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Experience Ekathwam

Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, 20 October 1961
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
Web posted at Sep 1, 2001

Yesterday and the day before, I spoke about the disciplinary life that you should lead. I was a harsh taskmaster then. But, today, I shall be soft and My words will be like the Himaalayan breeze, cool and invigorating. That harshness had a reason, for there can be no effect without a cause. This coolness and that warmth are both parts of the same person and you cannot accept the one and reject the other. Good and bad, right and wrong, are two sides of the same coin.

As for Me, My nature is distinct; I do not identify with anything. Those who have neither authority nor adeptness have to hear, study, analyse and judge. Authority is the right of the Aathma alone. It is the Aathma that can command. For Me, the purity of your feeling is important, not the depth of your scholarship. That is why I was harsh yesterday and the day before to compel you to examine your feelings and remove the blemishes. Today, I assure you, I shall not be so harsh. In fact, you may have noticed, I used the word, Premaswaruupulaara (embodiments of divine love), in the beginning when I began to speak!

Usually, in human calculations, value is attached only to sharpness of intellect; but that is incomplete. Emotional clarity is also important. You purchase an article from a shop, not merely because it serves a useful purpose but also because it is beautiful and attractive; that is to say, it appeals to the intellect and the emotions. Bhaava (innate disposition) gives beauty or as they say in Thelugu, Andham. That is why I often say, Andham is Aanandham (beauty is bliss); you cannot have one without the other.

Earn the Experience of Unity the hard Way

Andham and Aanandham, beauty and truth, harmony and ecstasy are found in Ekathwam (oneness), the discovery and experience of unity. Unity must be as symbolised by the experience of the unity of mud and gold; the sight, the seen and the seer, that is, the search and the success. Raamakrishna prompted this yearning, promoted this agony in Vivekaananda and the others who came to him. Try with all your strength; test with all your doubt, earn it the hard way and enjoy the fruit of your exertions: that was the teaching he gave.

The music of all the transmitters of the world is everywhere; if you care to listen, strive to procure a radio receiver, learn the wavelength of the station you need to hear and switch on and tune in. The key to liberation has to be cast and forged and filed and fitted by each aspirant. It cannot be gifted in one moment by one word. Raamakrishna himself sought for it through years of inexplicable anguish; how then can we short-circuit the process for another? No one can just pass it on, saying, "Take!" The flower has to yield the fruit and the fruit has to grow, ripen and fall.

Jealousy and anger are the twins born of the mother Ahamkaara (self-conceit). Destroy the twins, and take the Kaaram (meaning in Thelugu, "the hot taste") of the Ahamkaaram and keep it simply as Aham (I), so that you can get the thrill of 'Aham Brahmaasmi' (I am Brahman) with that instrument. That is the stage to be reached, the height to be scaled. The Kaaram in the Aham is like the single seed which if allowed to sprout, multiplies a thousand-fold and produces many bags of seed. It has to be crushed in the very first instance. Then the analysis of the Aham starts and ends in the conclusion: "Ayam Aathma-Brahma," - this Aham is the Aathma, which is Brahma. The two: That and This, Thath and Thwam, are identified and This is found to be only That, when Thath thwam asi (Thou art That) is realised. Well. What is the thing called Thath, the That? What is Brahmam in other words? The fourth Mahaavaakya declares: Prajnaanam - the highest wisdom - unity, one.

Truths revealed by the four Mahaavaakyas

All these Mahaavaakyas (sacred statements of supreme truth) relate to the glory of the one, which is a veritable ocean of grace. The vapour rising from it is "Prajnaanam Brahma"; the cloud is "Ayam Aathma Brahma;" the shower of rain, "Thath thwam asi," the river is "Aham Brahmaasmi."

Prajnaanam Brahma is symbolised by Andapinda Lingam - the vision of the one entity in all the manifold entities, the expansion of the individual into the universal, the enlargement of the I into the vastness of the "He and We." When you knock at another's door and a voice from inside accosts you with the question, "Who is it?" you automatically answer, "It is I." That does not satisfy the questioner. So, another question eliciting further information follows. Then only will the door open. The door of liberation can also open only to those who can explain who the "I" truly is.

This reveals to the Jeevi (individual soul), "I am in the light." The second Mahaavaakya, Ayam Aathma Brahma, tells him, "The light is in Me." Slowly the truth dawns on the mind! The light which I imagined as enveloping Me, the Prajnaanam which I identified as the basis of all this appearance, that illumination is in me, too. My innermost truth is also that Prajnaanam, that light. This is represented by Sadhaashiva Lingam (the vision of the eternal Shiva).

Personal Experience is the best Teacher

The Saadhaka sees in his Saadhana that light which dispels the darkness of ages. He is told that He is that light and nothing else, "Thath thwam asi", "Thou art that." He then becomes immune to spasms of ignorance which make him forget his nature. Just as a beginner learning the violin lapses easily into grinding out distressing sounds from the strings, the Saadhaka also grinds out discordant notes of discontent and grief. When pain becomes unbearable, a person faints and loses consciousness; that is a consolation. Beyond a certain limit, you are not to suffer pain. Similarly, when this identity feeling is established, no more activity is possible. One becomes "unconscious" of the world, or rather, one passes beyond the realms of consciousness - un-, sub- and even super-; the river has reached the sea. Thath-thwam-asi is symbolised by the Jnaana Lingam (the vision of enlightenment).

Aham Brahmaasmi, the last of the Mahaavaakyas, is associated with the Aathma-Lingam. The fourteen higher worlds and the fourteen lower worlds cannot be shown and demonstrated in models; they are symbolic of the levels of consciousness in the geography of the sprit and in the journey of the mind towards the goal. There are no books that can teach you the topography; the journey is the best teacher, each step making the next one easier. Raadha, Meera, Sakku, Suurdas, Raamakrishna - all followed the guidance of their own inner call.

The Angam (body) is the Sangam (meeting point) where spirit and matter meet; the Jangam, the moving phantasmagoria where sprit and matter meet, is in Sangam. From this Sangam, one has to evoke the Lingam (divinity) in its aforesaid four forms, one after the other. The Lingam is just a sign: a sign of endeavour, a sign of success. For example, the Andapinda Lingam signifies the egg-shaped universe, which is how it is, even according to experts in science. The outer cover is the Anda and the inner Rasa or matter is the Pinda. They are both dependent, one on the other. You are all basically the Andapinda, with the outer shell of materialism and the inner core of divinity. The body is a vessel to contain the Chaithanya or effulgence of divinity.

Aathmalingam is the ultimate Phase

The sentiment, "Aham Brahmaasmi," explicit in the Mahaavaakya, gives a kinship; as when this Linga, confronted by that Linga proceeds to Aalingana (embracing). That sense of belonging has great psychological value: when you hear a child cry and find on enquiry that it is your child, you get far more anxious than when you are told it is another's child. The attachment will lead to merging (for the Andapinda Lingam is this body, this nature which we see) and imbibing and building into our consciousness. Even God, when He comes with human body or as materialised from, is Andapindam, whether it is Mahaa Vishnu, Shiva, Raama, Krishna or Sathya Sai Baaba.

Jnaanalingam symbolises the Jnaana that you are Sarvabhuutha (the totality of all beings) and the Sarvabhuutha is in you. The Jnaanam (divine wisdom) itself is Brahmam; Jnaana, is not a quality of Brahmam - it is Brahmam itself, for Brahmam has no quality. The Jnaani (the liberated person), though in the world, has the inner vision which makes him fall away from the twig as the dried leaf which has no more need of attachment.

Aathmalingam (the vision of form of the self), the ultimate phase, is the stage of gold, when the names and forms of gold jewels have been subsumed. Water freezes into ice; Aathma freezes into the individual. The Aathmalingam is just the pot that contains sea-water, immersed in the selfsame sea.

"I shall cure you slowly and patiently"

Both are identical, only the name and the form are different. You can realise your truth by following the path which will lead to that knowledge. Only, you must be prepared for the discipline and the travail. When I give you a drug, you must take it in the prescribed dosage and adhere strictly to the regimen of food, sleep and exercise I recommend. Of course, the anxiety to get cured quickly is commendable; but there is a timetable for all this. Moderation is productive of better results than excess.

Women know that when they add water in order to reduce the taste of excess salt, they have to add to the cooked dish necessary quantities of other ingredients too in order to make it tasty. In the same way, I have to reduce the excessive attachment you have for the things of the world and when I do that, I have to correct by various other methods also. I shall cure you, slowly and patiently; the more slowly I do it, the more lasting it will be. I shall reveal to you the Aathmalingam without fail. Yes, great days are coming; let not your sloth stand across and deprive you of the chance. When you listen to My story, you forget the story or the world and live only in My story, until there is no separate story for you to relate or live. Well, to make you story-less is the scheme of My story.

Sadhaashivalingam indicates the person who is ever of the Swaruupa (form) of Shiva. Here and everywhere, night and day, in joy and grief, he is Shivam: happy, auspicious, graceful; Aanandham is his breath, his motive force, his demeanour, his inner and outer expression; Saadhaa always and for ever, Shivam - auspicious. There is no room here for controversy or intellectual rivalry and competition, like the ones indulged in by Pandiths and scholars, misusing the valuable paper manufactured by the mills of this country. Instal Sadhaashivalingam in the consciousness and all things will be revealed to you, step by step, by the grace of the divine indweller.