sundaram
Embodiments of Love!
The one whose heart is full of compassion, whose words are steeped in love and whose body is used in the service of fellow men is neither affected by evil powers, nor by the adverse influence of the age of Kali.
Neither the scriptures nor the sacred texts can ever rend asunder the curtain of the mind. In front of the curtain is man, and behind it is God. Cause on one side and Consequence on the other.
Though the individual Self and the Absolute Reality, Cause and Consequence are one and the same, they appear to be separate due to the interference of the curtain of the mind. It is by mastering the mind, the individual Being can become the Absolute Self, Prakruthi (world) can be transformed to Paramatma (Over Self) and Cause can become Consequence.
Neither house nor forest can liberation confer,
For it is the mind that decides.
Whether house or forest, it matters little
When you have vanquished the mind.
For it is the mind that decides.
Whether house or forest, it matters little
When you have vanquished the mind.
For attachment, hatred and for all the differences that we entertain, mind is the cause. The mind envelopes all and encircles all. Where there is no mind, there is no world at all. Where the world does not exist, hatred and attachment cease to exist; where attachment and hatred do not exist, sorrow and joy cease to exist. Such a state free from sorrow and joy is the real state of man.
For the sorrow and suffering of man, attachment and hatred are the cause. For hatred and attachment, world is the cause; and for the world, mind is the cause. Hence it is said: “Mano moolam idam jagat.” It is only by transcending the mind that man can ever hope to attain Divinity. Man is bound by the power of mind in the waking state, the dream state and the deep sleep state as well. Man can become God only by attaining the state that transcends these three states.
The microcosm contains in it the macrocosm, for the micro and the macrocosms are the manifestations of the One Reality. The tree is contained in the seed and seed in the tree, for the seed and the tree are one and the same. While looking at the seed, you cannot see in it the tree. But in fact, the tree is contained in the seed.
Similarly, the macrocosm is contained in the microcosm. It is the realisation of this truth that enables man to envision his true form. Man becomes blind to the Reality as long as he has outward vision. It is only by cultivating inner vision that he can attain the realisation of the Inner Divinity. It is the realisation of this Inner Divinity that leads you to the realisation of the ‘Cosmic Divine.’ INNER DIVINE AND COSMIC DIVINE:
What is the difference between the ‘Inner Divine’ and the ‘Cosmic Divine’? In fact, there is no difference at all. Divinity in man is the ‘Inner Divine,’ and the Divinity that pervades the Cosmos is the ‘Cosmic Divine.’ They are like object and reflection. But man has to renounce worldly feelings and cultivate Divine feelings. Unless one renounces Prakruthi bhava, (worldly feelings) one cannot cultivate Paramatma bhava (divine feelings). Unless one peels off the bitter rind of the orange fruit, one cannot taste the sweet juice in the orange fruit. Without renouncing the rind of worldly feelings one cannot enjoy the sweet juice of Divinity. Indeed Prakruthi and Paramatma are one. The mistake lies in ‘Dristi’ (vision) not ‘Sristi’ (creation). When we look at a silver plate, we are not conscious of the silver content of it. We are conscious of the plate, not the silver. But when we turn our attention to the silver in the plate, we are oblivious of the plate. Similarly, when we gaze at the Divinity that pervades the world, the world vanishes. Only the Divinity remains.
In fact, the relationship between the ‘Prakruthi’ and the ‘Paramatma’ the ‘Jeeva’ and the ‘Deva’ is inextricable and interdependent. But it is the mind that brings the difference, standing as a curtain between Prakruthi and Paramatma, You and God. Jeeva and Deva become one, once the curtain of the mind is lifted. It is by effort and endeavour that the mind can be conquered, not by bookish learning and argumentation.
From dawn to dusk, our vision is directed outward, not inward. We are lured away by the transitory pleasures of the world. Materialistic pleasures are momentary.
TRUE BEAUTY AND WORSHIP:
It is said that face is the index of the mind. But this is not true in the case of modern man who practices hypocrisy. Modern man undervalues the importance of life. But life is precious, infinite, immortal and eternal. But man takes delight in enjoying the momentary pleasures of the world, instead of drinking at the nectarine springs of life. The scramble for transitory pleasures robs man of peace and joy. I will give an illustration to substantiate this. Man decorates his house and body, for man craves for beauty. But such efforts give him only momentary satisfaction, not lasting joy. It is the inner beauty, not external beauty, that lends eternal satisfaction. It is invisible beauty of the heart that everybody should endeavour to cultivate. Love, patience and compassion are the virtues that lend beauty to the heart. Sweet are the words of the man who has cultivated the beauty of the heart. Such a man’s effulgence is true effulgence; such a man’s hands seek noble deeds. Such a noble one is worthy of worship. What is wrong in worshipping such a worthy one?
What is worship? We have a mistaken notion that worship is offering of fruits and flowers. True worship is the union and the harmony of hearts. It is the enjoyment of true beauty that goes into the making of a real worship. The perception of unity in diversity and the enjoyment of Divinity in Humanity is real worship. It is the duty enjoined on man to cultivate the maturity of the heart. Though the world is the embodiment of God, it appears to be insipid, as long as we look at it with a worldly attitude. What is the cause for this?
Everybody looks at the world from his own angle. Even the best of the mangoes tastes astringent when raw. It tastes sour when half-ripe; it is sweet only when totally ripe. The world is like a ripe fruit. But it tastes bad as long as we look at it with a worldly attitude. The nectarine sweetness of the world can be enjoyed only when it is viewed with a Divine attitude. Hence man’s main endeavour lies in the transformation of his attitudes and mind. Only a deliberate and sincere effort can yield dividends in this regard.
THE TRUE MAN:
It is the ‘Drishti’ (vision) that distorts the mind. The thoughts which constitute the mind actually contribute to the aberration of the mind. Hence, a true man is one who cultivates sublime and noble thoughts; a true man is one who has cultivated the right vision, the right speech and the right feeling. The story of the three monkeys substantiates this truth. The monkey that shuts its eyes tells us not to see bad; the one that closes its ears teaches us not to hear bad; and the one that closes its mouth tells us not to speak evil. Hence, do not see evil, do not hear evil, do not speak evil.
The world is fouled and polluted by the distortions of hearing, speech and sight. It is the inner pollution of man which is reflected as the pollution outside. Everything is the reflection of the inner being. There is no redemption unless mind is redeemed. It is not possible to extinguish the mind; the solution lies in merging the mind into the Divine. The sandal-stick yields no fragrance as long as it is a stick; it yields fragrance only when it is rubbed hard on the ground. Similarly, ‘Prakruthi’ too has such fragrance. But it can be enjoyed only by merging Prakruthi into the ‘Paramatma.’ Unless we grow from one mind to another - the natural mind, the Supermind, the Higher mind, the Illuminated mind and the Overmind, it is impossible to attain such a sublime stature. How can we travel up to the Supermind when we are not able to restrain even the natural mind? It is only by strong resolution that the impediments can be crossed and the objective attained.
It is indeed easy to transform the mind. It is easy to do good and difficult to do evil, easy to speak truth and hard to speak falsehood. Man has to devise devious ways to utter falsehood. Truth involves no effort; falsehood involves hard and crooked effort. It is indeed easy to report things as they are. It is not a mistake to commit a mistake - Sadhana lies in realising the mistake and correcting it.
THE ETERNAL ‘I’:
Deluded by the form and externalties, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that we are ordinary men. Though man has to undergo different stages of infancy, childhood, youth and old age, the same Divinity runs as an undercurrent all the time. Divinity is always the same. Divinity is changeless, eternal and true. Truth is God. In the numerals, the number ‘1’ remains changeless though the others have to undergo changes and variations. Similarly, Divinity remains changeless and eternal. ‘Ekam Sat Vipra Bahuda Vadanthi.’ Though the Reality is one, man considers it to be many, depending upon his thoughts, feelings, attitudes and station. For example the water in the tumbler is called “Neeru” in Telugu, “Tanni” in Tamil, “Pani” in Hindi and “Vari” in Sanskrit. Though the water in the tumbler is called differently in different languages, water remains the same. There is only one Reality that exists in the world. That Reality is Divinity.
What is the first name of this Reality? Neither Atma nor Daiva (God) nor even ‘Aum’ is the first name. In fact ‘I’ is the first name of Divinity. This ‘I’ is frequently used in daily life for ‘I’ is the basis for all our deeds. ‘I’ is the vital breath, the self, the overself and everything. That is why it is said “Easwara Sarva Bhutanam” (The Lord manifests himself in all). It is because the ‘I’ is existent in all, the Lord is said to be manifesting in all. Though we say that the Lord manifests Himself in all, our words do not carry the true conviction born of firm faith. One day thieves stole the valuable ornaments in the temple where Ramakrishna was a priest. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa after noticing the theft went to Madhuranatha, the custodian of the temple and reported the theft to him. Madhuranatha, became furious after hearing the news of the theft and immediately went to Krishna’s statue. His anger knew no limits when he saw that there was not a single ornament on the statue of Krishna. He shouted “Krishna! Fie on you! How can you guard the world when you are not able to guard your ornaments from the hands of the thieves? Are you asleep or are you dumb? It is shameful that being Divine you could not protect your own ornaments.
Hearing these words Ramakrishna said, “Madhuranatha! Speak no more, why should Krishna crave for your ornaments when Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, is His consort. Why should you be pained so much for the theft? Since you are full of desires, you delude yourself into the thinking that the Lord craves for the ornaments. In fact, the Lord allows Himself to be robbed off. Indeed, the Lord is ever ready to offer Himself to devotees totally. Hence change your attitude and never criticise the Lord.” Madhuranatha went away crestfallen. Then Ramakrishna Paramahamsa sat near the statue of Sri Krishna and pleaded, “Oh Lord! Grant me the blessing to be crazy after you and not after the worldly possessions for which people go crazy. Grant me the blessing of Divine intoxication.” It is only after the experience of Divinity that everything appears to be Divine. The universe is suffused with Divinity.
The world is the same in all the four states of Jagrat, Swapna, Sushupti, and Thuriya. The thuriya state is indeed the state of the overmind. It is in this state of the overmind that man achieves the total transcendence of the mind and shines as “The Pure Divine Self.” The Pure Divine Self is devoid of all attributes and hence all-pervasive. It is the attributes of sound, smell, touch, taste and form that decide the pervasive quality of the elements. For example, the earth which is endowed with the five attributes of shabdha, sparsha, roopa, rasa and gandha is very heavy and stable. But fire which is devoid of the attribute of smell is lighter than water and leaps up. The air which is without smell, taste and form is lighter than fire and blows around. Ether, which is devoid of the four attributes of smell, touch, taste and form, is lighter than air and pervades everywhere; but Divinity, in whom all attributes are absent, is more pervasive than the ether.
SATHYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM:
Man is an eternal entity. Though man is surrounded by the perishable things all around him, he entertains the notion that he would not perish and live forever. Though he sees death everyday, he feels that he should last long. This only points out to the immortal nature of humans. Though the body is mortal, you are immortal. There is a secret longing in every man that he should last forever. Even an old man of one hundred years goes to a doctor and requests him to give an injection without causing pain to him. This only points out to the fact how man craves for comfort. Hence, truth, beauty, and joy are verily the forms of Divinity. This also has been described as Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram (Truth, Goodness and Beauty). These three, constitute the reality of man. The truth is unchanging, Beauty is pleasant to behold. It is said, “Alankara Vishnupriyaha: Jaladharo Easwara Priyaha; Namaskaro Arunah priyaha; Bhojanam manavahpriya.”
Today, man does not yearn for either of these three: (Truth, Goodness and Beauty). On the other hand he craves for food, for food constitutes the gross body of the humans. Neither the gross body nor even the subtle body is permanent. The subtle body exists as long as the mind exists. In the deep-sleep state the mind is inactive and merges into the causal body. It is this merger of the mind and the causal body that contributes to man’s happiness in the deep-sleep state. Hence it is necessary on the part of man to explore the mysteries of his mind first. In fact, man and mind are not two different entities; they are only one, for man is mind. It is we who delegate the unwarranted authority to the mind and allow it to reign over us. We must keep the mind as the servant, subservient to our commands and never as our master. Then alone mind is at our beck and call, ready to carry out our commands. But today, unfortunately man allows himself to be mastered by the mind instead of his mastering the mind.
INDIVIDUAL DIVINE, DIVINE INTELLECTUAL WILL, AND COSMIC DIVINE:
Students, you should make the right endeavour to educate your mind and make it subservient to your wishes. When you find that your mind is wavering, you should say, “Oh mind! Do not go crazy and greedy. Be discreet and try to discriminate.” It is this kind of teaching that halts the accelerating speed of the mind. It is by the dint of such efforts that we cultivate the supreme quality of “Divine Intellectual Will.” It is by this Divine Intellectual Will that we can transform the entire universe into Cosmic Divine. It is possible for man to bring about this transformation since nothing is impossible. It is by determination and earnest resolution that the impossible becomes possible. Even a kite, if it does not decide to fly, stands transfixed to the ground. But when a tiny ant decides to move, it can cover miles. Hence it is the quality of determination that causes the difference. You must earnestly resolve to erase the difference of ‘I’ and ‘You’ and regard your fellowmen as good as yourself.
People labour under the impression that spirituality is ritualism. Spirituality on the other hand is the spirit of oneness. It is the spirit of oneness that constitutes the real spiritual endeavour, the right devotion and the correct wisdom. But unfortunately, we have not succeeded in attaining such wisdom.
THE NEED FOR CONVICTION:
People think that wisdom can be obtained by bookish learning. But, bookish learning, is only an artificial exercise, and true wisdom can never be obtained by artificial means. True wisdom is harvested by the heart alone. First and foremost, man should erase the feeling that he is different from God. One day, man will realise that he and God are one if he persistently practices the faith that ‘I am God.’ But, merely giving lip service to such statements yields no results. There was once a devotee who used to chant ‘Sivoham Sivoham.’ His friend who watched this asked for the meaning of Sivoham. The devotee answered that the meaning of Sivoham is ‘I am Shiva (Lord).’ Then, his friend questioned further, “If you are Shiva, what is Parvathi (the consort of Shiva) to you?” As soon as the devotee heard this, he said that it was outrageous to make such statements. This only brings out the artificial exercises of devotees who chant mantras (divine spiritual formulae) without any conviction. If the devotee had the conviction that he was indeed Shiva, he would have immediately said that he was himself Parvathi.
The mantras which we utter should carry conviction. We should practice the unity of thought, word and deed. It is this harmony of thought, word and deed which constitutes true spirituality. It is the practice of this kind of true spirituality that contributes to the prosperity of the nation. Listen to the spiritual teachings with one-pointed attention. What is heard should be remembered and reflected upon: what is remembered and reflected upon should be practised. That is the true meaning of the words Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasa. Sravana can be compared to the preparation of food stuffs in the kitchen, Manana, to eating the food stuffs and Nididhyasa, to the digesting. In fact, it is Nididhyasa that contributes to happiness, for Nidi-dhyasa is marked by practice. It is the practice of noble teachings that lends joy to mankind. It is not the hear-ing nor even the reflecting but only the practising which contributes to the joy of man. The ancient adage is, ‘Do at least one instead of saying a hundred.’ This is the philosophy that everyone should learn today. The tongue should utter the Divine name, the ear should rejoice in hearing the Divine, the eyes should enjoy the Divine form, the heart should be filled with the love for the Lord. Strive sincerely to harvest this Divine joy.