Over the months, in our continuing series on Getting
Spiritually Better, we have presented many ideas. Perhaps
it is time to pause and have a summary, which is what we do
first. After that brief summary, we move with our main agenda,
taking up a new topic, THE P-N CYCLE. Well, what exactly is
this cycle? Read on and find out!
17. AN INTERIM SUMMARY
It is useful to pause and recap the main
points made thus far.
We started by noting that thanks to the run-away progress
of S&T on the one hand and the general indifference
of man to matters spiritual on the other, there is a
deep imbalance today in human life. Man’s actions
seem to ignore that Society and Nature are limbs of
God, and that they are not there for him to fleece,
plunder and exploit.
This imbalance, which has already reached dangerous
proportions, can lead to a great disaster if allowed
to grow further. Therefore, man must, without any delay,
attempt to restore the balance. This he must do, starting
with his individual self.
Realising the intricate interdependence in Creation,
man must function in a restrained manner, subjecting
himself voluntarily to controls and restraints. This
self-discipline must be motivated from within,
with the larger interest of humanity in mind.
Man must resolve to mend his ways and transform for
the better, i.e., to cultivate noble virtues and move
towards the Divine.
Man must understand that when he transforms for the
better, he can automatically have an influence on his
neighbourhood. In due course, he can even influence
large segments of society.
Swami reminds us often that this is what human birth
has been given for – not for frittering away in
making merry and pursuing meaningless pleasures.
Man is lost in the belief that he is the body. He
is not; he is a composite entity made up of the Atma,
the mind and the body. He is a MBA complex. He must
select his goals and guide his life keeping this larger
perspective in view.
At the practical level, mind and sense control become
a prime requirement in life. The importance of this
must not be diluted in any way.
Such control is a MUST, if one wishes
to follow Mama Dharma,
or one’s duty as the Lord would like to see us
It simply means performing duty as appropriate to
one’s station in life, with the constant feeling
that one is the Atma and not just the body [the feeling
that usually dominates].
The feeling that one is driven by the Atma
has a special name – Atma
Bhavam. One who is immersed
in Atma Bhavam
would automatically give no room for ego to surface.
As someone put it EGO = Edging God Out!
Do we want to do that?
Once one is filled with Atma
Bhavam [which is the same
thing as being egoless], one would easily start seeing
Unity in diversity. Others would not appear as different
people but as aspects of God, as embodiments of God,
trying to make their own respective journey towards
One immersed in Atma would only see God everywhere,
inside as well as outside. Inside and outside would
represent merely a technical difference and not a substantive
One would realise that one is a mere embodiment of
Universal or Absolute Consciousness; that this Universal
Consciousness functions within us as our Conscience,
guiding us in life, besides endowing us with the faculty
of becoming aware or CONSCIOUS of our surroundings through
Secondary Consciousness. This, in essence, is what Swami
says when He refers to the Three C’s.
One must go through life with the constant feeling
that it is only Sai everywhere, in everything, and all
the time. This is what Baba calls CONSTANT INTEGRATED
The purpose of life is to go back where we came from.
From God we have come, and to God we must return. This
becomes easy once we become immersed in Atma
Dear Reader, that concludes the interim
summary. We do hope you would connect the above with all that
we have said thus far.
On now to a new topic, which is the
P-N CYCLE. For convenience, we give it a separate number.
17a THE P-N CYCLE.
We now discuss an important loop that we
call the P-N Cycle. Here, P stands for Prasaadam
or a gift/blessing of God. N stands for Naivedyam
or an offering to God. In the Indian tradition, at the end
of any ritual worship, some food, other eatables, and fruits
are lovingly offered to God [with appropriate ritual chants
of course]. This is called offering Naivedyam. The items so
offered now become sanctified, and are then distributed to
devotees as Prasaadam. On festival days in Puttaparthi and
in Brindavan, sweets are first offered to Swami. He of course
does not partake of them but blesses them. After that, they
are distributed to devotees. Thus, we have here an example
of the Naivedyam first and Prasaadam next.
not be interpreted in the narrow sense of sweets distributed
by Baba or even Vibhuti given
by Him. Everything we receive from God, directly or ‘indirectly’
is a Prasaadam. Our body is a
Prasaadam, our eyesight is a
Prasaadam, the sense of hearing
that we so much take for granted is a Prasaadam,
and so on. The intelligence we possess, the skill that we
think we have acquired by ‘our effort and hard work’,
the money that we have ‘earned’, are all gifts
of God or His Prasaadam. This
is a fact that most of us are not aware of or if we are aware,
we choose to ignore. [If we think a little about it, we do
not give God any credit for our intelligence, wealth, skills,
etc., because of our crafty ego!]
OK, agreed that all these are Prasaadams.
What do we do with them? What do we normally do when we receive
Prasaadam? We [if we have some selfless feelings!] would share
the Prasaadam with others. That is what we also must do with
our intelligence, wealth, etc. All these gifts of God must
be used in the service of others, in the service of Society,
for the cause of humanity. While so rendering service, we
must prayerfully offer that service to God; then, it becomes
This is the P-N cycle. Basically, we all
receive four gifts from God: 1) The body, 2) the Mind, 3)
the Heart, and 4) Time. All these must really be considered
as Prasaadam. Every one of these gifts must be suitably ‘processed’
[if required] and then offered back to God as Naivedyam. For
example, with the Grace of God, a farmer grows rice. The grain
is harvested, threshed, polished, cooked and then only offered
as Naivedyam – this is what is meant as processing.
The body which is received as Prasaadam
must be offered as Naivedyam
to God; how? By doing service to humanity – remember:
SERVICE TO MAN IS SERVICE TO GOD! The Mind is a wonderful
gift of God; this too must be offered as Naivedyam
to God; how? By thinking about God! And what about the Heart?
It must be filled with Divine feelings; such as? Compassion,
forbearance, sacrifice, etc. Remember what Swami often says:
HRIDAYA = HRID + DAYA. Daya means
compassion; therefore, the Heart [or Hridaya]
must be the seat of compassion. Time too must be offered as
Naivedyam by doing God’s
work. What exactly is God’s work? Any good work is God’s
work. It becomes a Naivedyam
when we think of God while doing the work. That is why Swami
says: MAN ME RAM, HATH ME KAAM
– hands at work, and Mind immersed in the thought of
there is a subtle point here that needs mention. Once, a devotee
was speaking in the Divine presence. In the course of his
talk, the devotee said, “Talent is a gift of God.”
Swami immediately intervened and said, “Talent IS
God!” The former view echoes the sentiment that Talent
is Prasaadam. But if Talent itself
is God, then where is the question of it being Prasaadam?
How does one resolve this conundrum?
The resolution of this apparent paradox comes
about in the following manner. If one is immersed in DUALITY,
then one feels separate from God. Under these circumstances,
one can definitely talk of talent being a gift of God. But
Swami does not like us to be in the dual world! That is why
He often says: “A man with a dual mind is half-blind!”
He is insistent that we rise FULLY to the
level of Divinity, banish duality, feel that we are God, and
that there is nothing but God! Rather difficult for ordinary
mortals, one must admit! Under the circumstances, the P-N
cycle is the safest and the easiest way of elevating oneself.
From God we receive everything, and to God they all must go
back in some form or the other. That is the bottom line. Of
course, once one has reached the summit and feels totally
one with God, the P-N cycle ceases to have meaning. But then,
let us not forget that all of us ordinary mortals are light
years away from that goal. So, for all of us, the P-N cycle
is a safe bet!
ADDITIONAL NOTES RELATING TO THE ABOVE