Volume 8 - Issue 03
March 2010
Other Articles

CONVERSATIONS WITH SAI


Satyopanishad - Part 25

Direct Directions from the Divine


Dear Reader,
In response to your positive feedback to this section where we have a conversation with the Divine, we continue with Prof. Anil Kumar’s ‘Satyopanishad’ following Dr. John Hislop’s series ‘Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’ that ended in January 2008.
This series is also in the question-answer format that many devotees prefer, and has answers from Bhagavan on topics as wide ranging as the origin of evil, the goals of human life, and aspects of God – embodied and formless, to price hikes, women’s liberation, vegetarianism, and the generation gap among people of the present times.
Published in two parts by the author, these volumes have 270 questions in all, which are neatly grouped under separate chapters. In this issue, we start chapter eight, “Human Values”.


CHAPTER VIII:

HUMAN VALUES

Prof. Anil Kumar: Swami! Very often, You refer to Human Values. Restoring these values is, indeed, a task this Avatar had set for itself. Kindly enlighten us on how we may cognise their importance.

Bhagavan: A man lacking human values has only the semblance of the outer form, and is not a man in action at all. The supremacy and the distinction of mankind depend on human values. Man's birth has a purpose: cherishing his humanity and rising to divinity. Sathya (Truth), Dharma (righteousness), Shanti (peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-Violence) - these five may be said to be the vital airs which together constitute the breath. Without the vital airs of prana, apana, vyana, udana, samana, can man exist?

Afraid that truth may land man in difficulty, he has moved further away from Truth. He is in such a sorry plight that he does not know what Righteousness is. Actually, man should never abandon these values, however troublesome the circumstances may be. Giving up these values which are so sacred is tantamount to committing suicide.

When Truth is given up, it amounts to losing one of the five vital airs. The dictum, satyam vada, dharmam chara (Speak the Truth, Act Righteously) is the foremost in the culture of Bharat, and crucial to spiritual advancement. What is the principal cause of today's turmoil? It is the total abandonment of Truth and Righteousness. That is why Love is fast vanishing. In the absence of Truth, Righteousness, Peace and Love, Non-violence is on the rampage.

In the home and the village, in the city and the state, even in the nation at large, we witness orgies of violence. Terrible, cruel, and heinous crimes are being committed. Human life has become empty. Even now, through faith in God, we can cultivate our human values. Like a parent grieving over a dimwitted child, Mother India is crying over the dearth of human values in her citizenry. Moral, religious, and spiritual values have sunk to the bottom.

The qualities expected of a human being are called 'human values'. In My opinion, if you develop Love all the other values will follow. Love is the chief quality. Love is God, God is love. Love is life. You have Love no doubt, but it is narrow. It is limited to you and your family, only I and mine. Love is not contraction as you have now. It is expansion.
Love is selflessness, self is lovelessness.

Note how different is King Dushyanta, who was educated in the city but lacked all values, is from his son, Bharata, who imbibed human values through education in an ashram. Education for livelihood is not worth the name. True education trains pupils to cognize the highest goals of life, and spurs them to realise human values.

Prof. Anil Kumar: Swami! Why do we need human values? What is their role in our lives?

Bhagavan: In this world every individual and material has a value. Each one has his/her or its own value. There is nothing in this world that has no value. Unfortunately, today it is only man who has lost his value. His life is spent as if his life has no value. Hence, man has become worse than an animal. Even the body of a bird or a small animal like a rabbit, even after it is killed, has a value; its flesh or meat is useful. But man, even if he were an emperor, has no value soon after he dies. So, there is every need to live with values. You should fill your lives with values make it valuable.

Prof. Anil Kumar: Swami! How can we acquire human values?

Bhagavan: It is not enough if you repeat like a parrot the five human values - Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love, and Non-Violence. It is not enough if you give lectures or read books on human values; they have to be practised.

Just as ice is cold and fire is hot, a human being also should have human values in a natural way. If you limit these values to mere lectures, they lose their value. An ounce of practice is better than a ton of precepts. Your looking at the map of India doesn't amount to your going round the country, does it? So also, by reading or lecturing on human values, you do not gain anything. If you sincerely practise any one of them, the rest will follow. A tree has the dharma (nature) of a tree. An animal similarly has an animal dharma. Then should not a human being follow human dharma?

The qualities expected of a human being are called 'human values'. In My opinion, if you develop Love all the other values will follow. Love is the chief quality. Love is God, God is love. Love is life. You have Love no doubt, but it is narrow. It is limited to you and your family, only I and mine. Love is not contraction as you have now. It is expansion. Love is selflessness, self is lovelessness. Be it a theist or an atheist, there is none in this world without love. You can win God's grace only by love. It is the bond of love that exists between you and God.

What had made Lord Rama be so pleased with that squirrel in the Ramayana?

What scholarship had the boatman Guha had that impressed Rama?

What status and riches did Sabari have to win the love of Rama?

What accomplishments did the Gopis of Brindavan had to become so close and intimate to Lord Krishna?

 

In all these instances, it was only pure love that made them enjoy proximity to God. Love excels physical strength, intelligence, wealth and authority. God looks for love in a devotee. Where there is Love, there is Truth.

For instance, if your son, after playing in the field returns home with his friend and asks you for a laddu (sweet), you may be tempted to say that there is no stock of sweets at home. But, if your son returns alone and asks for the same, you immediately get into the kitchen and bring the whole tin of sweets for him to eat as many as he likes.

See the difference! In the beginning, you denied a single sweet and later you placed the whole tin of sweets. Why? It is the love that you have for your son that made you speak the Truth.

A word spoken with Love is Truth. Any action that you do with Love is Righteousness. All the unjust and unrighteous deeds that are happening today are only due to the absence of Love. But an action done with Love is bound to be righteous.

When there is Love, you enjoy peace. It is said that the face is the index of the mind. We can know if one is peaceful, disturbed, or agitated by looking at one's face.

Truth is spoken, Right Conduct is done, while Peace is experienced. So, experience of Love is peace. You will not be affected by blame or criticism. Your peace will be of that order, above negativity and accusation when it is supported by love.

This is the understanding you will have in due course, with your heart full of love, and you will never hurt anybody in any manner. This is Non-violence - understanding with Love is non-violence.

So, there is nothing in this world that you cannot attain with Love. You will be an embodiment of all the human virtues and values once you develop this divine universal Love.

Prof. Anil Kumar: Swami! Now we understand that the defect of teaching lies somewhere in our schools, colleges and universities. Education is certainly not imparted in these institutions the way you are teaching. Where does the fault lie in our educational system?

Bhagavan: The knowledge you are acquiring from these educational institutions is not properly channelised and utilised. You have to nicely "skill" your knowledge.

Only then will there be perfect balance between "knowledge" and "skill" in our education system. Today, you do not "skill" the knowledge, but you "kill" it. So, the balance is lost. This is the main defect in modern education.

Man is more valuable than all the wealth in the world. Prices have gone up as man
has gone down in human values. The day human values go up,
the prices of commodities will come down.

Prof. Anil Kumar: Swami! To what extent are parents responsible for the degradation of values among children?

Bhagavan: My opinion is that parents are solely responsible for spoiling children. Many parents behave like Dhritarashtra, the blind king of the Mahabharata. He never opposed or prevented his sons, the Kauravas, from doing any type of mischief or misdeed.

What happened to the king at the end? He was left with none to perform even his last rites or obsequies, though he had as many as a hundred sons. He ruined himself completely. Why? It was only his attachment to his sons that brought about his fall. The whole clan fell into disrepute because of this attachment.

 

It appears as though modern parents do not know how to bring up their children. As the son watches T.V., the mother brings food from the kitchen, and serves it there. Keeping the plate in front of the T.V., the parents don't teach him good manners and behaviour. One with good manners is a man. The one with discipline is a devotee. The rest are only children.

Parents constantly think of career-oriented and highly promising education with prospects of going abroad. They want their children to settle in big positions, earn money, travel foreign countries, marry rich women and so on.

There is also another category of parents. When their children by chance go to a temple, they prevent them saying, "Are you going to the temple now? Why, at this age? You are very young. Should you be so religious at your age? You can be so after sixty.

Sometimes you also come across a father who asks his son to tell everyone who comes to see him that he (the father) is not home. What do you expect the son to learn from such a father?

In the modern age there are many children who are not fortunate enough to be brought up by the loving, sweet, and tender care of their mothers! Mothers are busy with their avocations, and spend their time in ladies clubs, in the market place, shopping, visiting friends, and so on, with the result that a child weeps only when the servant-maid dies and not when his/her own mother is lost. Why? Because children haven't known the love of a mother. This is the shameful situation today.

Who made emperor Sivaji great? Who made Gandhi a Mahatma? It is only their mother. It is entirely the responsibility of parents to mould their children into ideal citizens. If a girl is spoiled, the mother has to be blamed. If a boy is spoiled, the father must be held responsible. Parents should shape children in such a way as to win the appreciation of everyone. They should get a good name for their schools, society and country in general.

Prof. Anil Kumar: Swami! Price hike is a common experience everywhere. People find it difficult to make both ends meet because of spiraling prices. We are eager to know Swami's views on this issue of rising prices.

Bhagavan: First of all you should know that man is more valuable than all the wealth in the world. Prices have gone up as man has gone down in human values. The day human values go up, the prices of commodities will come down. In fact, properties like land, jewellery, money, and houses, and physical comforts and conveniences have value only because of man. Since man is utilizing them, they are valuable; if not, they are useless.

For example, there is vast land available in a forest. It is very cheap to buy and own land there. You can easily go in for a plot or a site, whereas in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, the cost of the land is so high that it is not within the reach of the common man. To get a plot of land there, even a small plot, costs a few lakhs. Why? Because many reside in the city; it is thickly populated. Every inch of land is fully utilised. But in a forest, hardly a few live and as such the value of land is low there.

Who is then responsible for the high cost of land? It is only man. If no one buys silver and gold, would you still call them valuable? No. It is man who makes the commodities, articles and properties either valuable or valueless. Since man has lost his own value, prices of various commodities have gone up. In order to bring down the prices, the value of man should be raised high by practising human values.

Prof. Anil Kumar: Swami! You know everything. It is very true that we as parents must be blamed. You have pointed out exactly where our mistakes lie. However, today we do not see children respecting their parents. They do not follow instructions; they are most ungrateful. Kindly tell us how children should conduct themselves in the presence of their parents and how they should treat them.

Bhagavan: You know the Vedic injunctions, matru devo bhava, pitru devo bhava, i.e., “Mother is God” and “Father is God”. One must follow these injunctions. The epics also cite many instances that emphasise these directions.

 

The culture of Bharat demands that everyone should respect, love and serve his or her parents, and be very grateful because one’s blood, head, duddu (Tamil word for 'money') and food are parents’ gifts. If you neglect your parents, you will face the same situation at the hands of your own children. As is the fruit you eat, so you belch.

If you eat cucumber, you don't belch the odour of a mango. If you sow a mango seed, do you expect a neem tree to grow from it? As is the seed, so is the tree. Everything comes back to you as reaction, reflection, and resound. This is as sure as anything. You can never escape the consequences. If you make your parents shed tears, your children will pass on to you the same fate.

Here is a small story. There lived a man by name Gopichand who had two sons. One day he was traveling in a train along with his wife. He wrote a letter to his sons asking them to meet him and his wife at the station.

Both the sons came to the station accordingly. The eldest one did namaskar (salutation) to both the parents and enquired when they started, how the journey was, and if they wanted anything. The second son, on the other hand, did not greet them at all.

His attitude to his father was rather arrogant. After some time, Gopichand said to his wife, "See! How our elder son greeted us and made enquiries, while the younger one did not!" His wife, then, said, “Don't find fault with the second one like that. After all, he is young. He will change as he grows older. Don't be angry with him.”

Perfect harmony in thought, word, and deed is character - manasyekam vacasyekam karmanyekam mahatmanam. Whatever you think, say it and do it. Your thought, word and deed must be one and the same. This is character.

Years passed. What happened finally? The eldest son who did prostration to his parents became a Judge in a court and was greeted honourably by everybody in society. The second son got the job of a peon in the same court and had to receive everyone and greet all and sundry with folded hands! This is the difference. Those who respect their parents will be respected by all. The one who don't will not be respected by anyone.

The same lesson is that taught in our epics. In the Mahabharata, at the end of the battle of Kurukshetra, all the Kauravas died, and Queen Gandhari, wife of the blind king, Dritarashtra started blaming Krishna. She said, "Oh Krishna! You are very partial to the Pandavas. Now that my sons have all died in battle are you happy?

 

Then Krishna said to her, "See, Gandhari! Did you ever see your sons with your own eyes? (Gandhari blindfolded herself to be like her husband who was born blind). Did they at any point of time pay heed to your words of counsel? How do you expect them to be blessed by God when their own mother never cast a glance at them?”

The same is the teaching of the Ramayana too. Kusa and Lava, the twin brothers, could fight Lord Sri Ramachandra with all their valour and might. Why and how? The reason is, Lava and Kusa enjoyed the blessings of their mother Sita, and as a result, they could heroically face Lord Sri Ramachandra, their father. That is the power inherent in the blessings of parents.

Everyone must serve parents. You need their blessings all the time. You have been with them since you were born and know what makes them happy. If you can't please them, how do you expect to please God who you have never seen, nor know what He wants you to do and what you ought to do? Parents are divine.

Prof. Anil Kumar: Swami! We know that we should cultivate good qualities right from our childhood. But, now, at this hour, how are we to cultivate them?

Bhagavan: First and foremost, you should fully realize the need to acquire good qualities and cultivate them sincerely. You should also know to what exalted heights of nobility they would take you. Then you should find out your own faults. The day you shed your bad qualities, you can fill your life with good virtues, just as you fill a tumbler with milk after emptying the water inside it. Otherwise, if the tumbler still retains water inside it, it is not possible to fill it with milk. So, always remember that the removal of immorality is immortality. First, begin the process by correcting yourself.

Prof. Anil Kumar: Swami! Many people emphasise the importance of character. But, they interpret character in many different ways. So, what exactly is character?

Bhagavan: Character is the most important thing. Life without character is like a pot full of holes. Water can never be retained in a pot with holes. So, the essential human quality will never be retained in the life of a person without character. This is what Prahlada too remarked. One day he saw a beautiful lady leaving his palace. He asked her, "Who are you?" She said. "I am your kingdom." He kept quiet.

'Heart' in Sanskrit is hrudaya. This is hru together with daya. 'Daya' is compassion. The one with daya is hrudaya. Where there is violence, there is no daya or compassion. You should not be violent in your words, thoughts or deeds. You should not harm people by your looks, words, thoughts and actions. You can watch your heart with full understanding of your thoughts, words, and deeds so that your heart is full of non-violence. Ahimsa
can be achieved by understanding.

After some time, he saw another beautiful woman coming out of his royal palace. He asked her, "Who are you?" She said, "I am your wealth." Again, after some time, he saw an angel coming out of his palace. He asked her, "Who are you?” She responded saying, "I am your reputation." He kept silent.

This time, he saw a woman with a brilliant face and with heavenly effulgence all around her, the like of whom he had never seen before, leaving his palace. He asked her, "Who are you?" She said, "I am your character." Immediately Prahlada fell at her feet and repeatedly pleaded with her not to leave his palace. She obliged him and went back. The others reputation, wealth and kingdom, immediately followed her. Therefore, where there is character, the rest will follow automatically. So, I often tell our students:

Politics without Principles

Science without Humanity

Commerce without Morality, and

Education without Character

Are not only useless but also dangerous

 

I repeatedly tell you:

The end of Education is Character, The end of Culture is Perfection, The end of Knowledge is Love, The end of Wisdom is Freedom.

What is character? Perfect harmony in thought, word, and deed is character - manasyekam vacasyekam karmanyekam mahatmanam. Whatever you think, say it and do it. Your thought, word and deed must be one and the same. This is character.
Manassanyat vacassanyat karman anyat duratmanam - it is only the wicked that think, say and act differently.

This was very well demonstrated by Hanuman in the Ramayana. Rama commanded him to go in search of Sita, crossing the mighty sea. He did so with His infinite blessings. Given this divine assignment, Hanuman said, "Yes," and immediately jumped from the top of that Mahendra mountain.

Here three points are to be noted. Hanuman decided to do his Lord's bidding. This decision is the first thing. Then he declared on the mountaintop of Mahendra that he was proceeding on His mission. This declaration is the second aspect. Thereafter, immediately he started his journey flying across the sky over the sea.

Action followed the declaration. This is the third thing. In Hanuman, we find these three, 'decision - thought', 'declaration - word' and 'action - deed' or the three "H's" "Head', 'Heart ' and 'Hand" in perfect harmony and integration. This is Character.

There is another important thing you should always keep in mind to guard your character. I give you 'Watch' as the 'watchword'. Here every letter has a message and an instruction. 'Watch' is a word with five letters. The first letter 'W' stands for the 'words' that we use. So, 'Watch your words'. The words should be filled with truth. You speak truth. So, watch that your words express truth.

 

The second letter is 'A' which stands for 'action' - 'Watch your Actions'. They should be righteous. The third letter is 'T' and represents 'Thoughts' - 'Watch you thoughts'. They should be calm, never disturbing and agitating. So, let your thoughts be of peace.

The fourth letter is 'C' - 'Watch your Character'. Throughout your life, your character should be perfect. This is possible if you have pure Love. Love will make you achieve everything in this world. Human character is based on selfless, pure and divine Love.

The fifth letter is 'H'. It represents 'Heart' - 'Watch you Heart'. 'Heart' in Sanskrit is hrudaya. This is hru together with daya. 'Daya' is compassion. The one with daya is hrudaya. Where there is violence, there is no daya or compassion. You should not be violent in your words, thoughts or deeds. You should not harm people by your looks, words, thoughts and actions. You can watch your heart with full understanding of your thoughts, words, and deeds so that your heart is full of non-violence. Ahimsa can be achieved by understanding.

So the five letters of this word 'WATCH' represent Truth (w-Words), Righteousness (a -Actions), Peace (t-thoughts), Love (c- Character) and Non-violence (h-Heart). These values constitute 'Character'. It is character that takes humanity to Divinity. Without character, a man falls to the level of a beast. In certain respects, even animals are much better than human beings as they have a season and a reason for their behaviour.

We can view character from two angles. One is Individual character and the other is National character. Individual character emphasises the code of conduct. The second is National character where everyone has to act in the national interest. Today, we have leaders with neither of the two or both missing. This is the cause of the present sad plight of the country. When students have these two, they will mould themselves into ideal citizens of the country.

A man with self-confidence alone can have self-satisfaction. A man without confidence can never have satisfaction in his lifetime. So, the walls of self-satisfaction rest on the foundation of self-confidence. Then the roof must be laid. Self-sacrifice is the roof. Gaining satisfaction out of confidence, one prepares oneself for sacrifice.

Nitiye jati, adi vadilitivo koti kante hinudavu - A true nation should have character, without that, you are worse than a monkey. So character is most essential and prevails when there is total unity and harmony in the 3H's, as I often say for our EHV (Education in Human Values) programme, 'Head - word', 'Heart - thought' and 'Hand - action'.

Prof. Anil Kumar: Bhagavan! We are indeed very grateful to you for telling us so clearly and vividly the way we should view life in general. What are those essential qualities you wish we develop?

Bhagavan: Unless the foundation is strong, a building cannot stand firm and last long. So, the foundation is very important. You can construct any number of floors based on a firm foundation. Self-confidence is the foundation. These days many do not have self-confidence. They do not even attempt to do anything worthwhile as they have no confidence in themselves.

How do you expect them to be successful? If a person has no confidence in himself, what can be done for his progress? On the foundation of self-confidence are erected the walls of self-satisfaction.

A man with self-confidence alone can have self-satisfaction. A man without confidence can never have satisfaction in his lifetime. So, the walls of self-satisfaction rest on the foundation of self-confidence. Then the roof must be laid. Self-sacrifice is the roof. Gaining satisfaction out of confidence, one prepares oneself for sacrifice.

 

ou cannot live in a building without a roof. The roof rests on walls, and the walls, in their turn, stand on the foundation. Only then can we live in a house. Life in such a house is self-realisation. So, everyone must develop these four 'S's' – Self-confidence, Self-satisfaction, Self-sacrifice and Self-realisation.

You need to cultivate three 'D's' too. You know that a VIP like the President of India is always followed by two bodyguards one on either side.

The first 'D' is duty that stands for the President. He is accompanied by two 'D's one on each side, 'Discipline' and 'Devotion'. To discharge duty ably, discipline is very essential. Without discipline, you will never be successful.

Normal body temperature is 98.4 degrees. One's normal blood pressure is 120/80. If there is deviation from the normal rate, you are sick. Changes in blood pressure lead to heart complaints too.

So, our body is a limited company with all the systems working in strict discipline. The eye can see the intensity of light only up to a certain limit. If it crosses the limit, the retina of the eye gets burnt.

Similarly, the ear also can hear sound to a certain extent, and if it is exceeded, the eardrum breaks. This is the lesson in discipline that the body teaches.

The second thing that is required for performing one's duty is devotion. Devotion is Love.


Duty with Love is Desirable,

Duty without Love is Deplorable,

Love without Devotion is Demonic,

Love without Duty is Divine.

Everybody must be devoted to duty with discipline.

 

Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Would you like more of such conversations with the Divine? Please share with us your reflections by writing to [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.





 
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