Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 11 (1971 - 72)
Why Shivam?

THE construction of this Mandhir named Shivam is a special Sadhana for the residents of Bhagyanagara (Hyderabad). Its appearance is unique, for it is to be built in the shape of a Linga, the form most approximate to the conception of the formless, attributeless Absolute. The Linga is the form of God, emerging from the Nirakara (formless) to the Sakara (formfilled). Other Akaras (Forms) are all subsumed in the Linga Form. Prakrithi, the objective world, is the base; it signifies that the Lord is established in that manifestation of His, which is the concrete presentation of His play, His potentiality and His Shakthi (Power). That is why the Lord is described as Shiva Shakthi Atmaka Swaruupam : - "the Supreme which became the Shiva and the Shakthi," the latent and the patent. You will notice that the base has a horizontal superstructure, over which the cylindrical Linga is placed. The base is Sathyam, the structure over it is Shivam and the Linga is Sundharam. One is the flower, the second is the perfume and the third is the wind, the Formless that wafts the fragrance, which is the symbol of mangalam (auspiciousness) which is Shivam. Sathyam or (Truth) is the base on which the Universe and all that it implies rest. The message this building will convey is that man is the embodiment of Sathyam, Shivam and Sundharam, and it will call on all to live up to that glory. He has to realise the Truth and demonstrate in thought, word and deed that Truth is the very basis of his existence. Know the Truth and the Truth shall make you strong, steady kin with all, and free from the bonds of lust and hate. Man has to learn the lesson of Shivam: swallow the poison of anger and greed, and make it ineffective in its effort to harm the world. Spread consolation and comfort through speech and action.
Man has to realise that he is Shivam
Shiva wears the crescent on His crown so that the soft moonlight might mark out the pilgrim route to God, and make the journey less toilsome. He spreads joy and peace. But, the fiery, ferocious poison, Shiva hides behind the blue patch on His throat. That is a lesson for man: keep under restraint, within you, the qualities and tendencies that are anti-social, the poisonous hatreds and competitive greeds. The Shivam does not mean any particular God or unit of the Trinity. It includes all mankind, for man has to realise that he is Shivam. Then, the Sundharam too is a reminder that Truth is beauty, and Beauty is Divine, not mere physical beauty but, moral and spiritual beauty. Give up ugly thoughts, unpleasant speech and disgusting acts. Have the ideal of beauty ever in mind.
Avadhani said just now that such buildings are the landmarks of the Sai Era and that they should be built all over India. I have no such desire. I do not appreciate or encourage such accumulations of stone and cement, of brick and mortar. I long to reside in your hearts, fragrant with the incense of fine virtues, merciful intentions and compassionate emotions. That is the Shivam I desire, the Mandhir built of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. Inner Charm is the genuine Beauty. Seetha interned in Ashoka Vana in Lanka, was suddenly confronted by a monkey; but, that ugly creature struck her as full of beauty, when it brought her the long awaited message from Rama! The loveliness of the Vana (garden), the appealing scenery, the bright beautiful ware that Ravana spread before her could not win her heart; but, the one word, Rama endeared her to the strange monkey crouched on top of the tree under which she was encircled by ogresses.
Smog of hatred and greed tarnish the temple towers
The beauty of Nature is but a reflection of the Beauty that is God. But, like all images, it is not substantial. Flowers fade, clouds scatter into new patterns, physical charm is but a flash that disappears in a moment - but, Divine Beauty is eternal, full, free. That Sundharam, is Sathyam, unaffected by the passage of Time, unchanging with the location; that Sundharam is the real Shivam, the only Good that is. Pursuing paltry physical beauty leads man astray; it is as calamitous as the pursuit of trivial joy. Shivam is Goodness; the Body is for realising Godness, which is total goodness. But, the body is not itself goodness or godness; it is an instrument that breaks down every moment and that is rebuilt every moment getting weaker in the process. The father says proudly, My son is growing fast, but really, his life is ebbing fast. The body is valuable, only on account of its use in realising God. So also, a Mandhir or this Shivam is valuable only when you are able to realise the God that dwells therein. The Gopuram (Tower) of a temple or mandhir is like the raised hand of God calling on the weary pilgrim to halt and take rest, and proceed faster to the Goal he is seeking. In most places, these old towers are hidden in the forest of chimneys that have crowded around them in recent times. The smoke from these factories and the smog of hatred that emanate from faction and greed tarnish the atmosphere of the temple towers. Even the temples have been denigrated by the bargaining for fees and the collection of toll for religious services. The stream of Anandha that flows from worship is interrupted by demands for monetary contributions. Temples are not allowed to pour into the social mind a constant stream of peace and joy.
"Why this Mandhir? you may ask. Is it for My stay whenever I happen to visit Hyderabad? I do not need a huge building, nor the furniture and appliances you are proposing to collect here. It will serve more the needs of those who have now to follow Me around from house to house. Since I have no fixed residence, they are hard put to it, women and children, the well and the ill, to know where I will be available. This building will give them a place where they can await Me. It also gives Me another excuse to come to Hyderabad for, I am surely coming to 'open' this Shivam, when it is completed!
Selected Excerpts From This Discourse