Volume 5 - Issue 04 APRIL 2007
The Uniqueness of Human Birth
H (Hislop) : May I ask a spiritual question?
SAI: Go ahead.
H: Is there something that is unique about having a physical body?
SAI: The human form is unique in that the divine force is as much as 80 per cent present. In the animal only about 15 per cent. Man can raise himself to union with God, whereas the animal can never be free of its natural state. For example, a cat can be fed some nice things, but if it sees a mouse, even while eating the food, it leaves the food and goes for the mouse. A tiger can be trained, but food made from grains does not satisfy it. The tiger's impulse to kill and eat remains.
H: But Swami, what is so unusual about it? Why should anyone wish to have a physical body?
SAI: Hislop is in Mexico or America or Puttaparthi. Without a body how would he know where he was? A stone falls. The force of gravity is unseen but is revealed by the falling stone. The body of man is necessary because it is able to reveal the unseen God. The sun, moon and stars are in space, and they move and revolve according to order and discipline. If that discipline wavered for a moment all would collapse. What maintains that discipline? It is the unseen divine force.
H: What is unique and special about having a human body?
SAI: Swami already explained that the body serves to reveal the indwelling divinity.
H: Yes, Swamiji. But I mean from the standpoint of the individuals what is the value to the individual of having a body? He lives and dies, why should he care? Science says there are many planets where there will be much the same life.
SAI: In all the universe there is no other planet that has human life, or a similar life-form.
H: In that case, Swami, there has to be something very special and unique about life in a physical body?
SAI: There is life throughout the universe. To God, the universe is one. Rebirth can never be in other regions of the universe. Always the rebirth is on Earth.
H: Swami, what does that mean to the individual?
SAI: The expression of life on Earth is upward through the human to the Divine. By virtue of human birth, the next step is the full realization of the Divine. Human life is sacred and must be appreciated as having the highest value.
H: Considering the individual, Swamiji, can it be that Swami is saying that human birth is some sort of a special opportunity to get free from birth and death?
SAI: Quite right. That is the case.
H: Swamiji! Then, that is it? That is the secret! That is unique feature of being born into a body!
SAI: Yes, that is the unique feature.
H: Swami, are there other regions throughout the universe where there may also be an escape from birth and death.
SAI: Only on Earth may this take place. In no other planet or region throughout the indescribable vastness of the universe does this opportunity exist. It is unique and is limited to this earth.
H: Swami! Wonderful! Wonderful! How sacred is this Earth! How infinitely precious is human birth!
SAI: That is so. But people have no appreciation or understanding of it. They do not know.
H: Swami, may this great life-secret be told to the devotees? At Sathya Sai Baba centres, they should know that even five minutes time wasted is a tragic loss in the face of the magnificence of this human opportunity.
SAI: Yes, you may tell. The question that you have raised is of the greatest importance, and the answer may be told.
H: Swami, the answer is divine! It is so wonderful that adequate appreciation cannot be put into words. Swamiji said that there was no rebirth from Earth to other regions of the universe. How about the reverse? Can there be a movement from the regions or universe to Earth?
SAI: All life may aspire to human birth. But only through the human birth may God be realized. To waste time is the greatest folly. Now and here is the individual. Now and here is the opportunity to realize the absolute goal of life. Who can be sure of the conditions and status of his next birth? Not even one moment of this life should be wasted.
The Sadhana of Adjusting to Life
A Visitor: Swami, I have a question. What is the best sadhana for a young person with business, family attachments and bondage. (After Swami had jokingly referred to the visitor's 8 month-old daughter as attachment bondage - Samsara)?
SAI: It is not correct to look at these things as bondage or attachment. They must be seen as "adjustment sadhana." To keep your life balanced and to give direction they are good things. The changes you must make in your life, your daily routine – these adjustments are sadhana, not bondage.
The purpose of all sadhana is to see the good, the Divine in everything and to be able to overlook the bad, the evil. From the viewpoint of Divinity, there is no good or bad - all is Divine. But the mind sees this as good and that as bad, this as right and that as wrong. It is the mind that must be trained to see the Divine in everyone and in each difficulty.
A small example: A dead dog is on the road, crows are pecking at it. People walk by and say, "Oh, what a terrible sight and horrible smell !" But Jesus was walking by and He said, "What beautiful teeth the dog has, so white and shiny. Nobody was brushing or taking care, but still the dog kept such beautiful teeth." Jesus was showing that one can see the best qualities in even the worst situations. People who are saintly look always to the good and do not become entangled in the bad.
Another example: A knife is used by a surgeon and a knife is also used by a villain. The surgeon's cutting of a person is for his good, but the villain uses the knife for an evil purpose. A butcher may use knife to cut meat and a lady may use a knife to cut fruit for a salad. If all the knives are put in a circle with a magnet at the centre, all the knives will be equally attracted by the magnet. The good or bad is not in the knives. God is the magnet and all men are attracted to God. Good and bad are not in a human being, but in the way the mind is used.
Do not fill the mind with thoughts of the evil actions that may be perceived in the world. The purpose of all types of sadhana is to train the mind to see the Divine in everything - that is true adjustment sadhana. You can carry this out in everything you do.
Guidance for Young People
H: Devotees in New York would like to have a guideline for personal life, similar to the administrative Guidelines for Centers.
SAI: The principal thing is that the life and the work should be dedicated to God.
H: Swami, they would like a series of do's and don'ts to guide them through the day.
SAI: There are so many different vocations and professions that each has its appropriate code of behaviour. One vital principle for everyone is to do no harm to others. We should do everything in our power to help others.
H: A big problem that faces these young people is that of drugs. It is the general belief that marijuana is not harmful.
SAI: At first, a drug may make the person feel strong and confident. But all drugs are unnatural in their effect on the mind, and they do positive harm to the brain and to the spiritual capacity. The spiritual aspirant, the devotee of God should not use of drugs.
H: Most young people, not only in New York, have the desire to, or feel pressure to engage in intensive social life. What is the correct attitude for Sai devotees?
SAI: Social Service, yes. Idle social life is not good.
H: Swami, the devotee arises in the morning, and then what for the day?
SAI: The awakening each morning should be a new birth. After awakening, be quiet for a few minutes. Pray to God for strength to live the day in dedication to Him, and for the strength to help others. At night time, there is a new death. Recollect the day - but not in detail, and offer it to the Almighty. In the morning, the day was dedicated to God. At night, the day's work and its fruit is laid as an offering at His Lotus Feet.
No Publicity for Sai Centres
H: Swami, new Centers, with maybe only three people, want to have some other people come to their meetings, but months pass and nobody comes. Could they do something like posting a notice of their meeting at places like health food stores?
SAI: No. Swami prefers that additional people come only through observing the virtuous lives of the Center members, and by word of mouth. Notices and such might start small, but in time they will get out-of-hand. Even such small things as notices will be taken as an advertising of Swami. Other Swamis have to advertise and even provide transport, but Sai does no advertising, yet thousands come. Sai even tells the people here to go home, but they stay. There is this difference.
H: Then the small Centers will need to just patiently wait for membership increases?
The Jewish Faith and The Sarva Dharma Symbol
H: Swami, some questions arise in the American Centers for which I do not have an answer. Many people of Jewish faith do not understand why the symbol of the Jewish faith is not included in the Sai symbol of all religions, since the Jewish people exceed in numbers some of the religions represented in the Sai symbol.
SAI: It is not through any intention that the Jewish symbol is excluded. In India, there is not a general awareness that the Jewish symbol is substantially different. Does the Cross fail to symbolize the Jewish faith to a substantial degree?
H: Yes, Swami. There is a substantial difference.
SAI: Then let the Jewish people make a proposal to us and we will give consideration to it.
H: Swami says that there is the duty of self-preservation. People wonder how far this goes. To save one's own life, should one kill the person who is attacking?
SAI: To preserve one's body is an important duty. One may take whatever means are necessary for self-preservation. About the other part of your question: to kill the person attacking - the answer is "yes," if that is the only way to preserve one's own life. But keep in mind that many alternate actions might be taken to avoid being killed. Only if every possibility is exhausted may one take the extreme measure of killing the attacker.
The Lokas of the Sun and Moon
H: Swami's discourse about people going to the Moon Loka (world of moon) and the Sun Loka (world of sun) created much confusion.
SAI: Sai has explained it before, and perhaps the people asking the question did not read. People may think there is a journey over a distance to the realm of Indra, the Moon, and the Sun. All such changes are within the person. If a person develops his life so that he has great physical force and strength, he is said to have centered his life in the Indra Loka. If he has developed his mind to such an extent that it is beyond the comprehension of an ordinary person, his life is said to be in the Moon Loka. And, if a man had developed intelligence to a maximum extent, his life is said to be in the Sun Loka.
Attaining Human Birth
H: Another question that arises has to do with Swami's statement that, by virtuous actions in the past, a human birth is gained. In this context there must have been virtuous animal actions, but how can this be when the animal acts by instinct?
SAI: A good action is good whether accomplished by instinct or reason. Is not the shelter provided by a tree good for both animal and man? When a cow denies milk to its calf because the milk is taken by the herdsman, the result is beneficial for the human persons who drink the milk, and the benefit enjoyed is no less because the cow did not think, but is only being itself. And the dog in the house, does he not guard and care for the master, and love him too? A human guard must be paid, but the dog gives love and loyalty without concept of payment. There are endless examples throughout nature of good and virtuous action being fully effective, even though, by instinct, the animal or plant is only being true to its own nature.
Human life is not being depleted even though millions die and, in addition, there is a constant transition from humanity to the Divine. Instead of depletion, the human population is growing, and this new supply comes from the rock, the insect, the animal. Even science testifies that the rock decomposes and becomes the tree; the vegetation is eaten and becomes the animal; and the animal in its various aspects is consumed and becomes the human. It is a constant process of passing from one grade to another. The human birth is the final birth and, dependent on the virtue of the life, it ends in the Divine, or is reborn again.
H: Is degrading possible? Is there a rebirth back to the animal?
SAI: The possibility is not denied, but it is only rarely that such a thing happens. The degrading of human life due to lack of virtue will normally result in rebirth as a lower grade human. The total process is always present. Table and wood are equally present. If attention is given to wood, table is not seen. If attention is given to table, wood is not seen. This cushion is not without thread, nor is the thread without cotton. How it is viewed is a matter of emphasis. Here I am now drawing three circles, the smaller within the larger. This middle one represents the Jiva (the individual "soul"); the smaller circle, the body; and the largest, the Atma (the ultimate Self).
The smaller circle is what you think you are, the next one what others think you are, and the third is what you really are: the Atma. The smaller circle may expand and expand until it merges with the larger, the Atma.
H: Swamiji, that is the present list of questions that have come up for which I did not have the answers.
SAI: It is good. It is important that the questions be asked. They are the questions that are presented to the many gurus, but Sai can give the correct answers.
(To be continued...)
– Heart2Heart Team
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Vol 5 Issue 04 - APRIL 2007
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