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Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Dharmakshethra, 5 Jan 1971
I am glad that the office-bearers of the various units of the Organisation in Bombay have gathered here and are asking Me to tell them some words about Saadhana (spiritual discipline). A life of Saadhana involves the dedication of all acts to God, the offering of whatever one does or thinks or speaks at the feet of God. You can do this only when you are aware always of the presence of God, in and around you. Your awareness must not deviate for a moment from God. The mind must revolve round one centre, God. Your concentration must be strong and steady.
You are now able to attain concentration when you walk, talk, write or cycle along. But, you say you are helpless when it is a question of concentration on God. Why have you to struggle to acquire it? The reason is: you have no yearning, no fond attachment, no love towards God. But, carry on with the endeavour. By means of continuous culture, it is possible to acquire it. The Geetha says, "Shreyohi jnaanam abhyaasaath". Abhyaasa (practice) is the crux of the problem. Through that, victory can be won. Concentration can be mastered in Dhyaana (meditation) and this will lead to disinterestedness in the results of one's actions, for the actions are not one's own, but God's. The results too are not one's; they are God's. When you become detached from the fruits of your actions, though intent on action (offering to the Lord your skill and energy), then, you attain peace of mind, Prashaanthi. If, however, you cultivate attachment to things of the world, and houses, bank balance and insignia of power, then, Dhyaana fails.
Follow the Dictates of the divine Father in Action
Sincere effort and actual activity entitle you to the grace of God. When Jesus Christ entered the precincts of the temple of Jerusalem, and found people sacrificing doves and other living beings to God, he released the birds and condemned the acts of blood. The priests and scholars resented his act and argued that the God in whom they had faith accepted the sacrifice and was propitiated thereby. They asked him for evidence of authority to interfere with the dictates of religion. Christ went on to tell them a parable. Once there was a farmer who had two sons. He asked his first son to go out to the field so that he may watch the crops ready for harvest. The son refused to obey him. There upon he asked the second son, and he readily agreed. But, what really happened was, the second son later calculated the bother and the sleeplessness which the watching will bring to him; he did not go. The first son later repented for this refusal to do as bidden; he went and watched the crop.
Now, Christ asked, who among these two pleases the father more - the son who declared his assent by word of mouth and disobeyed in action or he who disobeyed by word of mouth but obeyed in action? You obey in words but disobey in action. My action reveals that I do acts which God has commanded. You are your own witness, whether you follow the dictates of the divine father. I have greater authority than you, for your action shows that you disobey whereas my action proves that I follow His commands.
Saadhana is a uniquely precious Activity
You are office-bearers and so, you have the responsibility to carry out in actual practice, in your own lives, the rules and restrictions and recommendations laid down by Me. I warn you against falling prey to exhibitionism and display; there are many who desire that others must admire and applaud, and so, they do Japam or sit in Dhyaana, where many will be seeing them. Theirs is not the attitude of indifference, which says, "I don't care what they say, or who sees me or who does not". Their innermost craving is for people to notice them and publicise their spiritual attainments. They are eager for audiences and spectators! But, Saadhana is a uniquely precious activity, which will be vulgarised by public gaze. Fish is sold in open shops, or in open daylight, by the side of public thoroughfares. Diamonds are however sold in shops that admit only genuine purchasers and they are kept in strong underground vaults. Saadhana is more valuable than diamonds. It will wither in the open.
This is the reason for Saadhakas (spiritual aspirants) retiring into lonely mountain caves, or into solitary temples in inaccessible regions of the Himalayas, or in the depths of jungles. But, you need not imitate them; you can create enough privacy in your own home, screening of a portion of some room. There you can sink into yourself and discover the inner reality as the reality of the universe itself. You need not be told that perfect amity between husband and wife is essential for domestic peace. When they are at loggerheads, it is not a home, but hell.
In the body of man, the Aathma (inner real self) is the husband and the inclinations are the wives. Every act and word and thought must subserve the needs of the emancipation of the individual, by the recognition of the sovereignty of Aathma. The primal, formless, absolute wedded desire and mind was born. The mind wedded two wives, inner contemplation and outer activity. The first gave birth to five sons, Sathya, Dharma, Shaanthi, Prema and Ahimsa (truth, virtue, peace, love and non-violence), the five Paandava brothers. Mind was infatuated more with the second wife, and so, she gave birth to a 100, each one with a name indicative of badness and wickedness, the Kauravas. God was on the side of the Paandavas, and they won.
Cleanse your Heart of the Canker of Ego
In the Geetha, you don't find the slightest fear in the make-up of the character of Arjuna; Krishna appreciated him and served him as a charioteer, because he was so solicitous of Dharma. Arjuna's most serious argument against the battle of Kurukshethra was that the slaughter of millions of warriors will lead to the widowing of women and depreciation of public morals as a result of their enforced celibacy. God has established, as the Vedhas say, Brahmanas (representing the divine face) to learn and teach the path to emancipation. Kshathriyas (warriors) are His shoulders for they establish and maintain peace so necessary for the good life. The Vaishyas (traders) are, it is said, the stomach of God; for, they provide the sustenance and the strength. The Suudhras (service people) are the feet, for they move about and carry the divine message from door to door, through precept and example. All the four castes are dedicated for the upkeep of Dharma. So, when Arjuna pleaded the cause of Dharma, the Lord was pleased, and He decided to remove the delusion of the dispirited hero.
Share wholeheartedly in all Festivals
By Dhyaana you develop Jnaana (spiritual wisdom) and by Japam (recitation of God's name) you develop Bhakthi (devotion) and by both, you cleanse your heart of the canker of ego. You can link yourselves with God, by a chain of love, through the recitation of the name, in silence and with full awareness of the meaning and its nuances. Each Sai Raam, Hare Krishna, Hare Raam, or Vitthal is a link; the more the links the longer the chain, the firmer the bond. But, each link has to be well forged out of well tempered steel. One false link, that is to say, the name once uttered in sloth or slight, indifference or anger, resentment or rancour, will constitute a weak link and the bond will not bind!
Be careful that you do not cavil at another's faith. There is a road from each heart to the source of all joy, namely, God. Each one will come in his own good time, at his own pace, through his own inner urge, along the path God will reveal to him as his own. You can have in your home, a shrine where you can worship the name and form you desire to invest yourselves in! But, so far as your activities as a member of this Organisation are concerned, you must wholeheartedly share in all festivals and functions that promote faith, devotion and dedication.
Have love towards all. Do not allow the weeds of pride and envy to hamper the harvest of peace. Do not monopolise the time in Bhajan, by singing one song for six or ten minutes, repeating the same line often. Repeat each line twice and no more. Have only two speeds: one slow and the other, fast. In this way, you can have in the hour of Bhajan, more songs on more forms, more tunes and more variety, giving more people the chance. Let Me tell you that, even if Naaradha or Thumburu, the divine musical pair, sing, if they croon the same monotonous tune, listeners will have to take refuge in Saridon tablets! Or, it may be Subbulakshmi or any other artist of this region, but headache is bound to result.
When a Naamaavali extols Shiva, the next one will have to be on Krishna, the next on Raama and so on. A person whose favourite form is Raama or Shiva will feel neglected if out of inadvertence, you stick to only one form. Let the atmosphere of Bhajan be free from competitive conceit and fanaticism. That is My advice.