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All Differences in this World relate to Name and Form only
Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba during the Summer Course
in Spirituality and Indian Culture
To think that some are your enemies, some are your friends, some are your children, and some are your relations and to develop attachment or dislike towards them is not correct. See the one Atma in them all. Give up illusion and ignorance.
We have friends and foes, likes and dislikes; whereas Vedanta teaches us to develop equal mindedness. Just as we do not punish our teeth for accidentally biting our tongue, because we consider both the organs as parts of our body, so also, we have to bear in mind that the eternal and universal Atma resides in everyone and everywhere. We should not accentuate differences, but concentrate upon unity. If we attach importance to the bodily relationship then the individual variation will come to the fore. On the other hand we should remember that a teacher, a friend, an actor, a Guru and a disciple are different from each other only in name and form. The Atma which is the witnessing consciousness in all of them is the same. The presence of the Atma in all these names and forms establishes the oneness of all of them.
From the stand point of the great Atma, all that you see, including your own body, in the ultimate analysis, belongs to this universe which is composed of the five basic elements. The entire temporal world is spun out of your ego. Appearances are the concoctions of the mind. Our final goal is to ascend from humanity to divinity. So we must utilise this transitory period of our lives to achieve our cherished objectives.
Man is a mixture of the body and the Atma Kshetra and Kshetragna, the house and the one who lives in the house. It could be regarded also as Prakriti and Paramatma that is nature and God. It is like a seed consisting of two halves, the illusion and reality or the Sthira (fixed) and the Chara (moving). If Kshetragna, the one living in the Kshetra is not there, the question of a body existing does not arise at all. A word signifies the existence of what it denotes and the existence of a thing precedes the usage of a word. The word Kshetragna has got the additional letters 'gna' when compared with the letters contained in the word Kshetra. Kshetra is therefore contained in Kshetragna and the additional 'gna' stands for 'Jnana' or the embodiment of wisdom. Without Kshetragna or 'Jnana Swarupa', the embodiment of wisdom, there can be no Kshetra.
The body has life only so long as the 'Jnana Swarupa' resides in it. Our Vedanta says that the body is the temple in which God in the form of Jiva is residing. In the other pair of words, we have Sthira, something which is fixed and Chara, something which is moving. Nature is always moving about while Paramatma is stationary or Sthira. What keeps changing all the time is the world and what does not change is the Paramatma. In Indian experience, there is an analogy which comes from the domestic grinding device. This consists of two circular pieces of stone. The stone that is below is stationary while that which is above keeps on revolving. The knowledge that relates to man's life in this world is called the 'Hemataraka Vidya'. This keeps on revolving round the world. In the centre of the fixed stone, there is a small wooden peg, which we may compare to our objective. If we put grain in the hole, around this peg, whatever goes away from the centre or the objective, gets powdered but such grain which keeps close to the centre does not get powdered. It retains its original form.
This means that one who has God in his mind and makes an attempt to keep close to God, remains unchanged. One who goes away from God becomes powdered and changes his form. Our overindulgence with the body hampers our recognition of our true destination. Even the skin of a dead animal has some value but the body of a dead person has no value at all. I do not mean to tell you that you should be careless about your body and that you should give no attention to its upkeep. We have so many different kinds of carriages for transporting us. We have a cycle, a car, a scooter, a bus and so on and it is necessary for us to look after these things and put some oil and petrol when needed and keep them in working condition. In the same manner, our body is like a chariot for us. As we look after our cycle or car and give it the necessary petrol and oil, we have to take care of the body so that it may take us through the journey of life. We have to give the necessary food and keep it in a good condition. Just as when you get your car stuck in mud, you will need the help of so many people to get it out, so also if you get the chariot of your life stuck in the mud of a family, then you will need the help of so many people, of Satsang etc., to get it out of the muddle.
Today we are not taking the chariot of our body along the correct path. On the other hand, we are taking it along a crooked path and that is why we are getting into difficulties, and even losing some of the parts which make up this car of the body. About 80 percent of the people are losing the vital parts of their bodies in this manner by taking to crooked paths. Out of the rest of the 20 percent, 15 percent are keeping them like cars that are kept in a show room. They decorate themselves, dress well and eat well. If we have a car, which is intended to transport those who want to travel, and if it does not achieve this purpose, we should regard it as a piece of metal and not as a car.
The body is like a boat to cross the ocean of life. It should be used to understand our source which is also our goal, that is, Brahman. The disciples of Sankara had taught the need for understanding the nature of likes and dislikes, the need for persuing the sacred ideals in this verse. The body is made up of five elements and is therefore sure to die. The one Atma which resides in the body is permanent and will not die and that is referred to as God Himself. That is the reason why Sankara's disciples asked questions like "who are your enemies, who are your friends, who are your brothers and who are your relatives", and they performed the sacred task of explaining about the Atma. Divine bliss is the coveted destination for man. We ask ourselves where this bliss is, how does one reach this place of bliss and what should we do to reach this bliss. The answer has been given by the disciples of Sankara. They said that this bliss is to be found in children who are in ecstasy and who do not have the knowledge of their surroundings. As we grow older, we get more and more involved in sensuous desires. We are not thinking even for a little while about the bliss that we experienced in our childhood.
Christ said once that bliss is playing around the tender cheeks of children, in whom there are no desires. Children often exhibit this bliss in a remarkable manner. The bliss and happiness which children show have no parallel in anything else in the world. For example, if a mother is carrying a child and walking on the road, the child sometimes looks back and laughs. Children have got this extraordinary quality in them that they can make elders also laugh. The reason for this is that they are under no illusion about the importance of their bodies. Elders are immersed so much in thinking of their body and things that involve the body that even if they want to laugh, they cannot do so. They only put up a pretence of laughter.
It is in this context that the Bhagavad Gita says that one who laughs is Narayana and one who cries is Nara. When Nara, represented by Arjuna was crying in a despondent mood, Narayana, represented by Krishna was at ease, even on the battlefield. We laugh only when we are happy. When we are happy, we not only laugh but also try to sing some songs. Those who have a sweet voice will sing in public. Those who do not have a sweet voice, will at least sing in the bathroom. Krishna had a sweet voice and perfect knowledge of Raga and Tala and so he was singing the Gita even on the battlefield. The word Gita means song and amidst many difficulties on the battlefield, it is only a Krishna who can sing. This shows that God is the embodiment of happiness. Young students! You must keep your mind and body in good condition. You should use your body for the sake of establishing truth and righteousness in the country. You must remember that Indian culture of which you are the custodians, should be re-established by you.