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Ghora and Aghora Aspects of God are only Reflections of Your Thoughts in the Mirror of Brahman

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/June 1974
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
Web posted at Jun 20, 2002

It is only after a digit that the zero will have any significance and value. Similarly we must first think of God who is only one and the living world after Him. The world will acquire some value only if it comes after God.

Adharva is one of several names for Parabrahma who is also known by the name Swaha. The meaning of the word Adharva is that it is something which is steady and unchanging. In addition to this, in the Vedas it is also known as Pranatma or Prajapati. The Adharvana Veda has told us that this Adharva was the first to generate fire. The Rishis first used this fire generated by Parabrahma for their rituals and ceremonies and gave names like Brahma, Vasishta, Prajapati, Brihaspati and so on. In this way while performing the sacrifice, they recognised the importance of Adharva - the source of the fire and also the aspects that were implied in these names given to persons functioning as Rithwicks. This Adharva has been installed as the basis in many places of origin and has been used as the basis for the prosperity of the world. In the context of the name Prajapati, Adharva was understood as Adharva Veda and in the context of Rithwicks some other aspects were also recognised. These Vedas were propagated in the world through the name of Prajapati. For all the Mantras in the Vedas, there is a beginning and an end. The sound that is uttered in the beginning and in the end is called Pranava. That this Pranava is the same as Adharva has been said in the Adharva Veda.

In this Veda, it has been said that Prajapati has two distinct aspects. One of these is called 'Rudra Akara' and the other is the opposite of it and is 'Arudra Akara'. In the context of Siva, one of these aspects has been described as Mangalakara or one who gives prosperity and good. There is an opposite side of it called 'Rudra Akara'. These two aspects differ in form and appearance but we have not tried to realise the oneness or unity that is present in both aspects. Not only in God do we see these two aspects of anger and peace, we see them also in the whole created world occurring side by side. The aspect that one really notices depends totally on the attitude of one's mind. When Narasimha who came out of the pillar was looked at by Prahlada, he did see and enjoy the peaceful attitude present therein.

Prahlada was deeply immersed in happiness when he looked at this peaceful attitude. To Hiranyakasipa who regarded himself as an enemy of God, the very same Narasimha appeared in an angry mood. That the same was seen by one as Siva and by another as Rudra has to be interpreted by saying that these two aspects are not intrinsic to God but arise from the different attitudes which the devotees experience. As an illustration, we note that when we eat some things within limits and not exceed such limits, it is not going to cause any harm and will be useful. On the other hand, if we exceed the limit and overeat, the very same thing can cause disease and lead us even to death. Adharva Veda has been telling us that this word food has been coming from the root word 'Ad' which means to eat. 'Adyate' means some material which is edible. Adti stands for something that is being eaten. The one who eats, the material that is being eaten and the act of eating are all represented by the root words 'Ad', 'Adyate' and 'Adti'.

This sacred name which applies to what is edible and to the act of eating and to the one that is eating has been recognised as a form of Brahman in the word 'Angirase'.

By the grace of Prajapati and the Rithwicks and with the help of Adharva Veda, we are able to recognise the great qualities in this. This Veda has been called by other names like 'Kshatraveda', 'Brahmaveda', 'Angarva Veda' and so on.

The Adharva Veda which has these alternative names has acquired and incorporated into itself some changes and has become an important one. According to tradition, for Gayathri Parameswari, there are three feet namely 'Yaj', 'Rig' and 'Sama' Vedas. Mimamsa stood as her body and Adharwa stood as the head of Gayathri Parameswari. Thus, while Adharva Veda had acquired such a prominent place over time, we are still giving importance only to the other three Vedas.

Amongst all the Vedas the Adharva Veda has the distinction of being the oldest and the most important. The Adharva Veda has also been telling us that one aspect of Parabrahma is not simply the words in the Veda but is the Veda itself. It was proclaiming the aspect of Siva for the prosperity of the world and in addition to this, it has been giving us Mantras which are directly responsible for the creation, maintenance and dissolution. In the Adharva Veda these aspects are represented by two words 'Ghora' and 'Aghora'. In common parlance, we use these words only when we want to describe some fearful or troublesome things. In this context, the word Ghora has however been used to signify something which is an obstacle for Ananda. But, if we do what we should do and if we follow the right path which we should follow, in this life, we can get a kind of Ananda called Aghora. Limited eating gives us Ananda which may be called Aghora. Unlimited and uncontrolled eating gives something different from Ananda. It gives trouble which may be called Ghora. We should ask ourselves if it is the food that we eat that is responsible for this Ghora or Aghora. The food is not responsible for either the feeling of Ghora or Aghora. These are only results of the aspects of the mind and the desires of man.

With a sharp knife, we can do several useful things like cutting fruits and vegetables but if one gets into a temper, one can also cause harm to the lives of other people. If a doctor has a sharp knife with him, he will put it to good use. If the same sharp knife is in the hands of a killer, he will kill people. For both these things, it is the attitude of the individual that is responsible. It is not the knife that is responsible. The inner meaning of what has been said now regarding the attitude of the mind is in the statement 'Manayeva Karanam Manushyanam Bandha Mokshaha'. That is as a result of the attitude of mind, these two aspects Ghora and Aghora arise. Because Brahman is omnipresent, Brahman is present even in the minds of people, and Ghora and Aghora have been used to represent the two aspects of mind. Ghora and Aghora are not two distinct separable attitudes nor are they separate situations. One happens to be the opposite of the other.

This may be referred to as one being a reaction of the other. Such contraries or opposites are present in every aspect and in every situation. Pain and pleasure always come together and no one can separate them. Pleasure is something which we cannot see in an isolated condition. If pain fructifies, we call it pleasure. Just as pain and pleasure are not two separate things, so also Ghora and Aghora are not two separate entities.

For the prosperity of the world, Prajapati is taking the aspect of Ghora as a kind of cure. The aspect of Ghora which Prajapati is taking for a specific purpose is being regarded as something which signifies terror. This is not right. From time immemorial, several Maharshis were performing Tapas and used to undergo many troubles. In this process, in order that the person who is doing Tapas may reach a certain stage and may get a recognition, God creates obstacles in his path. This is not a trick on the part of God nor is it the purpose of God to give trouble to the devotee. After a year of education, the university conducts an examination. This examination is being conducted with a view to send you to a higher class and is for your own good. It is not conducted to trouble you. We are calling this examination a test. So also, God introduces an occasional test to find out the strength of the person performing the Tapas. Because our attitude towards the test is not correct, it sometimes give us the feeling that the test is causing us great trouble. Sometimes, we pray to God and say "Oh God! Why are you subjecting me to all these tests?" We ask that all these tests be stopped. If the tests are stopped, you cannot rise higher. If one wants to learn to drive a plane or a boat, one must obtain a certificate of fitness or a license and for this one will have to go through a test. In order that we may receive a certificate, these tests are an absolute must. If one desires that there should be no test, it means that there is no desire to reach a higher place and that one wants to remain where one is.

There is a good example in our ancient Puranas. King Sibi was a person who had sacrificed many things and he had all the good qualities and he was always immersed in the thought of God. While Sibi was a great king and he had all the wealth, Indra and Agni had a plan to test the real sacrificing nature of this king. Agni took the form of a dove and Indra took the form of an eagle which attacks the dove. Agni in the form of a dove came running to the king and appealed to him to save him as he was being attacked by a big eagle. The king promised to protect the dove which was being attacked and therefore the eagle could not get hold of the dove. At this time, the eagle started arguing that since he was hungry and since it came as a hungry bird it was the duty of the king to give up the dove to satisfy its hunger. The king then said that since he had undertaken to protect the dove, it was not possible for him to hand over the dove but he would offer to give an amount of his own flesh equivalent to the flesh of the dove, and thereby satisfy the eagle's hunger. The king got a pair of weighing pans and placed the dove on one of the pans and on the other, he began placing chunks of his own flesh. Even after large amounts of his flesh being put in, the scales were not balanced. Finally, finding that he had nothing more to add, he himself sat on the pan and offered his entire body to the eagle. Agni and Indra, in the form of the dove and the eagle, were very much moved at this selfless spirit of sacrifice and they presented themselves before the king in their true form. Indra and Agni then said that no amount of learning in the Vedas can bring one as much satisfaction as the spirit of sacrifice would bring and in this manner they praised the king.

When such tests come from God, they come in order to shower grace and not to trouble the devotee. It is not possible for all persons to understand and comprehend God's strength. One who understands Brahman becomes identical with Brahman himself. The saying 'Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati' means this. In other words, unless one rises to the stature of Brahman, he will not understand Brahman. Similarly, through truth alone can one comprehend truth. One cannot understand truth through untrue methods.

Neither we nor our minds are behaving in a manner in which they should. Because our minds are not what they ought to be, the world is not as it ought to be. Man is synonymous with mind and mind is synonymous with the desires. If there are no desires, there is no mind, if there is no mind, there is no man and therefore, if you really want to recognise the country, we should realise that the country consists of men and it is the conglomeration or grouping of men that constitutes the country. This is a piece of cloth and it is prepared from a bundle of threads. If there are no threads, there cannot be a piece of cloth. This thread had been prepared from cotton. If there is no cotton, there can be no thread and if there is no thread, there is no cloth. Our desires which are in the form of cotton get woven up into our mind which is in the form of thread and our mind which is in the form of thread comes together and makes up the man.

The desires have no doubt to be there and they need not be completely eliminated but these desires have to be consistent with our education and culture and they should be such as will bring us respect. One must examine the desires that one has in him, in the context of his country, of his education, of the reputation of his parents, and one must ask if he is conducting himself appropriately. Therefore the kind of desires with which we fill our heads should be such that they are consistent with accepted norms and if these are not so, it is better to have an empty head rather than fill it up with the wrong kind of desires. You can introduce anything that you wish into an empty head but it is not possible to put anything into a head already filled with all kinds of things. If the head is filled with things which are characteristic of this Kali Yuga, how can your head have any place for good things, and if you cannot put good things in the head, then what is the use of this head?

Because there is no place in our country where righteousness can thrive, Dharma has fled to the forest. Cruelty and sin that should have remained in the forest have entered the populated villages. The reason for this is that our ideas and thoughts are not in a position to retain Dharma. Pandavas who were the embodiment of Dharma had to go to the forest, because all the habitable places were occupied by people like Duryodhana. The latter did not have any place for Dharma. Today in the Kali Yuga, the behaviour of people is taking a weird shape by which heads filled with bad thoughts and ears which are always prepared to listen to criticism of the people around and eyes with which people standing behind some tree constantly watch what is happening elsewhere are in evidence everywhere. Our talk is such that it wants to deceive others. If such bad actions and thoughts prevail, how can Dharma stay on?

These good and bad aspects are called Ghora and Aghora. In this context, you may get a doubt as to how these terms Ghora and Aghora are relevant to the aspects of God. It is easy to understand that if bad thoughts and actions are in an ordinary person that is Ghora, and if they do not occur, it is Aghora, but one may ask how one can associate these with God. Are there good and bad qualities associated with God as well? But when we ask this question, there is one truth which we have to recognise in the aspects of Brahman. Brahman has no form. Brahman has no qualities or Gunas. Brahman has only a name and is like a mirror and looking into the mirror, we create a form. If we go and stand in front of a clean mirror, what we see is a reflection of ourselves and in this context we have to ask whether the image we see is simply a reflection of ourselves or whether it is a part of the mirror. This clean mirror is only reflecting the image of yourself, but your image is not already present in the mirror. The bad and the good that are present in you are reflected.

God neither has good qualities nor bad qualities. When you stand in front of a mirror, your own image is reflected. If you do good, it is reflected as good or Aghora and if you do bad, it is reflected back as bad or Ghora. Thus these bad and good aspects are arising from within you and are reflected backwards, one cannot find a fault and point it out as belonging to God. If however, you do so, they are only artificial and are results of your own imagination. If you do not notice or experience the grace of God, you think that God is not close to you. You also sometimes say that you have tried your best in many ways to go to close to God, but God is going farther and farther from you. This is a meaningless statement. There is no point in saying that you are going close to God and God is going farther away from you. Here is a small example for this.

A person who is standing close to me may be thinking that Swami is far away from him. We can examine this statement on the basis of the laws of physics. If the distance from a person to me is small, the distance from me to that person cannot be different and larger. Similarly if I hit a piece of wood, I say that I have hit the piece of wood but that is not all. The piece of wood has also hit me equally hard. This is in the nature of a reaction. It can never be that the reaction is unequal to the action. In the same manner, in the spiritual aspect as well, there is no question of your thinking that you are going close to God and that God is going away from you, or your thinking that God is keeping at a distance in spite of your getting closer to Him. As close you are to God, so close is God to you. If you understand this truth, then you will realise that God is everywhere. There is no such thing as God being far away from you when you are close to God. Individuals who recognise the truth in this statement and realise that God is omnipresent will recognise that God is close to them.

The Adharva Veda has given us clearly a description of what nature is and the laws that govern matter as well as the laws that govern the spirit. From this Veda, we can also learn as to what path we must take in order that we may escape the sorrows and pain which are to be found in this world. Because Adharva Veda has taught us how to overcome the strength and power that is stronger than ours, it is also regarded as one which tells us about all the weapons with which we should defend ourselves. We should not regard Adharva Veda as something which has told us the secrets of material weapons, or weapons with which one fights another in this material world. Adharva Veda has really given us the weapons with which we can fight the inner human problems like sorrow and pain. An individual who has gained control over the mind is far stronger than an individual who has gained control over the material world. An individual who has discovered the atom bomb may be able to destroy the world and reduce it to ashes but he has no weapons with which he can diminish or destroy the Ananda in a place.

If one can gain mastery over one's own senses, then he can get Ananda in an abundant measure. The contradiction that arises between the internal aspects or feelings and the external aspects or feelings can be removed by the knowledge of Adharva Veda. Today we are regarding Adharva Veda as something that is separate from the other three Vedas - Yajur, Rig and Sama. This is not correct. The Adharva Veda is something which is latent and is in fact present in all the three Vedas. Just as Yoga is latent and is present in all the Karma, Upasana and Jnana, so also Adharva Veda is present in all the Vedas. In the Bhagavada Gita we have all the chapters taking the name Yoga like 'Karma Yoga', 'Jnana Yoga', 'Vibhuti Yoga' and so on and it is not possible to say that one is more important than the other. This is because Yoga is common to all the chapters and is indeed the most important. If basically, we want to look at all things as one and find the common content, then the position is different. On the other hand, if you do not have this oneness as the basis then you look at individuals and say that one is wearing a blue shirt and another a red shirt and yet another a yellow shirt, it means that our eyes are giving importance to the differences rather than the oneness that is present in all of them.

If we put on blue glasses on our eyes, then all the shirts will look blue. Similarly if we wear the glasses of Prema and love, then all that you see in the world will be Prema. If your vision is not filled with Prema, how can the things that you see with your vision be full of Prema? It is the Adharva Veda which tells us that if you want to see Brahman in the entire creation, you must have your vision filled with Prema. It is a great folly to neglect the sacred Vedas which teach us such sacred paths. It is very undesirable to come to regard the Vedas as useless books and to put them aside. While we go to bed, we make an attempt to read story books which do not bring you any thoughts worth anything at all. We are not willing to read books which give us valuable advice in life. Some students have a few other bad habits too. They have a transistor radio by their bedside which plays some music and they regard this as a lullaby for sending them to sleep. Other students want to be reading some useless storybooks and put them on their chest and only that will send them to sleep.

You must regard your heart as a temple. You should make an attempt to install God in the temple of your heart. The human body is like a temple and in this lives Jiva who is an ancient representative of God. To be born as a human being is an exceptional gift and to enable such a human birth to reach its destination and make it sacred, our Vedas have been teaching various paths. The Sastras and Puranas also enable us to lead the Jiva in this body to its sacred destination.