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One who protects Dharma will in turn be protected by Dharma
Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba during the Summer Course
in Spirituality and Indian Culture
When one is prosperous, one will not care for God. In that condition he will be a sinner and he will be moving about without caring for the Lord. On the other hand, he will open his eyes when his prosperity disappears. Listen to this plain truth, oh boys and girls of Bharat.
Pavitratma Swarupas, the Veda Brahman has many names and today we will take one particular name 'Chandass' and we will understand Him through this name. This word 'Chandass' is known in several ways. Vedas have been divided into four parts. Some parts constitute the Mantras and the other parts constitute the Brahmanas. These four parts have the names, Samhita, Aranyaka, Brahmana and the Upanishad. Samhita has been taken to mean that part which contains Mantras and the other three parts have been together given the other names.
Chandass has been given different kinds of original or root meaning and also it has been described in many different ways. Not only this, sometimes the Sruti which contains the Mantra and the Brahmana has also been called Chandass. Gayatri, Vishnu, Anushtuhu and Sishtuhu have also been called Chandass. The sacred Sruthis have been describing this Chandass in so many different ways and have been introducing this word into various descriptions and in this way they have been spreading prosperity to the rest of the world. Although Chandass is in a way synonymous with the Mantras and the Brahmanas, some people have come up to say that this word has nothing to do with the Vedas or Swadhyaya or Amnaya and they have been arguing in a different way. Some also argued that this word Chandass can be applied only to Gayatri and that we cannot use this word in relation to the Mantras and Brahmanas. Some have even undertaken to argue that it has no relation to the Vedas either. They have been arguing and criticising the views expressed earlier in this manner. In all these cases, the people who argue so, do it on the basis of the strength of their own intelligence and also the prejudices which they have in their mind and we have to say that these arguments have nothing to do with the actual merits of the problem. They are more related to their own individual prejudices.
Not only in the various texts and branches of learning, such as Viseshika, Nyaya and so on, but in the Mimamsikas such as Poorvamimamsa Uttaramimamsa and the Darsanas, they have explained that the word Chandass has the full meaning and significance as has been just described here. Some who took a limited and restricted view of things took the view that what is contained here may at best be described as Puranas and Itihasas but you cannot describe to it the authority of the Vedas. In one particular Kosa - the Vaijayanthi Kosa - it has been maintained that the Chandass can be related to this Kosa. In Vyakarana or grammar, a Rishi by name Aruni has also been supporting this in several ways. In this way, by drawing authorities from the Sruthi and the Smruthi, they have been establishing that the word Chandass relates to the Veda.
In this context, it is necessary for us to understand as to how this word Chandass has come to represent the important statements in the various Vedas and what the origin of the word Chandass is. There are some authorities which tell us that particular Mantra which makes you distant from death and which gives you immortality should be called Chandass. This is the reason why the great Rishis who have understood and identified themselves with Brahman, while uttering the Mantras in the three Vedas - Rig, Yajur, and Sama - were seeking immortality for themselves. While offering the Havis for the God of Fire, these Rishis were uttering the Mantras which would give them immortality and these Mantras were life giving Mantras and by uttering such Mantras, they have given a distinctive meaning to the word Chandass.
Here we have to clearly understand the meaning of the words death and immortality. We regard death as synonymous with all kinds of strength in the body being lost. In other words, death is the passing away of life strength from the body. If the life strength remains in the body forever, we regard that as a situation of immortality. These are not appropriate meanings. It is very wrong to think of immortality as life being retained permanently in this body. To be able to completely identify one's self with the aspect of God and completely forget the aspect of the body is true immortality. If, at all times, we are completely immersed in the thoughts of the body and its comforts and if we forget the aspect of Atma, that is death. It is only when we are able to clearly recognise the connection between birth and death, the sacred desire for securing immortality will be sprouting in us. There is birth and death for the body but there is no birth or death for the Atma. To be able to understand this permanency of the Atma is the real meaning of attaining immortality, we must enquire about the process by which we can attain this immortality. Not only by doing good deed, by keeping good company and by having good thoughts in the material world and in all matters relating to our daily life but also by imbibing the Sakti obtained from reciting the sacred Mantras can we secure this aspect of immortality.
The Rishis have shown us this alternative path. In the context of the daily life, the good work that we do is like a negative pole but the divine Sakti which we can get through the utterance of the Veda Mantras is like a positive pole. In this process, both the negative and the positive will have to be in their appropriate strength. It is true that by doing good deeds we can keep this negative terminal in a good condition but if we have no regard for the strength that we can get from the divine Mantras, then there would be no positive terminal and we cannot get the full strength. Here we have to recognise the close relationship between the negative and the positive.
Today whatever good work that we may do in the worldly context, is being done from an external point of view and we are not giving it the necessary importance to make it go and seep inside the heart. In the worldly aspect, we are doing several things either to attain a high position or to attain a reputation or just for the sake of exhibition or in the hope of getting some fruit. Each one can judge for himself whether he is doing something to get the fruit of it or not. Of all things that we do, these intended for self-satisfaction are very few. All kinds of work that we do, which are not intended for the satisfaction of the self, can be described as actions which are temporal or actions which are related to the material world.
I have told you several times that we can get self-satisfaction only when we have confidence in our own self. It is only when there is self-confidence along with self-satisfaction, will you get the capacity for self-sacrifice. It is only after you have the capacity for self-sacrifice, can you get self-realisation. Thus you get immortality out of sacrifice and it is for this reason that all the Yagnas and ceremonies in this country have been intended to symbolise sacrifice. These Yagnas are not undertaken just for the sake of a Yagna. They have a purpose and that is to promote divine strength.
Once upon a time even the Devas lost the spirit of sacrifice and it was then realised that the Devas of the Yagnas cannot be in their place and the Goddess of the Yagna took the form of a deer and left the place. The form of a deer is called the form of a Krishnamriga. When the Goddess of Yagna took the form of a deer and left the place, the Devas could not bear this and so they also followed this animal. Devas wanted to get the deer but they were not able to do so. They could get hold of the skin of the deer and so they brought back the skin. In the skin of the deer, there are three colours namely, Sukla, Krishna and Babru. These three colours have been identified with the Rig, Yajur and Sama Veda. This is the reason why the master of ceremonies in a Yagna gets a deer skin and sits thereon. This is symbolic of the fact that the ceremony represents God and thereby they want to get God's grace.
Because God likes Veda and Mantra, our Rishis have regarded the skin of the deer as something which is pleasing to the Lord. It was their belief that God is pleased with the deer skin and therefore by having the deer skin with them, they thought that they would please God and obtain His grace. So, such individuals who want to acquire scholarship and knowledge of Brahmavidya, get a piece of the deer skin in their sacred thread before they begin studying Brahmavidya. Since the deer skin has the three colours Sukla, Krishna and Babru, it is taken to be symbolic of all the three Vedas and the trinity of the Gods. Although in the common worldly parlance, it may simply be viewed as a deer skin, in the Yagna, when it is used for the sacred purposes, it is described by a special name 'Sarma'.
'Sarma' here stands for happiness or bliss. This kind of Ananda which is beyond and above the sensuous pleasures is called bliss. This bliss which is different from the ordinary pleasures can come to us only through Brahmavidya. What we generally call happiness relates to the bodily comforts and is very transient. Such transient pleasure which relates only to the body comes to us in a few moments but immediately afterwards it plunges us into as deep a sorrow as the bodily pleasure is pleasing. But the kind of bliss that one gets through the Atma is permanent, pure and selfless. This is the reason why Brahmavidya has been preaching us that Prema must be practised for the sake of Prema.
You should not show Prema for the sake of obtaining material benefits. If Prema is shown for the sake of obtaining some material benefit, then it will last for a very short time and will bear out quickly. No material is a permanent thing and therefore Prema shown for acquiring the material is also not a permanent thing. Atma is symbolic of truth and is permanent and therefore Prema which is attached to Atma will also be true and permanent. This kind of Prema and this kind of truth are present in every Jiva and if we develop Prema and truth for their own sake, then the Prema and truth which each one develops and the Prema and truth present in everyone will all join together and will become Prema and truth in an excessive measure. That is why it has been said in the Upanishads 'Satyasya Satyam' or the truth of truth.
We should understand the purpose for which this life has been given to us and it is proper that we devote it for achieving that purpose. For every Mantra, an appropriate path has also been shown by that Mantra. While uttering the Mantras, our ancestors took care to see that they were observing the cleanliness and the path which was demanded by that particular Mantra. Just as these root words 'at', 'adyathe', 'ath' represent eating, the subject who is eating, and the act of eating and together represent the unified aspect of food, the work that one is doing and the act of doing work and the subject who is doing the work should all be unified and then only will the work that you are doing be sacred.
Students will very well understand if these are explained in terms of the subject, the object and the predicate. Only when these three come together and when there is a proper co-ordination between them is a proper sentence formed. When there is no correlation between these three, there is room for several doubts and questions. If there is a sentence like 'Rama has beaten'. One who has heard the sentence will ask who was beaten. This gives rise to another question as to who has beaten whom. Then the question will also arise about what has been beaten. If instead of all this, we say 'Rama has beaten the dog' there will be no further questions. In the same manner, when the Mantra, the utterance of the Mantra and the fruit of the Mantra are all properly explained and co-ordinated, there will be no room for any further doubt or question. It is because Veda had the strength of establishing the Triputi, it encompasses the three aspects - the subject, object and the predicate.
There is a very good situation in the Mahabharata which illustrates this. While going about in the forest, the Pandavas had the desire of helping one Brahmin and for this they were chasing one animal and in the process they were very tired and they stopped under a tree for rest. All the five Pandavas were there. After some time, Dharmaraja was feeling thirsty and he asked his brother Bhima to look around and bring some water. Bhima, who went looking for water did not return for quite some time. Bhima was a strong person and could defend himself but even he had not returned and so Dharmaraja asked Nakula and Sahadeva to go together and look for Bhima as well as water. But Nakula and Sahadeva also did not return for quite some time. After this, he asked Arjuna to go and even he did not return for a very long time. Finally Dharmaraja went himself looking for the other brothers. Under a tree and near a small tank, he found all the four brothers lying in a state of unconsciousness. They were looking as if they had no life in them.
Dharmaraja could not contain his thirst and he thought that he would drink some water and then do something about his brothers. At that time, he heard some unseen celestial voice asking him questions. This voice said that Dharmaraja will get the right to drink water from the tank only after the questions have been answered. But Dharmaraja said that he will be able to give replies to the questions only after he knows who the questioner was. Then the voice gave a reply that he was a Yaksha. These questions are referred to as Yaksha Prasnas and Dharmaraja replied to all these questions with good and appropriate meaning as he passed the test with flying colours.
The Yaksha was happy and pleased and permitted Dharmaraja to ask for any boon but in permitting him to ask for a boon, the Yaksha laid down some conditions. According to the conditions Dharmaraja can ask for any one and only one of his four dead brothers to be brought back to life if he so chose. At that time Dharmaraja started to think deeply. After having given deep thought, Dharmaraja said that Nakula might be brought back to life. At that, the Yaksha in surprise asked another question. You are to face the battle of Mahabharata in the near future and in that you will need the support of Bhima who is full of strength and Arjuna who is well versed in the use of weapons and how is it that you have chosen Nakula instead of Bhima or Arjuna? Then Dharmaraja said that his father had two wives - Kunti and Madri. While himself, Arjuna and Bhima were Kunti's sons, Nakula and Sahadeva were Madri's sons and since he was alive as a son of Kunti, it is only appropriate that he asked for the life of one of the sons of Madri. He said that he could not ask to have another son of Kunti brought back to life while Madri is left without a son. Yaksha was very pleased with this attitude and he immediately said that he was giving back life to all the four brothers.
Following the true path of Dharma, we will be in a position to receive much more benefit than what is anticipated. To Dharmaraja, who asked for the life of only one of his brothers by going along the path of Dharma, Yaksha was prepared to grant him the life of all the brothers. But if we tread a path which is not of Dharma, then we will find that if we have a thousand desires, not even one of those desires will be fulfilled. One who destroys Dharma will in turn be destroyed by Dharma but one who protects Dharma will in turn be protected by Dharma. Whether it is punishing us or protecting us, it is only done by Dharma and it is only by Dharma that we can attain prosperity. We should try to follow the path followed by Dharmaraja at least to a small extent.
God knows the animosity that grows between the children of stepmothers but in these days of Kali, even the sons born of the same mother are quarrelling among themselves. At this time, when there is so much hatred developed between two brothers born to the same mother, where is the question of anyone protecting the life of a brother born to a stepmother. When there is no identity of views between two brothers born to the same mother, is it possible for us to bring about unity amidst all persons in this world? In the discourses that we hear or in the speeches which we hear from platforms, we hear every day people addressing others as brothers and sisters. It is necessary to ask ourselves whether such words are coming from the depths of our hearts or whether we are simply reading them from a piece of paper.
Students, boys and girls! If you use the words 'brothers and sisters' from the depths of your hearts then there is no doubt whatsoever that you will merit the grace of the Lord and good consequences will follow. Just because you say 'brothers and sisters' you do not have to worry and fear that you may have to distribute your ancestral property to those brothers and sisters or that you may have to distribute your wealth and ornaments amongst them. What you have to realise is the one common divinity that is present in all of you and that is the basis for accepting the brotherhood of all humanity. When you have recognised that the divine Atma present in each one is the same and when you have recognised that this is the only truth, then you will become truly brothers and sisters. It is because they entertained such good ideas and ideals, the scholars, the kings, the people and the Rishis of ancient days had one common idea and they thought as one body and enjoyed all the common aspects.
Students, it is necessary for you to understand the good that is contained in the sacred Indian culture and in our Vedas and the Itihasas and Puranas. You should understand the sacred inner meaning of all these things with great care. For the last ten days, we have been grasping the aspect of omnipresence of Brahman and learning that Brahman is not affected by changes in time or changes in environment and that Brahman is present everywhere. If you understand this aspect, there will be no room for differences between any two people for Brahman is present in all. There is no room for cruel and bad ideas and it is possible for everyone to lead a good and happy life.