July 31 was a special day for all the students working at the various institutions that Swami has personally set up in Puttaparthi and Bangalore. September 2 is the anniversary of the formation of the Central Trust and it happened to be a Tuesday. So, to enable all the students, even the ones from Bangalore, to assemble in His divine presence, the celebrations were advanced to the August 31, a Sunday. And it turned out to be very apt, for, indeed it was an 'August' gathering!
In the morning, all the students who are now staff, 165 in all, gathered in the Bhajan Hall. The ages ranged from the early twenties to the late fifties! It was indeed a wonderful brotherhood that had united under the fatherhood of Sai! Swami too seemed to be very eager to make the occasion very special. He arrived at 9:10 a.m. and then sat in the Bhajan Hall listening to the singing till 10:00 a.m.! Before leaving, He promised that He would speak to everyone in the evening.
In the meanwhile, the Lord, divine Mother that He is, had arranged a sumptuous feast for all the children who had so lovingly and sincerely gathered at His feet. All of them were escorted to the South Indian Canteen premises where a meal of more than 18 items had been spread over regal plates royally for the 165 gathered!
It was around this time that all the chief priests of the Tirupati Tirumala Devastanams arrived at Swami's residence, Yajur Mandir. Very graciously, Swami permitted them to enter and chant mantras in His presence. The new Chairman of Tirumala Tirupati Devesthanam ( TTD) Mr. Adi Kesavalu Naidu, had also come along with his wife to offer his obeisance and great sense of gratitude to the Lord. Swami blessed them and said, "The opportunity to serve the Lord is something that people do not get even after intense prayers. You have got it so easily even without asking for it! Indeed, it is a great blessing conferred on all of you." Everyone fell in full prostration at the feet of their living Lord and left after Swami blessed them smilingly and graciously.
As He had promised, Swami enquired at about 3:30 p.m. if all the students had gathered in the Bhajan Hall. He wanted to make sure no one would miss the bounty that He was about to confer. At exactly 4:00 p.m., Swami and His dear children were all inside. Swami took a round and enquired sweetly from everyone as to whether they were all happy with the food! When everyone responded with joy, Swami was very touched and happy. Moving to the front, Swami lit the candle and cut a specially made cake. Then, Swami settled comfortably facing all the students.
A research scholar from the University put forth his sincere shortcoming. " Swami, how do we control the mind?" he asked. Swami then began His illuminating discourse:
Mind has no death and none can control it; it is forever. Without that consciousness, man cannot live. Mind should be there; it is the nature of man. When you are a man, mind too exists. When you become one with God alone, mind goes and all become One. Only in the Advaitic state, mind vanishes. As long as ‘I’ and ‘We’ and ‘Mine’ and ‘ Ours’ exist, mind will exist. "This is mine", "that is mine" - such thoughts lead to the persistence of the mind. This is all dvaita or dualism. Mind will be fickle as long as duality exists. Advaita is “I am I”. If you think you are the other, the materials, etc., mind continues. If you say, "This is mine", you are different from the material. The physical world removes spirituality. Reduce your desires gradually - less luggage, more comfort.
Many people take to meditation. What is it? It means the halting of the mind. Ask for anything, but be detached. Thoughts and desires do come. As long as ocean is there, waves are natural. You cannot get rid of waves. When waves merge in the ocean, they disappear. When you achieve oneness with God, waves reduce. Till then, desires keep attacking. Physically, mentally and materially, thoughts arise. The thoughts are the saplings. Courage is necessary. Seeds of Love and rain of devotion mixed with feelings, lead to good crops. If worldly thoughts arise, they keep growing. You talk about meditation, but no one does it. One just sits but does not focus the mind even for a moment. When you say to yourself that, "I and God are one" with full faith, the thoughts will cease. "God is not separate from me. I am not separate from God." Have firm faith. There is no place without God. Everything happens from thoughts. People say they saw things in meditation. That is only imagination due to the thoughts. There should not be any thoughts. Even if you think God has come and stood, that's also imagination. It is an aberration of the mind. There is only one - no other! Have no feeling of 'I' or separation. As far as possible, crush the feeling of 'I'. As long as 'I' exists, 'you' also will exist.
The mind, brain, buddhi, chitta - everything will go. Only the atma remains. To think that you will achieve all this through meditation is a mistake. Indrajit was Ravana's son. He had conquered the senses. But he too died when Rama came. Vibhishana's son was also there. If he is won over, victory was assured. He came to fight.
Formerly, Hanuman had gone around all the streets of Lanka. He got himself caught by Indrajit only to see and study the place. After that was served, Indrajit got killed. Vibhishana's son, Buddhijit, was very fearsome. If he is gone, Lanka too shall be gone. None knew where his life principle was. Vibheeshana told Rama to shoot his right shoulder. Then he died. Then the father began to cry and Rama came to know the Truth. Lanka will be gone. The war was as good as over.
The father gave up the life of his own son. Even among demons, there are such people. He was a man without the feeling of ‘mine’ and ‘I’. Only when he gave up these, victory was achieved. Vibhishana was coronated. All were happy including his wife, Sarma, and children, Shakini and Dakini. They had protected and enthused Sita by constantly telling her, "Do not worry, Rama will surely come. He will kill Ravana and remove all of his ten heads." Sita then became courageous. Lanka was full of demons but Rama made even that place peaceful. The reason for all demons getting killed was that they all had the feeling of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. If Vibhishana had the feeling of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, then Lanka would not have got redeemed. Even demons helped God.
In the world, Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa will come only if you tell, "I am man and not an animal". Animal thoughts must go. Human qualities and human values must arise. From Truth, comes Peace. From these emerges Love. When Love is there, you hate none and all are equal. This Love has to be developed. It is there in everything. You see ants moving in a single line, talking to each other, kissing and then moving ahead Ants have love. When a calf is born, the mother may go to forest to graze, but she is always thinking of the child. The calf too keeps saying "Amma, amma" till she comes. Even animals have Love. This love is same in all. So, you cannot give up one another. Therefore develop human values.
The first is Truth. It is everything and everywhere. There is only one Truth; not two. From that arises, Dharma. And then comes, Shanti. Then everything is so serene! Love emerges then. When peace comes, you have feeling of Oneness. In ancient times, people meditated even in forests with vicious animals. All animals would come and sit with them. Why? Because of pure feelings and absence of ill-will. Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati - if you harm none, none will harm you. Only when you try to harm, problems arise. There is a dog sleeping when you pass by, but it will just remain in its place. Only when you bend to pick a stone, it will get up. When you take care of thoughts, nothing can happen. Do not harm others even in thoughts. Never pain or hurt others in thoughts too. When you trouble others through your thoughts, it is a way of cheating yourself. Everything, the whole world is in us. Good and bad reside in us. When bad thoughts arise, bad actions follow. The connection between thoughts and actions is like the switching of a light bulb. The action definitely follows your thoughts. If you think of all as brothers, all will be that way for you. But if you develop hatred and anger, they too will develop thoughts of hurting you. Do not have bad feelings on others, for it is what you are feeling towards yourself. You are responsible for all that happens to you. The thoughts and feelings do not affect others, they affect only you. Be thought-less, then you are pure. Lest, the thoughts come back and trouble you!
Here is a small story. A dog went into a house of mirrors. It saw many dogs coming towards it. It got fearful. So it attacked one dog. The mirror collapsed and broke. Now, thousands of dogs began to attack it! The dog resigned and left. As many pieces you break, that many dogs appear. But if a human enters such a house, he will know, "I am only getting reflected everywhere." So, if he sees any fault, he sets himself right. For everything is but a reflection. Ishwara sarva bhootanam - God is not separate from us. He is within us. We must have that feeling. Help ever hurt never. If you hurt anyone, it'll come back to you. Same with rendering help, it will return to you. That is the secret of God's creation. In God's creation, there is God alone. Truth, God and Consciousness are all one. Everything else is due to change. What is consciousness? That is Myself. That is self realisation - to recognise oneself. That animal is me. That dog or that lion - all are me. The dog barks at elephant not knowing that both are the same. If you look within, dog and elephant are same. Names and forms are many but the consciousness within is the same; it is changeless. There is only one Sun in the sky. It is the same that is seen in Russia or USA or Italy . But it is day here and night in USA . It does not mean that the Sun is not there! It is only due to the changes in the Earth’s rotation. There is only one Sun. S-u-n not S-o-n! (all laugh) The countries are different but feelings are same. Put in efforts to realize the unity. Work for Oneness.
Don’t meditate to see God. You are God. Why do you struggle to see Him? Daivam Manusha Roopena - When the artist draws, naturally he draws a human form, be it Rama or Krishna . This is because God takes human form; He has human qualities. And these human qualities act as a screen on His divinity; that is maya. As long as the screen exists, one is deluded. The dog is confused as long as the mirrors are there. Once the mirrors are removed, all problems cease! We are only increasing our attachments and not destroying them. Mukkalu (divide) cheesthe Kukkalu vosthayi (dogs will come)! There is only one God, not many, but reflections are seen in all. No need to fear that there are so many dogs. Do not feel that we are facing so many sorrows and obstacles? The trouble is actually you. You alone are responsible for them. We develop and keep only the photographs of the feelings. Remove all the images and keep the negatives, which is the basis. If you keep printing photos, they will one day be not there. But keep the negatives, and you can get any number of images printed.
How does God look? Peacock feather implies Krishna and trident is for Shiva. None have seen Him. This is all imagination. You say, “Swami, we saw Krishna ”. You are Krishna . Why efforts to see yourself. It is only when you forget your nature, you desire thus. So do not forget yourself. God does not have many forms. They are all like the pictures of Ravi Verma (an artist)! It’s not that God came in that form. It is the imagination of the painters. People without wisdom alone stick to forms. All these forms are for your satisfaction alone.
But when you think you are God, you must have God's qualities. But if you consider yourself anything lower, lower thoughts arise. Everything arises, lives and merges back into pure Truth. Your Self is the Truth; everything else is a copy. There is only one original. All creation is basically copies. Everything is born from love, depends on Love for sustenance and merges into love again. Your reflection is seen on the water bubble. But the bubble bursts in moments. You are eternal! All reflections will die down one day.
When Sita was taken to Lanka, she always kept chanting “Rama”, “Rama”. If you want to see Rama, keep His form in mind and His name on the lips. Same is the case with Krishna . The name and from are one and the same. If you see the form, Name comes, and if you chant the Name, form comes. So, whatever bad feeling comes, it is because of you. You cannot say that it came from this or that person. All are born out of you. Bad thoughts arise in this age. Where did it come from? Suppose you saw a woman. But if she comes in your thoughts, did she enter you? No. It is because you think of her that her form came in your mind. Both good and bad arise out of us. The belch depends on what you eat. If you eat mango, you will not get the belch of cucumber. Only whatever you think of, comes in your dreams. You may think I did not think of it before sleeping. You must have thought of it sometime before then! Nothing can come from outside and get into you. Is it easy for a lady to come and get into us? Because of your feelings the form arose in the mind. Feeling has no form and she too is formless. So formless always remains formless. Everything comes from within you. You are the cause for everything. All the good and the bad are in you!
Think of bad thoughts, and you receive bad. Similarly, good gives good. So, understand that everything comes from thoughts. So always think that, "I am the Atma." What is the form of Atma? It is Purity. It is true consciousness. Develop the purity first. Unity arises out of purity. From there comes divinity. Therefore, get purity and you can reach God. So, when you want to see oneness, move from multiplicity to unity. When you see Swami, you think only of Him, and then only He will come. Some think, Swami is not speaking with me. Not only to you, Swami is not speaking with anyone. Now, I am speaking. Tell me with whom I am speaking? To all, isn’t it? I always speak to all. Never think that Swami is not speaking to me alone. Or, Swami is close to him and far from me, etc. Swami never goes far nor goes near to anyone. Swami will never give up anyone. The fault lies in our feelings. So, set right the feelings. That is meditation. Get the feeling of oneness. As is the feeling, so is the happening. Nothing comes from outside. It is all from within. Even the child is born from within. It does not enter the womb from outside. Only physically differences exist. Truth is one but described in many ways. Do not go by the descriptions. Did you all understand?
From this moment realise ‘I’ and God are only one, not two. It's not the bodies merging, but in the ‘I’ that Swami exists. Even Jesus declares, "There is only ‘I’". Cut the 'I' of the ego and only ‘I’ remains. Even the Muslims say, (here Swami said "Alla-o-Akbar" and told the meaning of Akbar also) "Allaha". Aa - means ‘I’ and La means ‘not this’. It too says to remove the ‘I’. There is only that sound of Akaara. Joining different consonants, many sounds are created.....What is the time now? 5:00 p.m. !
After the bhajans, you sing, Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu. It means let everything in this world be happy. Don’t say that. Say, "Samastha Lokaha sukhino bhavanthu". It means let every being in all the worlds be happy. It is very broad based and expansive. Let all the worlds be happy. Start it from now or from Thursday.
What else? Remember that God's work is real work. Swami's darshan is true Aanandam. Swami's words are your meditation and joy. Body is for work and mind is for contemplation. If these two are there, all merge into one. Contemplate on any name. Gods are not separate; all are one and they differ only in pictures. In Uttar Pradesh, peacock feathers are easily available and so all children put it on their head. That does not make all of them Krishnas ! Peacock feather alone won't make you a Krishna . Think of the beauty of God. Everything is God. So also, all work you do, it is God's work. Do not think I am working in hospital, college, hostel or Central Trust. Everything is God work, but you make it bad work by thinking of differences. In book stall you say “this is Rajan's work”. That is neither Rajan nor Central Trust work. It is all Sai work. Be united in every small thing too. Then you will get true meditation. But you close eyes and search for mosquitoes biting you! All work done by this body is God's work. Then you do not need to do any tapas or penance. Many are doing japam and instead of forgetting the world, they forget the rosary! Whatever you think in the heart, will happen. That is everything. Any more doubts?
Swami then permitted a senior brother to speak a few words. He beautifully recounted experiences with Swami that had touched him. Listening to him, everyone gathered at His feet were moved very deeply too! After that, Swami asked all the students to sing songs. One Telugu song narrating the unique love between the Lord and His devotee, and another Hindi song expressing the great joy at being in His presence praying that such things happen over and over again were sung. Swami then looked at the clock and said, "Even bhajans time is over!" Receiving aarthi and blessing the prasadam to be distributed to all, Swami retired for the day.