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Do not exploit Nature without seeking the Grace of God

Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba during the Summer Course in Spirituality and Indian Culture
held for College Students at Brindavan, Whitefield, Bangalore District in May 1973
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
Web posted at Apr 25, 2002

Lust and anger, greed and attachment, arrogance and jealousy follow from birth to death. Everything dissolves into complete silence at the time of death. To be born and to live, and to pass through the various stages of life is a matter of botheration. Even the Karma which you carry with you is a botheration. You should look to Sarveswara who alone can find you a solution for all these troubles. Our country has acquired great name and fame all over the world. Our motherland has given birth to many great people. We have also been able to achieve independence in a non-violent way. Art, music and literature, Sastras and knowledge have flourished in this land from time immemorial. Keeping in view these ancient and glorious traditions, now it is up to you to maintain the respect of your motherland.

Prakriti has no beginning. She is timeless. She cannot survive without the company of Purusha. She can be compared to a pious wife. Her beauty is beyond all description. Her strength is enormous. She can push anyone into the confusion of a family when one forgets God. She can cause trouble to able and great people. Prakriti has been communicating a lesson to us that there can be no pot without mud, there can be no ornament without gold, there can be no cloth without yarn and there can be no world without Brahman.

It is erroneous to separate Prakriti from Paramatma and regard them as distinct, and worship nature alone. We should not be subservient to nature, but make it subservient to us. Nature is not anybody's property. It is not even the property of all the people put together. Nature belongs to God. Therefore, if you want to keep nature under control, you will have to do so only after earning God's grace. If after acquiring God's grace, you undertake to conquer nature, it will herself yield to you. Today, by neglecting and forgetting the Lord and believing that nature is the only thing that is important, we are attempting to use the nature unsuccessfully for selfish purposes. For understanding this situation, the Ramayana provides the best illustration. Ravana had all the powers and he performed many Yagnas and Yagas. He knew all the branches of knowledge and was a very able person. In spite of all these abilities, he did not care for Rama the Lord, but wanted Sita. Pursuing this desire, he lost his kingdom, his people and himself in the end.

Sita is born of the earth and is the child of the earth. Rama is the Lord born on earth as an Avatar and he took Sita as his spouse. There is no point in anyone thinking that he can get Sita without the knowledge and permission of Rama. This is like wanting to exploit nature or Prakriti without the grace of the Lord or Purusha. When Rama was going to the forest, he told Sita to stay back and serve his parents. He said that he would come back in fourteen years. But Sita gave up all her comforts to accompany Rama to the forest. Because she sacrificed everything, she could have the company of Rama. What is the reason? Sita thought, believed and put into practice the ideal that to a wife her husband is of the utmost importance. This is the essence of the culture of our land. However, the enticement of Maya at times is irresistible. In the forest, it so happened that Sita was attracted by the golden deer although she gave up much more valuable things earlier in life. Rama went after the golden deer to secure it for her. The final result was that Sita had to leave Rama and go away. Sita had to lose the sacred company of her husband and she was taken away to Lanka. It implies that when she gave up Kama or lust, Rama was near her but the moment she was attracted by desires, Rama became distant from her. If you want Rama to be with you, Kama has to be given up. If you have worldly desires, then Rama will not be near you. You have to choose between Rama or Kama, that is, either you cling to God or to his Maya.

In order to cultivate detachment, Vedanta indicates four different paths. They are known as Salokya, Samipya, Saroopya and Sayujya. It has been taught in the ancient text that Salokya is something like the gross body, Samipya is like the subtle body and Saroopya is like the causal body. It is only through cultivating detachment from the world, and gaining wisdom that you can reach a correct understanding of the various aspects of the body, and finally attain the sacred state of Sayujya or the super causal state, wherein the Atma will shine as a Sakshi or a witness. The Brahma Tatwa will be shining with effulgence without any external container. In order to identify the Jiva Tatwa, the bodily aspect, with the Brahma Tatwa, which is free from the body, these four paths have to be followed. In order to realise the Brahma Tatwa or the formless reality, one has to choose a form as a stepping stone to reach the formless. As you look at a form with wisdom, the wisdom and the form will gradually merge into each other. Some support or direction is needed to cross over from darkness to light, mortality to immortality. Some definite form of the gross type as a temporary object is a help to pass through the subtle body, and the causal body. It is then possible for us to reach the object of Dhyana. Once you reach the destination it can be enjoyed all the time.

You may look at this in a different way. At this moment so many of you are sitting in this Pandal, and listening to Swami. Each one of you is passing through a direct experience which will last for a specific time. However after some time you will be able to remember this particular experience. This means that your previous experience of a limited duration has become a permanent picture in your mind and that can be recalled at any time. An experience always leaves its imprints permanently on your mind. This has also been expressed in three different aspects namely, 'you are in the light', 'the light is in you' and 'you are the light'. This also means that you have to first become part of the world, then you have to take the world into you as the second step and finally you become identical with the world.

Therefore, we should understand that if we are not here, there is no Prakrithi or nature. Some people say that man wants food. This is not correct. Man has not come for food. After man is born, food becomes a necessity. Therefore food has come for man. We should eat to live and not live to eat. We have come to proclaim the truth and stand by Dharma. This is what we have to bear in mind and this is our purpose in the world. Just as you need petrol if you have a car, similarly you need food for your body. The car is used for transportation and as such it has to be kept clean and in order. Likewise a body has to be kept healthy because through it one acquires the four Purusharthas namely Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. It enables us to know the true basis of the phenomenal world, the fact behind the fancy.

Realising the oneness of divinity, one should serve the fellow beings in a selfless manner. The nature of the world can be correctly understood by serving others, and herein the concept of duality is tentatively implied, which eventually will lead one to understand the aspect of non-duality. It is difficult, at the very outset, to enter the orbit of Advaita. When you want to learn to swim, you learn by depending on a contrivance like a float or a tyre around you. Once you have learnt to swim, you will give up such a contrivance. If you do not have this helpful contrivance in the beginning, you cannot learn to swim.

Similarly, in the beginning you must have some object before your mind. It may be a photo or a light, and gradually you must move on to the formless one - the supreme Atma. Finally, you can give up the object. You can see your reflection only if there is a mirror. If there is no mirror, how can you see the reflection? So long as there is a feeling that there are two things, you and your image, it is a feeling of duality. Between the object and the image, there is the mirror. If you remove the mirror, there is neither the image nor the mirror. You are the only surviving one and that is the object. This is the essence of Advaita. In the same manner, you have some object and with the help of this object you see yourself and your image. Therefore, you, the individual, Prakrithi, the world around you, and Iswara, the creator, are one and the same.

No one can be isolated from the stream of life. Each one is a part and parcel of society. One should make an attempt to merge with the omnipresent. By being in this world one gets a chance to progress spiritually. Therefore, man feels some obligation arising from his social conscience towards society. It is well known however that when one leaves this world, one has to leave everything. Even a blade of grass cannot be carried when one dies. Even Sri Rama and Sri Krishna were not able to take anything with them when they gave up their mortal bodies. Such great beings, however, leave behind some sacred ideals for the posterity. The good actions and spiritual maturity of such beings is remembered for all time.