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Posted on: June 09, 2016
Guru Poornima Special Offering
Part - 1
In 2006, eager to start a service which will help everyone to connect with Bhagawan's teachings on a daily basis, Radio Sai began 'Sai Inspires'. All who subscribed to this service, received an email from us which had a concise message of Baba accompanied with His image. This daily offering was received well, and soon the subscriptions grew. Today nearly 100,000 people from all corners of the world wait for this message to help them tide over their day with peace and ease. The power inherent in these discourse capsules is indeed tremendous. How much we benefit from it and how best we harness this energy depends purely on how seriously we ruminate over these words and how sincerely we put our learning into action. To help us in this noble and elevating exercise, Prof. G. Venkataraman has taken time out to elaborate on these messages. His reflections will not only give us a deeper understanding into what the Lord is communicating to us but also give us tips to translate them into our daily practical life with more ease.
The best way to value the Master is to master His values. As we prepare to celebrate Guru Poornima (July 19), when we pay our respects and obeisance to the Divine Master, let us work to offer Him the tribute that the Lord loves the most from us - to make our lives His message, to make His love and wisdom shine in us. To aid us in this endeavour we have this series where Prof. Venkataraman for the next 26 days will share his insights on select Sai Inspires messages. We hope this will help us to understand His teachings better and bolster our determination to walk on the sacred path.
Sai Inspires Message
What is Awareness Really?
There is a Divinity, higher than humanity that is behind and beneath all man’s activities. However, man is not aware of it and he fails to benefit by that awareness. His first task is to cognise this source of joy and peace. That Divinity is like the thread in which the flowers are strung; we see only the garland; we do not cognise the string that holds the flowers together and makes a garland out of a heap of blossoms. Mankind is strung together by this inherent Divinity.
People usually think that spirituality and the ‘real’ world we live in are totally unrelated. As a result, we also keep God out of our normal lives, unless of course we run into a terrible problem when we desperately begin calling upon God to save us, to protect us, etc. All this is the result of a huge disconnect between humans and the Divine, concerning which Swami has spoken often; yet, few take any notice of it. In the above quote, Swami is explaining to us not only where we are going wrong but also why we are doing so. Let us try to absorb slowly and carefully, what the Lord is teaching us with so much patience and love.
Swami has often told us: “In this Universe, there is only God and nothing but God.” We wonder: “How can that be? I see around me a sea of devotees from all parts of the world. Then there is this magnificent Sai Kulwant Hall in which we all are seated. And oh yes, over there we see Swami who is God; that is granted. But how can the mikes before Swami, the wonderful lights, the pillars, the various decorations, etc., all be God? They are objects and entities, made up of metal, concrete, glass, etc. These material objects are man-made; how can they all be God? There is something here that I am totally missing!” We sure are.
The difficulty I just described is an old issue and does have a solution. In fact, Swami has Himself given us a clue regarding how it must be sorted out. Swami’s clue starts with an old Vedantic story which goes like this. There is a man in a village who opens the door of a hut and goes inside. It is rather dark in there and far in the corner the man sees something lying coiled up. Shouting ‘snake, snake,’ the man runs out closing the door. The people in the village hear the cry, pick up a lamp, arm themselves with big sticks, and cautiously enter the hut. In a far corner they too see this coiled object. Inch by inch they move forward, holding their huge sticks up and ready to bring it down heavily, were the snake to move and come towards them. But nothing like that happens; and when they go close enough they find that what they thought was a snake was nothing but a rope.
Vedanta now makes the following observation: “There was always only a rope. It was there before the man went in. It was there when the villagers went in to kill the snake that was supposed to be hiding there. It was also there when they held up the lamp close to it. Now if there was only a rope all along, where did the snake come from?” Swami says that the snake was purely a product of the imagination of the villager who first went in. The image of this illusory snake then got superposed on the rope that was really there after which, instead of seeing a rope the man began to see only a snake. And when he reported that there was a snake in there, all the others believed him, till they held up the lamp. The moment they did so, the snake disappeared and they saw the rope that was always there. What had happened was that the light of the lamp destroyed the illusion born in the mind of one confused and frightened individual, which many others also believed in. So the issue was cleared up by the light of the lamp.
That story, says Swami, captures the essence of the problem humans face today. Although God is immanent in every single atom in the Universe, we who are used to looking at things merely from a superficial and material point of view, total miss the immanent God. I can fill volumes amplifying that remark but I shall not; instead, I shall just mention just a few points.
Let us start with the power inherent in the inert atom. Are you aware that it took only about 5 grams of uranium 235 to be converted entirely into energy to wipe out Hiroshima? We can talk about E = mc2 and all that till the cows come home, but the fact is, as Krishna clearly explains, that power or energy inherent in the atom actually comes from God.
Next, consider the wonderful things humans do which no other living beings can. Just look at the smart phone and the internet, two inventions that came within the last 20 years or so; and how much the world has changed due to them! True, humans invented them and other such wonderful gadgets. But where did humans get the intelligence for making such stunning inventions? From God, as Krishna has declared. However, do humans give God credit for that? Hardly ever. Instead, driven by ego, most inventors feel great about how clever they are and so on. This goes on all the time, with man always pushing God to back-burner, completely forgetting the Divine Grace he has received, that has enabled him to come to the forefront. Instead, he imagines that he alone is the greatest of them all. If you think about it you would quickly realise that it is ego and body-consciousness that cause all such delusion.
In short, forgetting God and His power that is immanent in everything there is, man superposes his own perceptions on what his senses enable him to see and detect; thereafter, the substratum that is God is forgotten and this superposition alone is seen as reality. All this is in no way different from the ignorant villager superposing the image of a snake that is non-existent on a rope that alone existed. In short, without a lamp that can illumine and clear up delusions, where spirituality is concerned, even a Nobel Prize winner can be as ignorant as a simple villager.
This is not to trash the relevance and importance of worldly recognition of achievement, etc. Those are necessary both for encouraging good work and as a sign of civilised behaviour. At the same time, that does not mean one should totally forget the immanent Divine power that enabled the achievements. That is why Swami says:
There is a Divinity, higher than humanity that is behind and beneath all man’s activities.
However, man is not aware of it and he fails to benefit by that awareness.
That is the real point. If man fails to recognise that God hiding behind everything from the atom to the Cosmos animates the Universe, he also fails to get the benefits that come from seeing God everywhere.
Bhagawan Himself has hinted what these benefits would be. Consider His remark:
Man’s first task is to cognise this source of joy and peace.
There it is. Once one recognises that Divinity is behind everything in the Universe, one would also learn to be in equilibrium with the immanent God and thereby experience joy and peace. For example, every time an evolved soul sees a beautiful thing, he immediately begins to resonate with God who is the source of beauty, rather than merely admiring the object he is seeing. Swami quotes Saint Purandaradasa who, after seeing a beautiful peacock did not merely admire the beauty of the bird but exclaimed, “Who is the one who created such a beautiful bird?” That question directly connected the saint with God, filling him with greater joy than the thought of the bird alone could have given.
Let us go back to snakes for a moment, I mean real snakes! All of us are afraid of snakes; who is not? But just consider this. You and I move with the help of legs. What about snakes? They do not have any legs and yet they can move so fast! Have you ever wondered about that? How’s that possible? The first person to think seriously about it from a scientific point of view was, to my knowledge, Prof. de Gennes of France, who described it in terms of what he called 'Reptation'. OK, snakes move around through reptation; but who gave snakes that kind of unusual power? God!
Swami also reminds us that way back, rishis who withdrew to the forest to engage in penance and meditation were hardly ever bothered by snakes, scorpions, lions, etc., although the forests were full of them. How come? Because these rishis radiated nothing but Pure Love; and responding to this Pure Love of the rishis, the God immanent in these wild creatures, made the creatures simply move away – that is how rishis stayed safe and the wild creatures for their part were not bothered by evolved humans. In other words, the Divine Love in the rishis was able to directly commune with the in-built Divine Love in snakes and it is this invisible Love to Love interaction that kept the rishis safe, allowing tranquillity to prevail.
There is the lesson for us. Just imagine how much peace and harmony there would be in the world today, if each of us saw only God in other beings! We would then radiate love and that love, coming as it does from the Heart would instantly dispel whatever evil thoughts might be in the other person. Responding to the Divine Love it receives, momentarily at least, the evil person would return the love with a smile perhaps. You know, if one builds upon this, one can really work wonders. In this context, please also recall what Swami has said about the purpose of Creation. He says: “I separated Myself from Myself in order to love Myself!” Hopefully, all that I have said so far, makes that statement easier to understand.
Dear reader, take a few minutes off, and try to spend the next, say half an hour seeing God in everything around you. You would immediately see what a difference that makes. Magnify that difference and imagine now how the world would be if people in millions feel that way. Would there not be less of conflict and more of peace and harmony in the world? How much would it cost? Not a penny; only a lot of ego. Maybe we regard ego as worth more than even money! Should we be so deluded, to the point of denying peace that would otherwise be available so easily? Think about it.
Thank you. Sairam.
Radio Sai Team
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