Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 9 (1969)
Sign and symptom of glory

MAN has to journey over the road that lies over pleasure and pain, grief and joy; the journey can be smooth, only when he resorts to wisdom, devotion and detachment as his equipment for the travail of travel. These are available to him in large measure, provided he will listen to the experience of elders, as written in scripture or as related personally all around him; he can also get acquainted with them, if only he sits down silently for a while and watches the flow of events and the passage of the caravan of life. The child rolls unconcerned in urine and faeces, because it is unaware of the dirt and the disgust; but, as it grows in experience and wisdom, it learns that it is shameful and dangerous to grovel in dirt. Similarly, man in his ignorance rolls in sensory absurdities; he has then some excuse for not knowing better. Later, however, if he does not learn by experience and keep away from the nauseating habits and pursuits that demean his intelligence and powers of discrimination, he becomes the target of ridicule. He is a danger to himself and others. The noun collects many adjectives, the innocent individual gets many attributes attached to it, that deface its purity! The doctor is incapable of diagnosing the illness - he can judge only the equilibrium between the three body humours of vatha pittha and kapha (wind, bile, and phlegm; only the Divine Doctor, (Vaidhyo Narayano Harih) the expert in the inner sheaths of the individual - the Vijnanamaya kosha, the Anandha maya kosha (wisdom and bliss) - can distinguish between the Gunas (qualities) and their influences on character and activity.
Merit is when you do good to another
Enthusiasm to progress in the spiritual field and earn mental peace thereby is on the increase in recent years; this is another evidence of the Grace that the Avathar (divine incarnation) sheds. There is enormous interest, not only in India, but all over the world in the methods adopted by the Rishis (sages) of this land to acquire shanthi (peace), through Prema (Love) and through Yoga, Dharma and Sathya (communion with God, virtue and truth). Ten or fifteen years ago, attendance at discourses on religious subjects was very sparse, only a handful of old men and women! But now, we see thousands and lakhs, coming from long distances and sitting through long hours, eager and expectant! And, a large majority are youth! Youth is eager to share the heritage of the past, so that they may build a better future for themselves. The word Hindhu means those who keep away from the path of violence, away of from inflicting injury on others; Hin (Hinsa-injury, violence); dhu (dhura - away, distant). The Shasthras declare that the essence of all the 18 Puranas so highly revered in India is Merit is when you do good to another; sin is when you do evil to another. When you are fixed in this path, you will welcome all faiths and religions as kith and kin; all faiths attempt to trainman along this path. Muslims, Christians Bud-Jews, Parsis all aspire to win the same Illumination, through the cleansing the mind by means of good works The seeds of all these are in the Sanathana Dharma of the Vedantha (concluding philosophical portion of sacred scriptures). Just as the Congress has a number of splinter parties like the SSP, PSP and even the Communist Party, so too other faiths are but the right, left or centre, of the Sanathana Dharma of India. That Dharma examines all possible approaches to the Divine and arranges them in the order in which they can be utilised by the aspirant, according to the level of equipment and attainment. When a tree first shoots forth from the seed, it comes up with a stem and two incipient leaves! But, later, when it grows, the trunk is one, and the branches are many! Each branch may be thick enough to be called a trunk; but, one should not forget that the roots send food as sap through one single trunk. God, the same God, feeds the spiritual hunger of all nations and all faiths, through the common sustenance of truth, virtue, humility and sacrifice.
Vedhic Dharma is the grandfather of all religions
Last May, when I was in Bombay for the Annual Day of the Dharmakshethra, we had a gathering of intellectuals at Dr. K.M. Munshi's place, when a number of Vice-Chancellors, doctors, advocates and professors were eager to meet me. The meeting turned out to be a question and answer session, for about six hours! One question was about this: the different faiths that drag men into diverse, divergent paths! I told them: No one knows exactly when the Vedas were collated in their present form. Bala Gangadhar Thilak surmised that it must have happened about 13,000 years ago; others bring the date down to 6,000 years ago, but, all are agreed that it was beyond at least 4,000 years! And, Buddha is a historical figure, who lived about 2,500 years ago. Christ was born 1969 years ago, and Islam was formed 600 years later. So, chronologically as well as logically, the inference is correct, that the Vedhic Dharma is the grandfather, Buddhism is the Son, Christianity the grandson, and Islam the great-grandson. If there is any misunderstanding between them it is but a family affair. The ancestral property of which all are co-sharers is the same. Another question was about the Atom Bombs, and whether India should not endeavour to acquire the same. I replied that it is no shame that we have not made one; it is a source of pride that we have not made one. We do not need one to get the senses of security. The Five Pandava Brothers were led by the eldest of them, aptly named Dharmaraja, the Upholder of Right. His brother Bheema was the mightiest warrior of those days, who used to wield a mace, which shook the earth when it was planted by him on the ground. He wrestled with the gigantic Keechaka and slew him. He was unexcelled in intellectual and physical strength. Another brother, Arjuna was the master bowman of the age, armed with some of the most potent arrows that the Gods themselves bad bestowed on him, in appreciation of his valour and his faith. But, these two brothers acre as if they were but the limbs of the eldest brother; they never deviated from the path of righteousness laid down by Dharmaraja.
Let 'service' be the slogan for this nation
I told that gathering that so long as India stuck to the path of Dharma (righteousness), Russia, which is the Bheema of the day and America, the Arjuna of the day will revere this land and learn from it the means of securing mental peace and security. For, their present power and pride are the manifestations of an indwellingfear, an unallayed agony eating the vitals. The Pandavas were therefore blessed by the Lord, to come through all the travail that assailed them. The Pandavas were so righteous that, when they found their enemies, the Kauravas, kidnapped by the Gandharva tribe, they rushed to rescue them (!) for they know that there was no other way of getting them released from their fell hands! That is the role that you too should play. Service - let that be the slogan for this nation. Service, not for those who have many to serve them, the wherewithal to help themselves, but, for the diseased in the hospitals who have no one to nurse them, nourish them or give them a smile or a flower, or write a letter home for them.
Giving and sharing doubles the joy
One day when a number of sages met, they had a discussion on the code of conduct for women. There were some women present; they desired to know the duties of the housewife. The women said that they were filled with Anandha (happiness) when they gave away, and not when they received and accumulated! The happiest moments of motherhood were when the mother feeds her baby, her own essential self, at her breast, allowing it to imbibe her own health through its lips. Another woman said that she felt more joy when she served the dishes that she cooked to others, her husband, her children, the guests, rather than when she partook of them, herself. It is in giving that the joy lies, not in receiving. No one can enjoy eating even the richest meal alone! Sharing doubles the joy.
I want to tell you that the Anandha (bliss) you derive from service is something you can never get through any other activity. The thrill that a kind word, a small gift, a good gesture, a sign of sympathy, a sign of compassion can bring about on a distressed heart is something that is beyond words to describe.
The Vedas teach man that all are kin; that all are divine. They emphasise that God is Love. It is to preserve this valuable heritage, to propagate it, and save the world from the waves of hatred and violence that are overwhelming it, that the All India Prasanthi Vidhwanmahasabha (the great Assembly of Scholars) has been formed It will instil reverence for the ancient temples of this land, wherefrom spiritual vibrations spread over the entire community. They were museums of art, promoters of poetry, schools of Vedhic studies, integrators of caste and instruments of moral; upliftment. The Sabha will endeavour to foster these activities and encourage other kindered organisations having the ideal of fostering the universal values of religion.
Today man is denying himself the boon of peace
By peace, Western countries mean the interval between two wars, when vigorous efforts are made to avenge the insult of defeat, and consolidate the spoils of victory and prepare for the next round! That is no peace! When man thinks good, and speaks good, and does good, "Shanthi (peace) will ensue, but, he now speaks good, though he thinks evil and proposes to do evil! He ignores the principle of Immortality that is his core, the principle of Love that is the life-blood of the human community; he denies himself the boon of peace and rushes towards destruction. Destroying others he destroys himself. It is only in the contemplation of the beauty, majesty and Omnipresence of God that one can be at peace. This hour when you have been sitting so tightly packed before me here, you have had no other thoughts than these, I am sure. Make your heart a Prasanthi Nilayam (abode of Supreme Peace), by the recollection of God's glory and of your being a sign and symptom of that Glory. The Minister was saying that he wishes to do something for the Nilayam. He said that he would personally approach his colleagues in the Ministry and see that the road to this place is improved soon. The body craves the comfort of a macadamised or tarred road; but, the heart prefers the road of purity and humility, so that it may reach the Goal of Mergence with God. I am more interested in that Road; I am not enthusiastic about the tarred road, for, that would make the journey to this place easier and so even the little discipline of slow, careful driving that is now imposed upon people coming here will disappear! Learn to bear with some little difficulty, while coming here. Life is not all smooth riding. It is a series of ups and downs. Bharath has taught and practised the art of smooth travel, for centuries. Learn that art and be at peace.
Being in company of the holy is like the bit and bridle for the wanton steed, the anicut and canals for the raging flood. The value of holy places, consists in just this; kindred spirits congregate there and contribute to the deepening of spiritual yearning. You can take sweet and sustaining counsel together in such places and strengthen your faith and devotion.
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Selected Excerpts From This Discourse