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Cells of the Body of God
Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Brindavan, 1 Mar 1974
What has sociology or the social sciences to do with the sciences of the spirit or the inquiry into the human spirit? This is a question that is commonly raised. So too, many do ask: What has the spiritual student and Saadhaka (spiritual aspirant) to do with society and its problems? It must be said, that both these attitudes are wrong.
No society can find its fulfilment, no social ideal can fructify, without the blossoming of the spirit of man. Mankind cannot realise the divinity whose expression it is, without careful and constant attention being paid to the cultivation of the spirit. How else can this divinity express itself than in and through individuals? We can apprehend only the Jagath (world of change), this moving, inconstant, fantasia; we cannot see or hear, smell or taste or touch the director of the fantasia, God. In the same manner, we can apprehend the individual, but not the entity named society. For, society is no separate, distinct, complex formed out of elemental components. Society is the divine proliferation produced by the will supreme.
Think, speak and act in the Attitude of Love
Man is mortal; "dust he is and to dust returneth". But, in him, there shines Aathma, as a spark of the immortal flame. This is not a term of flattery invented by the Vedhaanthins. The Aathma is the source, the sustenance of every being and every organisation of beings. It is the one and only source, substance and sustenance. The Aathma is God; the particular is the universal, no less. Therefore, recognise in each being, in each man, a brother, the child of God, and ignore all limiting thoughts and prejudices based on status, colour, class, nativity and caste. Sai is ever engaged in warning you and guiding you so that you may think, speak and act in this attitude of love.
Society cannot justify itself by planning to divide the spoils gained out of nature either in equal shares or unequal share. The consummation that must inspire society has to be - the establishment and elaboration in every social act and resolution, of the knowledge of the one universal Aathma and the bliss that knowledge confers. Sai does not direct, "the Aathma has no death, therefore, kill the physical sheaths, the bodies." No. Sai does not encourage wars. Sai directs you to recognise the Aathma as your closest kin, closer than the members of your family, your blood-relations and your dearest descendents. When this is done, you will never more stray from the path of right, which alone can maintain that kinship.
Familial attachment operates even against the performance of one's legitimate duties. But, attachment to the divine fills that duty with a new dedication which ensures both joy and success. It activates man as nothing else can; it confers on him during the process of doing his duty the highest wisdom. Hence the advice: Do not enter the Prakrithi (objective world) in the hope of realising the Aathma; enter the objective world, after becoming aware of the Aathma; for, then you see nature in a new light and your very life becomes a long festival of love.
There are many who use their scholarship and intelligence, even Vedhic scholarship, for dreary debate and competitive contests. They are enamoured of their petty triumphs. They declare that society is an arena for winning such triumphs. But, Sai calls on you to seek and strengthen another type of society, where there is no room for such trivial desires.
Man is too weak to keep his Nature under Control
Disputative Vedhic scholars crave for the fruits of their endeavour and efforts, through ritual. Nature does not crave so; the clouds bring rain, as a homage to God who is their Lord. But, they attribute it to the efficacy of their rites and use it to inflate their ego. They play about, among the far-spreading branches of the tree of desire. They are entangled in the coils of the three 'ropes' - the Thaamasik, the Raajasik and the Saathwik (the ignorant, the egoistical and the good).
You have to go beyond the three ropes, the three bonds. You have to be, ever, in the unchanging eternal truth. You must be established in the one, as the one, with no trace or taste of two. Earning and garnering should not interest you; you must not be caught in the pursuit of Yoga (divine communion) and Kshema (well being); for, you are full already and have no wants.
The ideal of a high standard of life, instead of a high level of living, has played havoc with human society. A high level of living insists on morality, humility, detachment, compassion; so the competitive greed for luxury and conspicuous consumption receives no encouragement and will be destroyed. Now, man is the slave of his desires; he finds himself helpless to conquer the thirst for pleasure and luxury; he is too weak to keep his nature under control; he does not know how to arouse the divine consciousness that is latent in him.
Give up Reliance on the Vagaries of the Mind
Mere moral practices or instruction cannot help you to achieve this. It can be done, only, by spiritual Saadhana. For, it is a basic transformation. It involves the elimination of the mind, which is the arch-obstacle in the path. Grace of God, if invoked and won, can endow you with power. And, the grace is available within you, awaiting the call.
Man must give up reliance on the vagaries of the mind. He must act ever in the consciousness of his innate divinity. When that is done, his threefold nature (composed of the Gunas - Thaamasik, Raajasik and Saathwik) will automatically express itself through only holy channels. That is the genuine manifestation.
Another point. The argument may be raised: "If one has to give up the desire for comfort, luxury and pleasure, why should one be embroiled in society? This presupposes the belief that society is justified only by the provision of such worldly joys. But, what kind of society can one build on such slender foundation? If built, it can be a society only in name, it will not be bound by mutual love and co-operation. The strong will suppress the weak. Social relations will be marred by discontent. Even when attempts are made to divide the resources of nature equally among all, the cordiality will be only on the surface. It will not be spontaneous. We can limit the resources available, but, we cannot limit greed, desire and craving. Desire involves seeking beyond the limits of possibility. What has to be done is, to pluck out desire by the roots; man must give up the desire for objective pleasure, based on the illusion that the world is many, manifold, multicoloured etc., and not on the truth that the world, nature, all creation, is one. When one is conscious only of the one, who desires which? What can be acquired and enjoyed by the second person? The Aathmic vision destroys the desire for objective joys, for, there is no object distinct from the subject.
Experience the Unity: "The whole World is one Family"
This is the true function of society - to enable every member to realise this Aathmic vision. The men and women bound by mutual interests in a society are not merely families, castes, classes, groups, or kinsmen, kinswomen; they are one Aathma. They are knit by the closest of family ties; not only the society to which they feel they are bound, but, all mankind is one. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, as the Shaasthras (moral codes) declare, "the whole world is one family." This unity must be experienced by everyone.
Natural resources and wealth are now being misused for the boosting of one's ego. But, when the Aathmic unity is realised, they will promote the new way of life through love. What is now 'mercy' or legally enforced mutual 'help' will then be transformed into 'divine love' that can effectively purify the recipient and the giver. This consummation is beyond the region of common politics, ethics or economics. They cannot transform the receiver and thrill the giver, however much they attempt to equalise. They do not have the appeal and they have no power to sustain. The equality they establish will be haunted by a shadow, the shadow of the ego. This shadow can disappear only when identity as one is known and felt.
It may be said that not all desires are wrong; the Raajasik ones which harm and exploit others can be condemned; but should one renounce the Saathwik desires? Desire is desire, though the object may be beneficial and pure. The fruit of effort, the mind that seeks it, the vitality that activates the mind, life itself - every one of these has to be turned towards the Lord, with devotion born out of the vision of the one.
Devotion to God goes ill with Hatred towards others
Those who argue that the spiritual path is for the individual only, and that the society should not be involved in it are committing a great mistake. It is like insisting that there should be light inside the house, and saying that it does not matter, if there is darkness outside. Devotion towards God goes ill with hatred towards fellowmen. Fellowmen and the world must be seen ever in the mirror of Sath-Chith-Aanandha (being, awareness, bliss absolute). Kinship based on this recognition will alone last. That is the Sai kinship. When you deepen that kinship, the true presence, the constant presence of Sathya Sai will be yours. Do not be led away by your fancies into the jungle of words and feelings. Be firm, true to your innermost nature.
Good and evil are based on the reactions of individuals; they are not inherent in things or events. Vedhaantha (Vedhic philosophy) or atheism is accepted or rejected, when one likes or dislikes it. They do not depend on logical acceptance or rejection. Only experience can establish their validity. Who can delineate Godhood as thus and thus. Those who do so are indulging in a futile exercise. They have no authority for declaring it. If they claim the right, they are but conceited people relying on their limited intellects.
Divinity is fully immanent in every one, it is patent for the eyes that can see clearly and deeply. Whoever denies this is only cheating himself of his reality. He cannot dismiss it by denial, either from himself or others.
The conclusion, therefore, is inevitable, that, it is the duty of man to see in society the expression of divinity, and to use all his skill and effort to promote the welfare and prosperity of society. Men must cultivate: (1) this expansive feeling, (2) this inclusive thinking and (3) this intuitive vision. Without these three, man is but an inert being; if he derides these three, he loses his title to be human.
All Men are of one divine Lineage
The spirit of renunciation, adherence to virtue, the eagerness to co-operate, the sense of kinship - these are the characteristic signs of man. Life which considers these as encumbrances cannot be valued as 'life.'
The brotherhood of man can be translated into life only on the basis of the Aathmic vision. All men thirst for peace, happiness and bliss. They are the precious heritage which is their right, for, they are God's treasure. They can be earned only by recognising the bond that knits man to man. All men are one lineage; they are of divine lineage.
All men are cells in the one divine organism, in the divine body. That should be your faith, your fortune, your forte, your fullness. Awareness of this alone gives you the right to call yourself a man. Learn to live as men. This is the Saadhana, this is the message of Sai.