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Brahman and Bharat as the Theme of the Discourses that will follow

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

We can get the harvest of paddy only by sowing the seeds of paddy. We cannot get such a harvest if we sow fried paddy as seeds. One who has the necessary wisdom will get rid of repeated births. It is only by acquiring the correct kind of knowledge that one can escape repeated birth. Listen to this great truth, oh, brave son of Bharat. Citizens of this country always live on hope. To lose hope is not a characteristic feature of our countrymen. To suffer from lack of faith and lose hope is a weakness and by entertaining such weaknesses, you will lose all the human strength that you have. Enthusiasm and care are things which will show the way for the prosperity of man. Every individual having such enthusiasm and care will surely achieve success and attain glory in any kind of work that he undertakes. Our own culture tells us that one who has care and interest will always succeed. We should make an attempt to go through the journey of our life with interest and enthusiasm.

Citizens of our country believe in Karma, the fruits that come out of our own actions. Because we have strong faith in the doctrine of Karma, we always undertake to do good deeds and keep away from doing bad deeds. We readily come forward to do good deeds but hesitate to indulge in bad deeds. Vyasa has written in the Puranas that we come forward to do good acts and to say good things but we hesitate to do bad deeds and hesitate to tell unsacred things because we know that this hurts people. The Karma philosophy which we accept in this country is something which is very sacred and there is a saying that we believe in doing good Karma. It is an important characteristic of our culture that as an individual, as a family and as a society, there is considerable forbearance and mutual dependence towards each other. When one can recognise the connection between these three and when one can recognise and respect the Adhyatmic injunctions given to us while paying at the same time sufficient attention to worldly duties as well, there is no doubt that the society will become prosperous and there will be peace in the world.

Because our people have recognised the connection that exists between the worldly thought and spiritual aspect, it is possible for them to take the correct path and become leaders in the world thought. They have always taught that the worldly aspect and the spiritual aspect cannot contradict each other. Imagine that you have a golden necklace around your neck. When you only look at the form of this, we call it a necklace but when we look at the basic material in it, we say that it is made up of gold. But it cannot be that gold is one thing and the necklace is a different thing. It is not possible to make a necklace without gold. So when we call it a golden necklace, it only demonstrates the oneness of the basic material, that is the gold, and the name and form, namely the necklace. It does not give place to any difference between the base and the ornament.

In the same manner, we should be able to proclaim the greatness of our culture and of our education by recognising the oneness of humanity on the one hand and divinity on the other hand. The relationship between the Jiva, Eswara and Prakrithi is an inseparable one. Without cotton, we cannot have yarn and without yarn, we cannot have the cloth. For a piece of cloth to take the shape which it has, the basic material is the thread. While the cloth has for its basis the thread, the thread itself has for its basis the cotton. Cotton, thread and cloth are three names for three different forms but what is contained in all the three is the same and that is cotton. Prakrithi or nature is like the cloth in this analogy. It is the conglomeration of our desires that takes the form of nature. These desires emanate from our heart and have their origin in our heart. We do not see the desires around us. We are able to see in external appearances what is latent in our hearts in the form of desires.

It is not possible to see anything externally if its origin does not lie as a latent entity within us. If we close our eyes, all nature around us will look as if it does not exist. But when we open our eyes, we see so many different heads. Have the people who are here gone away somewhere when we close the eyes or have they come from somewhere when we open our eyes? No - these people have been here all through. If we do not have eyes, we cannot recognise even our own body. Therefore we are able to recognise the entire creation only through our vision. There is nothing distinct as a creation, this becomes a reality because of our vision. In the same manner good and bad, right and wrong, heaven and hell are all appearing to us as a result of our own vision.

The mind of man alone is responsible both for his bondage and for his liberation. The difference between bondage and liberation exists only in our thought. There is no intrinsic or basic difference between these two. We will be able to appreciate the aspect of the divine only when we sacrifice the aspect of the Jiva. There is nothing that we can get by causing harm to the Jiva and doing Puja to the divine. We have to recognise that the living and visible Jiva and the invisible divine are the same and we have to recognise the unity between these two aspects.

Our ancients have prescribed various rituals which would enable us to shed our arrogance and ego. These rituals which have been prescribed to us have also been called Yagna and Yaga. The word Yagna has come from the root word 'Yag'. We have come to recognise this ritual Yagna as important in the context of our worshipping the Lord. The statements that are in our Vedas have told us to sacrifice everything and through sacrifice, we should be able to get a vision of the divine in us. The creation and its maintenance depends only on sacrifice. If there is no sacrifice, the society will not remain intact. If there is no sacrifice there will be no life and one cannot recognise the truth, and if there is no sacrifice there is no creation and there is no sustenance.

Looking at things from a worldly aspect, if we do not give out the breath that we take in we cannot live; if we do not give out the food that we take in after digesting it we cannot live; if the blood is not constantly moved from one place to another every instant we cannot live. Unless the clouds that have gathered water give up the water that they have gathered they cannot remain as clouds. That is why it is said that what you cannot get by your knowledge and effort can be got by sacrifice. Whether it is the good or the bad we have to keep on sacrificing. In this process one should never pay any attention to the body.

If we think that something is good and we welcome what is good, some bad may also come in this process. That which gives you happiness when it comes to you will also cause sorrow when it goes away from you. There is a small example for this. If a son is born in a family, there is considerable happiness but the death of the same son will cause untold sorrow and grief. It is the same son that is either born or is dead and the change of the act of birth to an act of death changes the happiness to sorrow.

Without sacrificing, man cannot live, but he does not undertake sacrifice knowingly. Every individual does undertake sacrifice but he does not know that he is sacrificing. One should have sacrifice as his aim and one should enquire into what is permanent and what is not permanent and enquire into what is to be given up and what is to be accepted. The body and the country are like the object and the image. The body is the place where the divine resides. The difference between 'Kshetra' and 'Kshetragna', that is between the place of residence and the resident, is the one 'Gna'. We interpret this difference by saying that one who is full of knowledge and wisdom is the one who resides in the body and since this letter 'Gna' is not present in 'Kshetra' it is said that the body itself is completely devoid of knowledge and wisdom.

So, bearing in mind the Lord who is the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom and who resides in the body, we should be able to give sufficient attention for the well-being of the body. If the all knowing does not reside in the body, then there is no sanctity of the body. But are we giving the name Kshetra to everything? No - only specific cities, villages and rivers go by the name of Kshetra. It is only that particular place where there is some sacredness recognised is called Kshetra. Benaras, Tirupati, Gaya, Badri and Prayag are some of the places which are called Kshetras. These places are called Kshetras because with these places is associated a recognised sacredness and the presence of such sacredness gives it the name Kshetra. In a superficial way, one recognises this as a place where God is residing.

In the Bhagavad Gita, our body is described as the 'Kshetra' and the Paramatma who resides in the body is called the 'Kshetragna'. We are not able to realise how we should use our own body in which God resides. Devotees who have a sacred heart and who entertain sacred thoughts go on pilgrimage to such sacred places. They are undertaking a pilgrimage to such centres only because they believe those places to be sacred. If they are not sacred, there is no need for them to undertake such a pilgrimage at such expense of money and energy. As in this analogy, because the human body is sacred many people establish connections between each other and they try to make a pilgrimage and take their life along a sacred path. If truly the body of an individual does not undertake a sacred task and lead a sacred life, no one will want to have any relationship with a body like that. Therefore, any one who claims to keep his body sacred should make an attempt to indulge only in good actions, good thoughts and good deeds.

If we take a pot which is full of toddy and apply a coating of Ghee externally on the pot, does the fragrance of the Ghee remove the bad smell of the toddy which is in the pot? In the same manner, if your heart is full of bad ideas and bad thoughts and externally, if you pretend to be good and be in good company for purposes of show, does that remove the impurity in your heart? It does not matter if you do not enter good company and do good deeds. It does not matter if you do not participate in Dhyana and Japa but it is absolutely essential that you should keep your heart pure and clean. The essence of all religions teaches that you should keep your heart clean.

Both in the material world and for spiritual attainments, control of your sensory organs is essential. It is not good to completely and rigidly control all your senses nor is it desirable to give them complete freedom. One should adopt the middle path. There is a small example for this. Many men are accustomed to shave and they know that if they press the razor too hard they will cut the skin and if they do not press at all, it will not be possible to remove the hair. Therefore, in this process, only when we apply moderate pressure will we be able to attain the necessary result. The human mind is like a razor edge. Without controlling the mind too rigidly and without allowing it to go too freely, we should encourage it to do good acts and we should control it when there is any tendency to participate in bad acts. Thus by distinguishing between good and bad acts, we should be able to guide the mind in a moderate manner between the two extremes.

To control the mind and the thoughts is something basic to Yoga and this has been said by many people. We should regard the body as synonymous with man and man is synonymous with mind. If one's mind behaves in a manner in which it ought to, then he behaves like man. If one's mind is not in a state in which it ought to be, then he does not behave like a man. The entire country depends on the men that constitute the country. If the country today is not in a shape in which it ought to be, it simply means that the mind is not behaving as it should and therefore the country is not what it should be. The good and bad of a country are entirely determined by the men that make up the country. The confusion that is prevailing in the country and the lack of discipline and fear that are seen all round are the results of our own conduct. Because we are not able to keep our minds in a manner in which we ought to keep them and because men constituting the country are not conducting themselves in a manner in which they ought to, such a situation is prevailing.

If the mind and the thoughts are good, then the men will be good and if the men are good then the country will be prosperous and the country will be enjoying happiness. We say that this is our country but remember that the country does not have a separate bodily entity. It is the conglomeration of people that is called a country. There is a small example for this. We refer to a small group of people as a society or association. Neither the society nor the association has got any distinctive form. The individuals who constitute the society have specific forms. Because these individuals with specific forms have become members, that group has been called an association. We should ask the question whether that association has the qualities which it should have. We should not regard the number of members in a society as a primary criterion. Mere numbers do not justify the name society. It is only the oneness of thought between the various members that make it a society. It follows that when the individual is right and when all the individuals that compose the society are correct, then the society itself will be right and correct.

Today in all spheres - ethical, moral, educational, spiritual and scientific - because there is no unity or oneness among those that compose a group, there is confusion and lack of peace everywhere. A group consisting of different individuals can be referred to as a society only when all of them stand on one common base and accept one common thought. Today, in a society which has ten people, you find ten different individual thoughts and plans. When these ten people follow ten different paths and when there is no unity among them, is there any meaning in calling them a society or an organisation? Because in such social groups and associations they do not have the strength to bring the individuals together, these associations and societies are coming to grief. We should make an attempt to convert individual ideas into sacred ideas.

One should not undertake to discuss the good and bad in others. An individual who undertakes to keep the bad in him away from him and attempts to promote the good in him can really go forward. If we use a thousand eyes for locating the faults in others and spend all our time in this process, our heart also gets impure and we develop bad ideas. Our heart is like a camera lens. The object on which we concentrate our attention gets imprinted on the mind by the lens of the heart. Young people should try to see that qualities like jealousy, hatred, lack of forbearance do not enter their minds. People who have such bad ideas will be destroyed in course of time in spite of the wealth and knowledge that they might possess. If you entertain these bad qualities in your mind, it is taking to a bad path willingly and you will surely fall down.

Pavitratmaswarupas! It has been the custom in these summer classes to take a particular theme and give importance to the central idea and synthesise and correlate the ideas that are connected with that theme and imprint them in your mind. This year, the important idea will be the history of the name of our country 'Bharat' and the significance of the name 'Bharat'. This country has been called 'Bharat' or 'Bharata Desa'. It is customary to associate this with the name of the son of a king who at one time ruled this country. This is not the correct meaning. The whole world has been called Bharata Desa. The relationship between the name Bharata and the Vedas has to be understood. We should be able to derive the authority from the Vedas for this name 'Bharata'. It is also common for our people to use the word Brahman very frequently. We must understand what this word 'Brahman' means. Does this mean the traditional four faced God or does this mean the 'Sabda-Brahma' that is sound typified as Brahma, or does it represent the creator of all this creation?

In the thirty days that are to follow you should understand the two important words 'Brahman' and 'Bharata', by quoting authority from our Vedas, Puranas and Ithihasas. I will spend the next thirty days in explaining to you the inner meaning of these two words. If one cannot understand the meaning of the name given to one's own mother country, what is the use of being born in a country and call oneself a citizen of Bharat. One who cannot recognise the significance of the name of one's own mother country should be regarded as blind, not being able to recognise his own body. Today there are many who are not able to recognise the meaning of the name given to their own body. If one does not know the meaning of the name given to his body, how is he going to understand the significance of the name of his motherland. Therefore, the first thing that one has to do is to understand the significance of his name and the name of his motherland. During these thirty days, many teachers may tell you the significance of various other matters but I will tell you the significance of the two words 'Brahman' and 'Bharata' and I hope that you will be able to appreciate fully the meaning of these words.

People who have sacred thoughts and ideas will always have the viewpoint of Advaita in whatever they say. You should make an attempt to find good in whatever you see. Whether you see good or bad you must regard it as good. If on the other hand, if you begin to look for bad in the good things that you see, it is very sinful. In the Bible there is a very good example provided by Christ for such a situation. There was a dead dog in a particular place and the birds and other animals were eating the various parts of this dead dog and the pieces of flesh were thrown all around in a helter-skelter fashion. Several people would not look at this repulsive situation and they were turning away from this dead dog and were moving at a distance. At that time Jesus was going along that path and learnt that all the people were abandoning that path because of the dead dog on the path. He then said that one must learn to see the good aspect of everything. He asked if any one has ever thought of the very clean set of teeth which belong to the dog and he asked if anyone ever brushed these teeth for them to be so clean. He thus advised them to see only the good in all aspects. He also taught them the lesson that there is bad blood in everyone and bad flesh in everyone and said that in everyone there is something which should in reality keep all persons away.

We should practice to see only good things, do only good things and hear only good things and all our experience must become a sacred experience. Truly, when we come to think of the fact that from such a vast country only a small number of students have had this opportunity of attending this summer course, it shows that you are very lucky. I am hoping that you will be able to get the best out of this and put into practice all that you learn here. Do not abuse the good opportunity that you have been lucky enough to get. You may have to put up with some difficulties. You must collect all the good that you can get from such an opportunity. I am hoping that you will be able to do this in spite of the fact that you may have to put up with some inconvenience.