3 - Issue 6
"When and where was Bhagavadgita taught? On the battlefield, to solve a mental crisis. It is when such crises affect man that the Lord starts His mission of instructions. For those who have realised the goal there is no need; for those who have known neither the goal nor the path, have neither the thirst nor the yearning, it is of no use. The instructions will be useful only to those who are hesitant, affected by doubt with their minds unsteady and wavering, but who are conscious of the higher power and feebly desiring to make the contact. They are either ignorant of the technique or afraid of the consequences if they pursued; it is to such half-eager, half-apathetic devotees that I talk." -- Baba.
Life itself, for most of us, has assumed the nature of a battlefield and we are stressed out. The art of living is to handle stress without distress and we need to be resourceful to stay afloat and face the challenges with confidence. The most important resource of all is inherent in all of us, Self-confidence through Self-awareness. Without this knowledge we become mere victims of every adversity. By learning to surrender all our dreams and aspirations to His Divine Will, with absolute trust in His Wisdom, ("Your Will Lord, not mine") we may be able to free ourselves from disappointments and failures. Thus we become fully aware of our true nature - that each one of us is an expression of God's Will, mere instruments. Only then, with our ego and bondage reduced, will we be free from anxiety, fear, blame or grief! To acquire this level of unconcern is not possible without the guidance of a Guru, an enlightened Master, who will show us a realistic and practical way. We are blessed to have our beloved Sai as our Divine Guru. He communicates with us at many levels and gives us guidance through interviews, dreams and inner-views.
INTERVIEW is at the physical level and such opportunities are rare. Swami can inquire, discuss, teach and instruct on any matter, at Darshan as well as in the interview room, alone or with a group. His instructions may be direct or indirect, and directed towards a particular individual or the group as a whole. He may Himself bring up a subject for discussion and give His guidance in a simple and direct manner. However, on conflicting matters and differing viewpoints, Swami could, at times, appear ambiguous. He is Omniscient and therefore needs no information from us to be kept informed. And yet, He makes such inquiries to appear as if He is seeking our help to acquaint Himself with these matters! Swami fully knows the level of purity and innocence of each individual, especially the motive in seeking His answers.
Swami is a pure reflection of our own inner thoughts, a perfect witness. We have to be extremely careful and alert when speaking with Swami, especially when we try to interpret His remarks or observations. He knows our own hidden agenda only too well and generally does not interfere with our plans, because we will learn better and faster through our own mistakes and personal experiences. He may guide us on important matters and help us look beyond our limited thinking. However, on important matters He may intervene and give us an opportunity to revise our plans. Swami will never put us into any situation, which is beyond our ability to handle. At the spiritual level there is no hierarchy, because Swami's relationship is direct.
Swami can grant interviews through dreams too. Interpreting what Swami says in His physical presence, at times, is hard enough. These dream interviews can be even more difficult to understand, although it is reassuring to know that Swami does not appear to anybody in dreams without His will. Dialogue with Swami in dreams must be considered as interviews too. We must understand the context of such an interview and use our powers of discrimination to ascertain if the guidance was strictly for the individual alone. Opportunities to converse with Swami are not easy to come by, let alone dreams. His reasons for granting us interviews are entirely His. We cannot rationalise or categorise them. It is generally accepted that Swami intercedes whenever a sincere devotee is desperate. Often He solves the problems of devotees by His mighty Will (Omniscience and Omni-will), without any external contact.
INNER-VIEW is to have contact with Swami through our inner windows, the mind-intellect-intuition, for guidance. It is the inner vision that is important and that alone is true and sacred. We loose sight of the One Reality, of our own Truth, because we pay attention only to the impermanent outer vision and forget completely the permanent inner vision. God's Mission is to restore this sacred inner vision. Through spiritual practice (Sadhana) we can develop the proper spirit of inquiry ( Vicharana), discrimination ( Viveka) and detachment or freedom from bondage ( Vairagya), the three - V's for victory.
Swami says, "Seven-tenths of Sadhana is Vicharana". Well, one may conclude that most of our spiritual activities - Bhajan, study-circle, Seva etc. - may just be preparation for Sadhana, to soften our hearts for spiritual transformation, just as bending an iron rod is made easier after softening it in the fire. There is no other plane in which we can transform ourselves than in the earthly plane. Hence, our entire life, with all its varied activities, must be spiritualised and experienced with our awareness of Swami’s presence. The greatest breakthrough occurs when we undertake all activities as worship and offer them to Him.
We begin to realise and experience God speaking to us in so many ways - books, discourses, incidents etc. - God speaks through all of them. We begin to look or listen properly without merely seeing or hearing superficially things that are only pleasing to us. We begin to accept the uncertain ways of God and take everything as lessons or tests while applying the three - V's in our Inner-view. The three - V' s become part of our continuous meditation. We recognise that our own Ego and Desires, acting like shutters, are preventing us from having our Inner-view with the divine. Unlike the Interviews or dreams, Inner-view gives access to Him all the time. It may be said, one is "living with God"when one can constantly communicate with the Sai within, the Real One!
[Dr. Sara Pavan is an Anaesthesiologist from Australia, residing in Prashanti Nilayam since 1993 and serving at the Super Speciality Hospital.]
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