The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

“Whose Mistake Is This?”



December 15th, 2002

OM...OM...OM

Sai Ram

Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan

Dear Brothers and sisters

“Whose Mistake Is This?”

I am glad to be here again this morning. Today, I would like to draw your attention to the following question: “Who is at fault? Who is guilty? Whose mistake is this?” That is the topic for today. Let us discover who is guilty, so that we can be free from all the evil effects and enjoy the fun of life.

Why is it that some are saintly? Why is it that some are Divine? Why is it that some are demonic? Why is it that one person is a sinner and the other is a saint? What is the reason? Whose mistake is this? Let us analyse it clearly. My friends, all these things have been discussed at length in the fifteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Githa, called Purushothama Prapthiyoga. It explains clearly where the mistake lies. “Whose fault is this? Whose mistake is this?” Let us analyse clearly. 

The first point that I would like to draw your attention to is as follows: Life is a process of evolution from the lower to the higher. I am just quoting Bhagavan. I think by this time you must be quite sure that whatever I say is from Bhagavan’s literature.  Nothing is left to speculation or imagination. I dare not do it. 

Life is a process of evolution from low to high. In the course of evolution, the process may be slow for some individuals and may be fast for certain other blessed souls. The process is slow in most cases because we don’t want to evolve too fast. We want to take our own time and evolve leisurely. The ones who choose to hasten and speed up the process of evolution are called seekers, aspirants, or sadhakas. By following the spiritual path, these seekers speed up the process of evolution, while the others evolve more slowly. But evolution is a must. Therefore my friends, there is no reason to feel frustrated. There is no reason to feel proud. You may reach there tomorrow and I may reach there the day after, but both of us will certainly get there, okay? So on the spiritual path, the process of evolution happens whether you like it or not. If you don’t like it, it will take more time. If you like it, it will happen sooner -- that’s all.

The Ultimate State

If I prepare for the examination, I will pass this year. If I do not, it doesn’t matter because in September or March there is a supplementary exam. So, it doesn’t really matter. We may take a couple of lives to evolve, but evolution is certain. 

What is the pinnacle? What is the climax? What is the destination? What is the goal? What is at the top of the ladder of evolution? What is the finale, the final step?  The final step in the process of evolution is identification with Divinity or total merger with the Divine -- understanding and experiencing that you and God are one. This is the ultimate state of evolution. Until I find this identity -- unless I know my reality and I know that God and I are one -- the process of evolution will go on and on and on. It is only a question of how many lives, that’s all. Some people may take any number of lives, but there will still be evolution.

It goes something like this: You may catch a non-stop flight to reach New York, or you may take either KLM or Singapore Airlines, which stop at other places before arriving in New York. Take Lufthansa non-stop and you can save time. This happens to be a popular example these days. Therefore, while some flights are non-stop, others are not. These have to connect with another flight in order to continue the journey. Yet, all of those flights are sure to reach J. F. Kennedy Airport someday.  

Similarly, the process of evolution is certain: We will find our reality; we will know our identity with God. That is the finale. That is the ultimate state, which we call the Narayana state. It is that state where you are God. As Christ said: “I and My Father in heaven are one.” The Narayana state is the final state in the process of evolution.

“Am I really human?” 

But, there is a preliminary step before that final state. Before trying to become Narayana, let us become Nara or human first. Are we human? Certainly not. We appear to be human but we are inhuman in our behaviour. That is the reason why Bhagavan has said many times, “Repeat this manthra: ‘I am man, I am not animal.  I am man, I am not animal’.” 

If you just say, “I am man”, it is only half the truth. “I am not animal” is the other half -- if not the better half. So say, “I am man, I am not animal.” This is a statement that will help us realize that we are not yet human.

How do we reach the state of Narayana, when we are not even Nara, human, yet? Let us try to be human. That is the penultimate state in the course of the evolutionary process. The question now is: “Why am I not human?” You may ask me where is the evidence that I am not human. Perhaps your spiritual discipline will keep you silent but you may still have the question in your mind “What is this man talking about?  When I am absolutely human, why does he say I am inhuman? ” 

Please look into the pages of history. Almost 300 barbarous, heinous crimes of war have been committed in recent times. There are certain places that continue to be immersed in problems. Decades and decades have passed by and yet they are still in ‘hot water’ -- no peace at all. Bombs have killed hundreds and hundreds of people. Humanity has not forgotten Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How do we account for World War I and World War II? How do we account for the terror going on everywhere? How do we explain the attacks at the national or at the international level? How do we reconcile it? 

This agitation, this violence and these attacks are not the features of Nara or a human being. Dogs fight, animals fight and wild animals fight. It is an animal quality to fight like that. I am Nara for all photographic purposes, but within I am a Vanara, the monkey. (Laughter) Vanara is a monkey. Nara is a human. Narayana is Divine. 

What I want to communicate to you is that there are three steps in the process of evolution. The animal has to improve itself. The animal has to grow and evolve into a human and a human should reach a state of perfection by identifying with the Divine, Narayana, Himself. These are the three steps in the process of evolution, no matter which country you belong to.

The Fifteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad Githa

The fifteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Githa speaks of three words that are very interesting but are also very confusing. Those who read this chapter without any background by Bhagavan Baba will be deluded if they think they have understood it. I believe that we can understand our scriptures much better if we go through Sai literature first. If you read Sai literature first, you will be able to understand our scriptures completely and perfectly.  If not, you may become a scholar but not a wise man. 

A wise man is different from a scholar. A scholar is vocal or verbal, and is repetitive in his approach, whereas a wise man believes in his experience. So let us try to be wise men -- like the three wise men that met Jesus Christ immediately after his birth. Three wise men from three different places came to see Jesus Christ. They could identify His holy birth because they were wise. If they were not wise, they would have been otherwise, spending time in reading scriptures! (Laughter) All scholars are otherwise, but here there were three wise men, guided by a star to the town of Bethlehem to see the newborn babe. We have to be more experience-oriented than scholarly. 

What are the three special words in this chapter? One is kshara. Another is akshara. The third one is purushothama. To be very, very honest with you, I am teaching the Bhagavad Githa to some post-graduate students at our Institute. For that purpose, I have with me all the versions and commentaries on the Bhagavad Githa.  My house is filled more with Bhagavad Githa books than with botany books, which happens to be my main profession. (Laughter) 

I am fully aware that I am talking to post-graduate students. They have to be convinced about a subject, so they don’t just sit silently or begin to snore. I don’t want them to develop any type of allergy towards this material later. I want to present it in such a way that they are encouraged to read about the subject themselves. That is why I have on hand so many books and cassettes about the Bhagavad Githa.

However, having all of these versions made me totally confused.  (Laughter)  Sai literature came to my rescue. It was a lifeboat that helped me to understand the Githa much better. If you ask those who are familiar with the Githa for an explanation of these three highly confusing words -- kshara, akshara and purushothama -- they will evade you by saying, “We will talk later.”  (Laughter)

The ‘ABCD’ of Teaching

Someone told me that there is an ‘ABCD’ of teaching. To be successful, every teacher must remember these four – the ‘ABCD’s. ‘A’ stands for ‘avoid’. If a student asks you any questions, you should say, “Meet me later, son.”  (Laughter) ‘B’ is for ‘by-pass’.  If the student asks one question, the teacher will say, “How about this? How about that?” in such a way that the student will forget his original question. (Laughter) ‘C’ stands for ‘confuse’. If you confuse them, then the students will feel it is better not to ask any further questions or any questions at all! (Laughter) And ‘D’ means ‘divide’. You do this by saying such things as: “Last year’s students didn’t ask such a question.”  Or, “Year-before-last, they didn’t have such silly questions.” So the ‘art of teaching’ has come down to the level of these ‘ABCD’s -- avoid, by-pass, confuse, and divide!  (Laughter)

‘Kshara’

If you ask scholars what are the meanings of kshara, akshara and purushothama, they will be forced to use the ABCD of teaching, that’s all. But our great, good, wonderful Bhagavan, the Teacher of teachers, made the subject so simple that I could easily understand. Bhagavan defines ‘kshara’ as the physical or conscious level, meaning that which is perishable, such as the physical body. 

How do I relate to this? I am conscious of my personality. For how long? Until I am no more. I am conscious of my background. For how long? Until I come across a better person. I am conscious of my handsomeness. For how long? Until people say that I am not handsome. (Laughter)

So this is what I was in the past. What I am now or today, I am not going to be tomorrow. With age, we change -- the body does not remain the same. Anywhere, in any country, everyone must pass through this change. If there is no change then there is something wrong with that person. There is bound to be change. So that which is born and grows, that which changes and decays, that which is full of senses and operates at the level of the senses, such as the body, is called kshara or conscious.

Yesterday Bhagavan was giving an example to a group of industrialists. An eighteen-year-old boy was crying in front of the dead body of his mother, aged thirty.  Somebody came and said, “Boy, why are you crying?” 

The boy said, “I lost my mother.” 

A wise man came and said, “What happened?” 

“I lost my mother.” 

“Are you mad? Your mother is here. You have not lost her. She is here. Come on, take her inside.” 

Then that boy came to his senses. “I am sorry, sir. The body of my mother is here, but her life is gone.” 

So what was it that he lost? It was the life that was lost but not the body.  Therefore, it is necessary to know that the body and the senses function because of the life force or the spirit and because of awareness or chaitanya, as we call it in Sanskrit.

‘Akshara’

‘Akshara’ is conscience. While kshara is perishable, akshara is imperishable until it goes to the next state. Why? Let us be very clear. We have taken many, many lives.  (Anil Kumar sings a Sanskrit phrase:)  

Punarapi Jananam,

Punarapi Maranam,

Punarapi Jananee Jathare Sayanam. 

We are born again and again. We keep taking the steps of birth and death, birth and death. 

Taking birth repeatedly is the state of akshara. The body is gone, but the soul continues to be born again and again. Bodies come and go. For example, in the morning, I change my clothes and put on something new. In the evening, I put on something different yet again, but I continue to live. Similarly, bodies change. However, it is the soul that is changing its dress, which is nothing but the body. I think you understand. 

This state, this cycle of birth and death, will end someday or other. Why are you born? You are born so that you will not have to be born again. Why do you die? You die so that you will not have to die again. The end of the cycle of lives, which enables us not to be born again, is called liberation or nirvana or moksha. That is the purushothama state or consciousness. So, ‘purushothama’ is consciousness, while  akshara’ is conscience and ‘kshara’ is conscious. These are the three levels of understanding and experience. Also these are the three steps of evolution and the three rungs in the ladder. 

So, if you feel that you are the body at the physical level, ‘the one you think you are’, then you identify with the first state -- the kshara. In the second state, everyone considers you as an individual like anybody else. You are an individual among many. So, this state where you feel that you are ‘the one that the others think you are’ is the second state — the akshara. Finally, ‘the one you really are’, the Divine, is the purushothama, the third state. 

So the three steps are: ‘the one you think you are’ -- kshara or conscious, ‘the one others think you are’ -- akshara or conscience and ‘the one you really are’ -- purushothama or consciousness. What a wonderful explanation Bhagavan has mercifully given us.

Without this, if you read the fifteenth chapter, I tell you, you will never feel like opening the book at all again. (Laughter) It is so confusing and disturbing. You may feel, “‘Okay, I can watch TV or read the newspaper -- that will not confuse me. After all, I have to be born again and again, so why bother about whether I know it or not?” (Laughter) Therefore, you may be vexed and disgusted without this background information. 

Bhagavan Baba has thoroughly and wonderfully explained the scriptures. We have to learn them. We should find some time to learn and equip ourselves with sufficient knowledge for transformation. But instead we are busy with our mundane responsibilities: “Bhagavan, if You talk to me, please tell me when it will be possible to get my daughter married.”  “If I get a chance to talk to You, I would like to know when my son is going to get a visa to go abroad. Your Githa — please keep it to yourself.”  (Laughter)

We are so engrossed and busy with our mundane responsibilities that we do not want to get that for which He has come. He has come to give and distribute freely that precious gold, but we are satisfied with the tinsel and trash, leaving behind the precious gold. That is the tragedy. 

Now coming back to the point -- kshara, akshara and purushothama. This kshara state, ‘the one you think you are’, the physical level of awareness, is common to the entire organic world. Every animal knows this state. That is why when a dog from the neighbouring street enters this street, both dogs fight. That is the kshara level or body consciousness. When we fight -- or have water disputes, border disputes, atomic bomb disputes, and so on -- we are at the kshara level. If we are honest, we will confess it; but we have nice suits, dresses and good degrees that do not allow us to accept this truth.

The second state is, ‘I am not the body’. There is life in me. This life is permanent. Life is there the whole time that the body is changing. As Bhagavan says quite often, “You are a boy today, later a man, and after a couple of years, a father and lastly, a grandfather. All these are different states in different periods of time for the same individual.” The individual who passes through these different stages is ‘the one the others think you are’ -- akshara or conscience.

Akshara is limited and is within the framework of an individual. Now what is to be done? Bhagavan has given a beautiful example: When the tire bursts, or once the balloon bursts, the air in the balloon or the tire merges into the air around. Is that clear?  When a river merges in the ocean, it becomes a part of the ocean and is no longer a river. If it is a river, you may call it any name. Say, Mississippi, why not? The point is that rivers have their own names, their own places and geographical distribution.  However, once the river merges, no matter whether it is in the Bay of Bengal or the Pacific or the Atlantic, the river loses its identity; the river loses its name. It is one with the ocean. 

If I go to the ocean and say, “Oh Ocean, where is the Mississippi?” it will say, “Shut up. (Laughter) There is no Mississippi any longer. You missed it! Now it is with me and it is in me. The Mississippi and I are one and the same now.” Similarly, ‘the one you think you are’ or the conscience takes life-after-life repeatedly with the understanding that it is not the individual soul or spirit, but it is a part of that eternity, that ocean of infinite Divinity. 

‘Purushothama’

When one cuts off the chain of birth and death and that individual finds identity with the Infinite, that is called ‘purushothama’ or consciousness. Baba has given another example, for which we are eternally grateful to Him. Were it not for You, Bhagavan, we would never have been able to understand the Vedantic truths that we must know some day or other -- if not this life, then the next. 

You cannot be away from it. Just as death is certain, realization is also certain. It is just a question of the number of lives, that 's all. You may eat at 10 o’clock, 12 o’clock, or 2 o’clock. It is left to your convenience. But you must eat to survive. Similarly, realization will happen sometime or the other.

Therefore Bhagavan gave this example, my friends, for your information: Because of the heat from the sun, the water in the ocean is transformed into vapour. Vapour accrues as clouds and the clouds come down in the form of rain. This rainwater flows continuously in the form of lakes or rivers, and they all merge finally into the ocean.

It was an ocean in the beginning, became a vapour next and later a cloud; then it became rain, then a river and an ocean again. That’s all. So similarly, we are from this ocean called ‘purushothama’ -- the eternal, nectarine, unblemished, and unsullied consciousness. Out of this ocean came the individuality, the duality, the identity and the separateness of clouds that rain down to create rivers with names and forms. That is called ‘akshara’, the conscience. It finds its fulfillment when the river merges into the mighty ocean -- when the conscience merges into purushothama, consciousness. 

            So what separates me from my God is my own name and form. What distances me from my consciousness is my own separateness or individuality. This fifteenth chapter gives the answer to the question, “Whose mistake is this?” It is my mistake. It is not anybody else’s mistake. To feel that I am the body is my mistake. Nobody told you that you are the body. Did anybody tell you? No. I feel that I am the body. Therefore, I fight, I argue and I differ. I feel that I am the body. It is my mistake to think so. Later because of the ego factor, I feel that I am a separate individual. I also feel that I am someone special, extraordinary and better than anyone else. That is also my mistake.  Whose mistake is this? It is my mistake. Someday I must realise that I am not separate from anybody. 

As Bhagavan was saying to those officers yesterday, “Yekoham Bahusyam.  One is manifested into many. Sarvatah Panipadam Sarvathokshi Siromukham. God is present everywhere.” His hands, His feet are spread everywhere, which means everyone is Divine. All hands are His; all heads are His; all ears are His; all eyes are His. That is consciousness, the final state of purushothama.

Well, you may wonder, “How do you say the hands are His when they are mine?” No, no, no. When I say that I have ten hands in my office, it does not literally mean that I have all the ten hands attached to this body. ‘Hand’ stands for the man behind it. This is a figure of speech in English literature, what we call synecdoche. Therefore, in that synecdoche, or figure of speech in English literature, a part represents the whole. So, all are Divine. Everyone is as much Divine as I am. This is what is called the consciousness, which is the finale.

These states have also been referred to using many different names because Vedanta has so much nomenclature — words, words. Why? It is not to confuse you. It is out of compassion. It expects that out of so many words, at least one word will convey the real essence and that at least one expression will reach you; or that at least one word, used precisely at the right moment, will convince you. That is the reason why we find so many words used for the same thing. 

We can call the conscious aspect ‘sthoola’, which means the gross body. Then you have the conscience, the one others think you are, which is called sookshma, the subtle body. And the third, purushothama or consciousness, the one you really are, is called karana, the causal body.

So the gross body, the subtle body and the causal body — the sthoola, sookshma and karana – are, in other words, the conscious, conscience and consciousness. In terms of the Githa, they are referred to as kshara, akshara and purushothama.  Then Bhagavan puts it as, “the one you think you are, the one others think you are, and the one you really are”, meaning the body, the life and Atma or the Divine. Do you understand? 

The point is that there is something common between the first two — the conscious and conscience. Why? These two function because of illusion or maya.  Illusion or maya is common to sthoola and sookshma, or conscious and conscience, or kshara and akshara. Delusion is common to both.

You may ask me why and how? It is simple. I think I am the body. Why do I think so? Because of Illusion. I think I am extraordinary. I think I am very special. I think I am superior to you all. That is again an illusion. So these two states take you to delusion.  Thus, delusion is common to these two states.

But the third state of consciousness, the supreme state of consciousness — realization — is beyond illusion. It is non-dual and cannot be captured or victimized. It cannot be captive to this delusion or illusion because it is beyond reach. It cannot be deluded. That is what Bhagavan has said. 

Then the purushothama aspect is dealt with very well in the 17th sloka of the 15th chapter. The 17th stanza, the 17th canto, the 17th verse of the 15th chapter explain clearly what this purushothama or consciousness is all about. 

Questions

As we have limited time, let me answer the questions that I have received so that those who have asked them will not be disappointed. We will continue with the rest of chapter 15 next time.

I will read the question and give the answer to the best of my ability. 

What decides one’s gender is this birth?”

            What is the primordial factor that decides one’s gender in this birth? Why are you a man? How can you afford to be a woman? (Laughter) So the question here is what decides the gender in each life. Is it because of our past lives? 

The answer is simple, my friends. I quote from Sai literature. The real Self, the reality, is neither a man nor a woman. The man or the woman — the difference in the identity lies in the body, not in the spirit. 

If someone knocks at the door and you ask, “Who are you?” they will answer, “I am so-and-so.” No one would say, “I, the man, am talking to you” or “I, the woman, am here”. Nobody would say that. ‘I’ is common to both men and women. 

The second point is that Bhagavan has said, “All are women.” Hari Om Tat Sat. (Laughter) My friends, do not mistake me. Try to settle any scores later. (Laughter) All are women. So you don’t need to feel inferior. We have no reason to feel superior. Why? The spirit in you is purusha or man. The Atma is masculine, purusha, while the body is prakrithi or nature, which is feminine. But the masculinity is of the spirit and not of the body. 

Thirdly, He gave an example: If you go to the women’s college at Anantapur on the annual college day, when they are staging a drama, you’ll find a girl in the role of a king. You’ll find another girl in the role of a soldier and another girl in the role of a servant. Because of their costumes, they appear to be men; but in reality, they are women. Similarly, all are women. Some may look like men (Laughter), but basically all are feminine. I mean the body principle is feminine, prakrithi, meaning it is inert matter.  This is feminine, while the life principle is masculine.

I am very grateful to have these questions because it helps me to go back in my memory to what Bhagavan has said over the years. Here is another example. You must have heard of a great lady named Meera, who was a great devotee. Meera wanted to meet the King. She came into the palace. 

            A soldier said, “Sorry, you cannot go in.” 

She asked, “Why?” 

            The man said, “Women are not permitted to go in. Women are prohibited from going into the palace.” 

Then Meera said, “Where are the men here? I don’t see any men here.” 

The soldier was surprised and must have been thinking, “Is something wrong with me or with her?” (Laughter) 

This is the truth. The body is feminine, inert matter, only. But the life force is masculine. So all of us are a combination of both. When you ask, “What decides the gender?”  I say, “Why worry about it?” Whether the sugar candy is in the shape of a rat or an elephant, the child eats it, right? Similarly, a chocolate may be circular or rectangular or hexagonal; but after all, a chocolate is a chocolate. Biscuits may be quadrangular or circular. Whatever it may be, a biscuit is a biscuit.

So similarly, life is life, whether you are a man or woman. It is only external. So let’s not question what it is that decides our gender. There is nothing wrong. Men and women suffer equally. (Laughter). Oh, that’s right -- we blame each other! 

How do we treat these invaders with love?

The next question is this: We have many cockroaches moving around our house at night, creating not only a health hazard, but also scaring us out of our wits at times. Can you please advise us how to treat these creatures? How do we treat these invaders with love? (Laughter) 

Perhaps cockroaches have become an international problem. (Laughter) Well, I have had that same problem and have become friendly with them because I cannot get away from them anyway. To some, a mosquito is a problem, but to me the mosquito is not the problem. It is the humming music of mosquitoes that I have to get used to -- that keeps me from sleeping. (Laughter)

My friends, whether it is mosquitoes, scorpions, snakes or cockroaches, the point is this: If you kill anything for joy, thrill, excitement or as a pastime, then it is a sin.  However, if you kill it to make yourself free from suffering, then it is not a sin. If you kill it for the fun of it – say, like hunting for excitement -- then it is not acceptable. Hunting used to be a pastime for kings. Now that kind of thing is a crime. But if a tiger is going to attack you, you can shoot it. How can I treat it lovingly, and allow myself to be eaten by it? (Laughter) 

There is a subtle difference between the two. If I am not killing anything for the joy or pleasure, if I am doing it in order to save myself, then it is not a crime. That is also treating things with love. 

“Self-Realization, Why?”

The next question is: Why do we have to go through this or any life to get Self-realization? Why didn’t we arrive already Self-realized? Have you found anyone who is? Also, once you have blessed something, or asked for something, or chanted a manthra, why do we have to do it over and over again? 

Very good! This is a question to be asked in this computer age. As I told you last time, I am not making fun of these questions. I am not underestimating the calibre and the spirit of the person who has asked this question. I have the highest respect and reverence towards them and thank them from the bottom of my heart because they help me to go through Sai literature time and again.

Now the question is this: “Why do we have to go through this or any life to get Self-realization? Why?” The answer is simple. We find many people sitting in front of the TV, watching serials these days. I don’t know about television serials abroad, but here in South India particularly, some of the serials go on for 500 episodes or more!

There is even a joke about it. It seems that an old man wrote a letter to the television director saying, “I may die any moment. Let me know how the story ends so that I may die peacefully. (Laughter). Since I do not know how long it will continue, I may have to be born again! Why all this? Tell me the ending of the story!”

  And secondly, something that is common to all the television serials in South India in particular is that most of them make you cry. None of the serials make you laugh.

There’s also a joke about that. It seems a young girl went to the TV director and asked, “Sir, why don’t you give me a role? I want to act in your serial.” 

The director said, ”Yes.” 

He asked for a plastic bucket to be brought and put in front of her. 

The director said, “Come on -- fill this bucket with your tears and after that I will give you a role.”  (Laughter) 

So, one has to learn the art of crying, you know? We sit in front of the television and we also cry. A few days ago, I got a phone call from my friend in Hyderabad. He said that his wife and mother-in-law don’t go to bed unless they have cried bitterly until 10 o’clock at night, and only then do they retire. (Laughter) The crying starts at seven PM and goes on until 10 o’clock! They are busy until seven, or else they would have started at five o’clock! 

Why do we cry? We pay money and cry. (Laughter) Why do those actors cry?  They receive money and cry. So, we have got two categories of people who cry -- those who pay to cry and others who get paid to cry. 

My friends, we cry. Why? Because we think that the hero in the television serial is real. Or we think that we are in a difficult position, so we cry. Suddenly the husband comes home from the office. He says, “I am tired from working and you are crying here at home! Let me have a break.” Then the wife will come to her senses. 

So my friends, when I consider a television serial to be true, when I consider the cinema to be a reality, it is because I am identifying with it and so I cry. However, once I am aware that it is just a cinema or that it is just a television serial, I am not disturbed. I am not perturbed. 

Similarly, in life we pass through bumps and jumps, ups and downs, smiles and tears, elation, jubilation and frustration. It’s like a pendulum that moves in between two extremes. When you are praised, you are up in the sky. But when you are pointed at, you are down, totally down. This is because of a lack of realisation.

Realisation will help you to achieve equanimity and balance. Realisation will help you to not feel proud of all the simple achievements or simple talents that you have.  Realization will never allow you to be depressed or frustrated or create a situation where you need to consult a psychiatrist!

Therefore, Self-realisation is necessary for your own sake. In your own interest, you should seek Self-realisation. Bhagavan has given a simple example. It so happened that a small cub lost its way and started living among some sheep. Suddenly one day a tiger was ready to attack the sheep. 

When the sheep started running, the little cub also started running. “Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!”

The tiger said, “Stop that! Don’t cry.”

The cub said, “We are sheep. I am a member of the herd. Don’t kill me.”

“No, no, no, you are not a sheep. You and I are one. Let us go to the river and check out the stripes on our bodies. You roar and I roar. Our language is common. The body is common. Why do you think that you are a sheep?” 

Then the cub understood that it no longer belonged with the sheep. Similarly, we think that we are sheep. We think that we are so cheap. We think that we are so simple.  We think that we are nobody, no, no, no. Shrinvantu Vishve Amrithasya Puthraha.  “You are the Son of Immortality.” “You are Divine.” When Bhagavan addresses you as ‘Divyatmaswarupulara’, that means you are embodiments of Divyatma. You are embodiments of the Divine. Why do you think that you are a pauper? Why do you think that you are so simple? Certainly not! 

It’s like the man who kept asking for loans. Then someone said, “There is one lakh rupees to your credit. Why are you seeking more loans?”  

He said, “Oh, I see. I forgot. That was long time back.” 

He immediately went to the bank, utilised the money and no longer needed to ask for loans. Similarly, when you have Self-realisation, you are beyond the duality of good and bad, profit and loss, victory and defeat. You are in equanimity and are perfectly balanced.  It is for that reason that you need to realise the Self. 

Repeating Manthras

The second question by the same Sai devotee: “Why do we need to say a manthra repeatedly?” 

I remember a joke. A patient came to the doctor and asked, “Doctor, I have consumed three bottles of syrup so far over a period of three months. How long should I continue to take this?”  The doctor said, “Until you die.”  (Laughter) 

Similarly, how long should you repeat the manthra? Until you forget the feeling that you are repeating the manthra:’Sai Ram, Sai Ram, Sai Ram’. How many times should I repeat it?”  “Oh, say a hundred times or more.”

  That’s all nonsense. You should go on repeating Bhagavan’s Name until you have forgotten the number of times that you have repeated it. Bhagavan gave a beautiful example here. I tell you, no one can explain it like He does: A boy said, while going to bed, “Mother, please wake me up when I am hungry.” (Laughter) The mother said, “Useless fellow! You yourself will get up when you are hungry. I don’t have to wake you up.” 

Similarly, “How long should I say a manthra?” The answer is that we should repeat it until the purpose is realised or until the goal is achieved. “Then why do I have to repeat it so many times or for a stipulated number of times?” I may say ‘Sai Ram, Sai Ram, Sai Ram’. I may say this 108 times. But my mind may concentrate on the manthra only here and there for a brief period, while the rest of the time it may be engaged in thoughts about an airline reservation, a job, the mosquitoes, the canteen -- that’s it.  (Laughter) Hence, though I repeated the Name 108 times, the mind concentrated on it only thrice. So, how many times is that? Only three times! So the rest of 105 repetitions were a waste. It is only for calculation and income tax purposes, not for this. (Laughter)

 So my friends, we are asked to repeat things any number of times. How many times should I breathe? Until I find my name in the newspaper under the obituary column. (Laughter)  It’s quite simple. So we should keep on repeating the Name.

Grace and Blessings

And then one more question here: “What is the difference between ‘grace’ and ‘blessings’?” 

A very good question. We may pray, “Baba, bless me on my birthday” or   “Bhagavan, bless my business attempt” or “Bless us on our wedding anniversary day.”  Blessings you need and blessings you ask for, as and when you need them. You ask for blessings when you feel it is necessary, or as and when you feel you run short of them, something like running out of household provisions. Is that clear? So, blessings are what you seek and what you ask for on certain special occasions.

A blessing is what you need when you are not sure about something, whereas grace is infinite. Grace need not be solicited or asked for or sought after. Grace is abiding, without any demand. God’s grace is like sunlight, which is available to us everywhere and to everyone equally. Similarly, grace is continuous. Grace is eternal. Grace is not to be sought after or searched for as it is always there.

“Are grace and blessings temporary or do they evaporate after a period of time or after certain actions?”   

Here’s a simple example: When I don’t follow Swami’s teachings, well, I may not be the recipient of His blessings, but I have His grace. When a son does not follow the order or the advice of his father, the father will not bless him with pocket allowances, but he has the grace of his love.

A student who does not do the homework will not have my blessings. If he fails in the examination, he will not have my blessings. But he has the grace of the teacher; who continues to love him until he gets through the examination. So, grace is purposeless, meaning it is not goal or need-oriented; whereas, blessings can be withdrawn depending upon our actions.  

Here is another example. Out of courtesy, I will not disclose the name of the person I am referring to in this example. This happened about 15 years ago. He was a very big man -- both by virtue of his profession and by virtue of his physique – who occupied a seat meant for four people!

Well, he came here. I knew him very well. He is no more of course, but back then he had a very high post. I said, “Sir, very glad to see you. I hear that you are in a very high position. What brought you here?” 

He said, “I have come here for Bhagavan’s blessings to get married once again.”  (Laughter) 

             “Sir, how about madam?” I asked, referring to his wife, since he was already married.

He said, “ This will be an additional wife.” 

“Why an additional wife?” 

“My current wife is into spirituality too much. She is spending too much time here, so I need somebody to be in charge there.” (When the principal is on leave, the vice-principal will be in charge of the position!) 

Then I just said, “Sir, I thought you were a great man. I am sorry. I don’t find fault with you. I find fault with myself for having thought that you were a great man. You are no longer holding that place in my mind. Swami has said many times, “Wife is knife.”  Because of family, you are going to have entanglements and many responsibilities. Bhagavan wants you to rise above these chains of family life. Yet you want to get married for a second time, and you come for Baba’s blessings while the first wife is still alive!” 

I said, “Sir, you better catch the next bus, or take a taxi and leave because He may seek the help of Seva Dals to see you out!” (Laughter) There will be no blessings for such silly requests, I tell you. 

On the other hand, if you say, ”I am tired of my life and I have dedicated my life to service. I want to spend the rest of my life serving You, my Lord. Help me to grow in detachment and renunciation.” Then yes, you will have His blessings. 

If you say, “I want to get deeper and deeper into family life” -- there may not be any blessings. Nevertheless, His grace is still there, waiting for you so that one day or the other, you will work for your redemption. That is the answer. 

We have two more questions. I don’t think time permits me to answer these today, so I will go over them next week.

In all probability, next week we will discuss Jesus Christ and Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba because all over the West, the Christmas season has already begun. It is a matter of great celebration, wonder and thrill to see how the action of Jesus Christ is being replayed in the present times with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

May Bhagavan be with you forever and evermore.

Thank you for listening to me with rapt attention.

Thank you very much!

Anil Kumar closed his talk by chanting the bhajan,

“Jaya Sai Shankara, Jaya Abhayankara”.

Om Asato Maa Sad Gamaya

Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya

Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Thank you very much.

Sai Ram!