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Be Heroes, not Zeros

Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Peddhaapuram, 3 September 1958
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
Web posted at Feb 10, 2001

I am happy that I could converse now with so many of you at the same time. Yesterday and the day before, I had the same happy experience and thousands partook the joy from the words that were spoken. Now the whole world is very agitated; it is full of discontent and anxiety, fear and petty faction and hatred. In order to calm and quieten it and remove the discontent and anxiety, you must have enthusiasm and courage. When defeat and disappointment stare you in the face, you must not give way to weakness or despondency. Never condemn yourselves as inferior or useless; analyse the defeat and find out the reasons in order to avoid it the next time.

You should have muscles of iron and nerves of steel. Then you resolution will itself generate the necessary confidence; and that will win over opposition. For the crop of life, courage and confidence are the best manure; they are also the best insecticides. Be like lions in the spiritual field, rule over the forest of the senses and roam fearlessly with full faith in victory. Be heroes, not zeros; for Maanava (man) is of the nature of Maadhava (God); he is the imperishable eternal Aathma! Just as rain falling in various parts of the world flows through a thousand channels and reaches the ocean at last, so too, creeds, rituals, religions and theologies, all derived from man's yearning for the vast inscrutable beyond, flow in a thousand different forms, fertilising many fields, cooling many communities, refreshing tired people in many ways and at last reach the ocean of bliss.

Proper Atmosphere is essential for Saadhana

The Lord is all love; so he can be seen only through love; the moon has to be seen only thorough its own light, no other light can illumine the moon. In the night of Vyaamoha (utter delusion), the Lord can be seen only by the light that He himself is, namely, the light of pure Prema (love). He is Sathyam and Nithyam (truth and eternal) and so He is beyond the categories of Mithya or Jagath (falsity and change).

Drop the delusion that you have become old or diseased, or that you have become weak and debilitated. Some people begin to count the years and grieve over advancing age and shudder like cowards afraid of death. But remember, elation is heaven, despondency is hell. Have always some work to do and do it so well that you get joy.

Vyaamoha is the dust that settles upon the glass of the chimney of the lantern and dims the light. The attachment to sensual objects and to the pleasure they give is the soot that sticks to the inside of the chimney; that too dims the light. Clean the chimney by Naamasmarana every day and the flame will shine for you and others. Also, have good activities and good companionship. That will help very much in spiritual Saadhana; proper atmosphere is very essential for the aspirant. That is why Saadhakas (spiritual seekers) used to move out and dwell in the Aashrams (hermitages) maintained by sages in the past.

In the Aashrams, the Saadhakas had the unique chance of being immersed in good thoughts, good activities and good company. It is like keeping a pot of water immersed in water; the water in the pot will then not be lost through evaporation. But if the pot of water is kept in the open so that the wind plays upon it and the sun shines on it, very soon the pot becomes empty. Be careful, therefore, that the success you have won in the promotion of virtue, in the conquest of baneful habits and in the assumption of regular disciplines, are not frittered away by trite company, loose talk, cynical criticism or lackadaisical effort.

Draw upon God's grace for all your Needs

The Goddess of victory smiles only on the heroic, those who make lions of themselves, hardy, brave and adventurous warriors. If you secure the grace of Maadhava, you are reinforced with so much strength that you can carry out even the most difficult tasks. So get the Lord on your side and draw upon His grace for all your needs.

The treasure that is unmistakably precious is the quality of Shaantham, equanimity, unruffledness. Practise this and make it your natural reaction. Why be put out when you see wrong? Why be attracted when you see evil? Remember evil has in it the potentiality to become good; good has in it the liability to turn evil. There is no fire without a wisp of smoke; there is no smoke without a spark of fire. No one is fully wicked, or fully infallible. Take the world as it is, never expect it to conform to your needs or standards.

Maaya (illusory quality) envelops the good with the blemish of the bad; it makes the evil glitter with the shine of the good. Discriminate to the best of your capacity, and develop your capacity to discriminate. Struggle to win, that is the best that you can do; few can say, 'I have won.' Your conscience knows the real source of joy; it will prod you towards the right path; your business is to take it as 'guide' and not disobey it every time it contradicts your whim or fancy.

India has a rich Mine of Spirituality

There were two parrots on a tree, twins to be more precise. A hunter trapped them and sold them, one to a low, cruel butcher and the other to a sage who was running an Aasharm to teach the Vedhas (revealed eternal truths). After a few years, he was surprised to find that one bird swore very foully, while the other recited the Leelas (divine plays) of the Lord in a sweet musical tone which captivated the listeners. Such is the effect of the environment; so, seek and secure Sathsang (good company).

If truth is given up and man slides down the path of falsehood, then, as Appa Rao said just now, Kshaama (starvation and disease) will descend on the earth instead of Kshema (well-being), famine will stalk the land instead of the plenty that characterised it formerly. Appa Rao said that in Hindhusthan, there have been many manifestations of the Lord. That is true; for teachers have to be present where schools are and where children eager to learn are found. You cannot have the teachers in one place, the school in another; the black board in one place and the bell in another.

There are mica mines near Gudur; you cannot ask why they are not found near Peddhapuram. It is so, that is all. So too, in India, there is a rich mine of spirituality and so engineers have to come here to operate it, extract it and prepare it for use. That is the reason why more manifestations of the Lord appear here. The atmosphere here is also conducive for the practical application of new modes and methods of extraction and use for the benefit of all humanity.

"I am you and you are all I"

Bhaa- ratha means the land of those who have Rathi (attachment) toward Bha or Bhagavaan, that is to say, the Lord. The Lord too has to come in human form and move about among men, so that He could be listened to, contacted, loved, revered and obeyed. He has to speak the language of men and behave like human beings, as a member of the species. Otherwise, He would be either negated and neglected or feared and avoided.

The Avathaar (divine advent) has to lift humanity and put it into to the crucible in order to remove the slag and inferior metals that have destroyed its sterling worth. When little boys turn the tap without knowing its mechanism, water badly drenches them by scattering on them circular showers, so is man drenched in grief because he does not know how to turn and get an even flow.

If the Naayaka (hero) is good, the Naataka (drama) will be grand; if the hero is a flop, the drama will be a disaster. The leaders of the people must have faith in their own Aathma and confidence born of that; then they can lead others; then they will not lead them astray, for they will feel kinship with the basic Aathma in all. Appa Rao spoke of Me. My mystery can be known only by traversing My path that I have here laid down. Understand yourself and that will reveal Me to you, for I am you and you are all I.

There is no need to retire into a forest or a cave to know your inner truth and to conquer your lower nature. As a matter of fact, you have no chance to exercise your anger there and so the victory achieved there may not be lasting or genuine. Win the battle of life; be in the world but yet be away from its tentacles. That is the victory for which you deserve congratulations.