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The Simplest Remedy

Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Janmaashtami Day, Prashanthi Nilayam, 31 Aug 1972
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
Web posted at Feb 17, 2002

Man has become the bond-slave of lower instincts and desires. He is unable to distinguish between the low urges of lust and the elevating urge of love. Prema (love) is the first step on the road that leads to divine grace. But man wallows in lust for physical comfort and pleasure; he is haunted by that nefarious companion of lust, called anger. When lust is frustrated, anger overtakes him and he becomes bestial and even demonic, when lust envelops the heart of man, truth, justice, compassion and peace flee from it. The world degenerates into a snake pit, and God comes to rescue mankind from its doom.

The Avathaar (divine incarnation) comes to reveal man to himself, to restore to him his birthright of Aathmic bliss. He does not come to found a new creed, to breed a new faction, to instil a new God. If such a thing happens, it is the consequence of the evil in man. The Avathaar comes as man in order to demonstrate that man is divine, in order to be within reach of man. The human mind cannot grasp the absolute, attributeless principle; it is abstract and beyond the reach of speech, mind and intellect.

Fire is inherent in the matchstick but it is only when it is struck as a flame that we can benefit by it. The Nirguna (attributeless) has to manifest as Saguna (with qualities); the Niraakaara (formless) has to appear with form. Then only can man listen, learn, understand, follow and be saved, through the bliss of that experience. The Avathaar lights the flame of realisation in each; and the age-old ignorance is destroyed in an instant.

Significance of the Name Krishna, the Avathaar bore

When the righteous Paandavas were harassed by wicked Kauravas, the beauteous Krishna appeared and saved them. The Lord can never design violence and bloodshed. Love is His instrument; non-violence is His message. He achieves the correction of the evil-minded through education and example. But, it may be asked, "Why did Kurukshethra happen?" It was a surgical operation and therefore, cannot be described as an act of violence. The surgeon saves life through the beneficial use of his knife.

Consider the name Krishna which the Avathaar bore; what a significant name! 'Krishna' is derived from the root 'Krish' which means (1) to attract, (2) to plough and cultivate, and (3) the divine principle beyond time, space and causation. Krishna, like all Avathaars, attracts not only seekers, saints and sages but the simple, the innocent and the good. He draws also the curious, the critics, the sceptics and those who suffer from atheism. He draws them towards Himself by the irresistible charm of His person, by His invincible look, His voice, His flute, His counsel and his undaunted heroism. He is ever in a state of bliss, spreading harmony, melody and beauty around Him. He sings everywhere - in the peaceful pasture and lands of Brindhaavan and in the blood-soaked battlefield of Kurukshethra. He holds the flute in His hand in one place and He wields the whip in the other. But what emerges is meaningful moving music, either Venugaana, or Bhagavadhgeetha! Gaanam and Geetha both mean song!

Why does He attract all to His presence? To plough the heart, prepare it for receiving the shower of grace, to grow the seeds of love, weed it of all evil thoughts which smother the crops of joy and to enable it to gather the harvest of wisdom. That wisdom finds its fulfilment in Krishna Himself, for Krishna also means the pure essence, the supreme principle, the Sath-Chith-Aanandha.

Make the Gopees of Brindhaavan your Guides

The Gopees (milkmaids) of Brindhaavan were inextricably involved in the Avathaar. They had Him indelibly imprinted on their hearts. He alone was real; the rest were also He. When Raadha, the most ardent aspirant among them was in agony at what she wailed about as separation from Krishna (!), the Gopees, who gathered around her to turn her mind away from the infatuation, could not use any other words of consolation and comfort than Govindha! Dhaamodhara! Maadhava! - words that sent pangs of loss through Raadha's heart! When the Gopees brought milk, curds and butter for sale, and peddled them along the streets, they used to shout the names of the ware they had for sale. But the words that emerged were the words that had displaced all else - Govindha! Damodhara! Maadhava! - the loving names of the Krishna they adored! When Akrura, the messenger from the wicked uncle of Krishna, took the Lord away from Brindhaavan with him, the Gopees, hurried across the road to stop him but even in their desperate protest, they could not utter any words except, Govindha, Dhaamodhara, Maadhava!

God is the sugar that can make the tasteless drink of life into a sweet potion. Stir the sugar well so that each molecule of the water is saturated with its taste. The Gopees are your guides in this Saadhana. They had, as you also have, the Avathaar in their midst and so, their salvation was assured when they achieved purity and acquired faith.

Avathaars manifested in the Kritha Yuga for preservation of Vedhic tradition, in the Thretha Yuga for the protection of Dharma and in the Dwaapara Yuga for the promulgation of the right of property. In the Kritha Yuga, the Avathaar saved the Vedhas from neglect, in the Thretha Yuga, He saved women from dishonour, and in the Dwaapara Yuga, He saved property from injustice.

This Avathaar in Kali Age has a threefold Task

Now, in this fourth age, the Kali Yuga, all these three are in dire peril. The Vedhas are ridiculed, woman is tempted into unwomanly lives, and property itself is condemned as theft! So, the Avathaar has a threefold task. Man has no purity in the heart, no sanctity in his emotions, no love in his deeds, no God in his prayers.

Though the evil is thickest in this Kali age, the remedy is the simplest. In the Kritha Yuga, the Saadhana (spiritual discipline) of escaping from ruin was hard. Years of austerity and abstinence were often profitless. The six-year old Dhruva had to perform penance for years in the recesses of wild forests before God conferred grace. And the young boy Prahlaadha underwent unmentionable tortures unaware of the pain but aware only of the God in Him. What is needed today to save oneself from anxiety and fear, here and hereafter, is dedication, diverting the mind towards God. If that is done, the pains of the physical body and pangs of the senses will not affect the mind.

Dhyaana (meditation) is that inward journey, away form the objective world and the senses that run after it. The Upanishaths declare, Naayam Aathma bala heenena labhyah - "the Aathma cannot be attained by one devoid of strength." Bala (strength) means physical, vital, moral, intellectual and spiritual toughness. For all these are essential to establish mastery over the senses. You may do Dhyaana but your senses are so awake and active that a tiny mosquito arouses your passion and you swing your arm to slaughter it!

Repentance purifies, Contrition cleanses

Long ago there was a very pious family on the banks of the Krishna river. It had vast landed estates. The parents had an only son who was well-versed in scriptures and who was obedient and well behaved. But when the father died and the properties fell into his hand the son became a profligate and a libertine, with a gang of evil men always around him. He developed intimacy with a public woman and was so infatuated with her wiles that he swam across a flooded river, holding on to the corpse of his own wife who had earlier committed suicide in despair. He mistook the corpse for a log of wood floating down the stream. Suddenly he became aware of his plight; he blamed his eyes for leading him astray into sin; he blinded himself as a punishment and roamed about the holy land associated with the advent of the Lord as Krishna, singing His name. That blind singer was Suurdas. With the name on the lip and the picture of the glory on the mind, on evil can attract you. Repentance purifies, contrition cleanses. Krishna appeared before blind Suurdas and offered to restore his sight. But, Suurdas pleaded for inner vision and discarded the outward-bound eyesight.

God is no stony-hearted despot. He is compassion. He is grace, personified. Once you have cleansed yourself by tears, he draws you near and grants you consolation and courage. Without a cleansed heart, realisation is impossible. Wisdom can enter only a purified mind. Saadhana - slow and steady - can succeed in purifying it. Victory is yours if you model yourselves on Arjuna, and his yearning.

Every one of you can be Arjuna and achieve Victory

The last Shloka of the Geetha was quoted now by Sri Bhagavantham. It says,

"Yathra Yogeswarah Krishno Yathra Paartho Dhanurdharah, Thathra Sreer Vijayo Bhuuthir Dhruvaa Neethir Mathir Mama" -
"Where there is Krishna, the supreme Yogi, and where also there is Arjuna bearing his bow, there victory for truth and justice is assured."

This verse assures victory not only when the Mahaabhaaratha Arjuna wields the bow in the presence of Krishna. Everyone of you can be Arjuna and wield the bow and achieve victory. For the bow is but the symbol of courage and faith, of high resolve and undaunted calibre. And how can you become Arjunas? Arjuna means white, pure, unsullied, without blemish. As soon as you become that and hold the bow (the Upanishaths declare that the Pranava or Om is the arrow and God is the target), Krishna is ready with His presence, for He is everywhere at every moment. There is no deed to invite Him or install Him. He will answer from your very heart.