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  Volume 4 - Issue 07 JULY 2006

(Continued from the previous issue)

H: Some say it is necessary to mortify the body to overcome the tendencies?

SAI: Some spiritual aspirants do tapas and various austerities that torture and weaken the body. This is wrong. If there is a healthy body, this is the basis for healthy thoughts.

H: One's tendencies are there for a long time. Despite oneself, they come up again and again.

SAI: There is the sun, the magnifying glass, and the paper. God is the sun, far away. The heart is the glass. The desire and tendencies, the paper. If the glass is just right, the paper is burned at once. If the heart has strong love for God, and faith in Him, the glass is automatically right.


H: One very strong tendency is in the tongue, the problem of taste, which gives rise to craving for more. How to overcome that?

SAI: The body is like a boil. Water is for cleansing the wound. Food is the medicine. Clothing is the bandage. Considering the body so, reduces the strength of taste. But what is taken in by seeing, hearing, talking, is the more important food. Gross food for the body is like digging a well. Whereas pure, subtle impressions taken in by the other senses is like building a wall high into the heavens. It is building the wall high that should have the major emphasis.


H: Body is like a boil. But Swami often uses the phrase, ‘the body is the temple of God’.

SAI: In the spiritual world there is a different arithmetic. 3-1=1. There is you, the mirror, and the image. Remove the mirror, and there is only one left. Life is the mirror, body is the reflection. Be attached to God, and there is only One, God. The body is the temple of God.

The life of the person is the priest. The five senses are the vessels used in the religious ceremony. Atma is God, the idol of God. One cannot say that the body is the temple of God unless it is. Every act, thought, and word should be worship in the temple. The five senses should constantly be cleansed and polished, so that the worship is reverently offered to God. One goes to the office and says to himself that every act of the day should be the worship of God, and it will be so.

H: Swami says that when the senses leave their place and mix with worldly objects pain and pleasure are produced. What is the proper place of the senses?

SAI: It is all the play of desire. Desire for worldly objects produces pleasure and pain, whereas desire for God confers bliss and does not produce pain.


H: But Swami, most of our actions arise from worldly desires. We see, hear, think, feel, smell. Then there is some desire and that leads to action.

SAI: God works through you as desire.

H: Swami! Does God prompt even the bad desire?

SAI: There is the strong thrust of the life force, the desire to live. If it goes into action in a favourable field, it becomes love; otherwise, it remains as desire. If desire is expressed in a favourable field, it is expressed as love. Then knowledge and bliss arise.

The force, the strength, the energy, and the motivation in desire is God. Whether the desire is good or bad is related to time, place, and person. In early years, a desire for worldly achievement might be good. In later years, the same desire might be bad. Fruit, good one day may be rotten several days later. One side of an apple may become good, the other side rotten. Discrimination says eat the good side and discard the bad.

There is another force in you through which God works, and that is discrimination. That force must be used to put aside wrong action. The power of discrimination knows what is right and what is wrong. The wrong desire is God overshadowed by Maya. Whereas discrimination is God less overshadowed by Maya.

H: Swami! This really explains the whole problem of good and evil?

SAI: Yes. The story of Valmiki is an illustration. He was a ruthless killer and robber without any doubt about his actions. He, at one time, listened to the five sages and started repeating 'Ram'. The same strength and force that made him a terrible criminal was turned to Godly desire and action, and he gained God-realization. Valmiki started to repeat ‘Rama’ and, gaining speed ‘Rama’ became jumbled up with 'Ma' and 'Mara'. In this he lost body sense and transcended the senses. Losing body sense should be like that, natural and not forced.

H: Swami says that body, mind, intelligence do not work for anybody, that they do their own work. What does that mean?

SAI: What is meant is, 'unfortunately, that is the case'. They are doing their own work, but the work should be co-ordinated for the benefit of the igher. For example, the eyes see. Seeing is their work. But unless they see for somebody there is no point in their work. The mind should be seeing through the eyes. The intelligence should be directing and controlling the mind, for that is the intelligence’s own work.

H: Then, for whom should the entire mechanism be functioning?

SAI: For the Atma. A small example: the earth turns on its own axis, but at the same time it is revolving around the sun. The various faculties of man should do their own work, but the Atma is the centre of their universe.

H: There seems to be something wrong. The Atma is not doing its work of directing the faculties. How can one bring the faculties under the control of the Atma?


SAI: When one realizes that the Atma is the reality, everything will function very smoothly. It is a question of surrendering all to the Atma.

H: But Swami has said that one cannot surrender that which he really does not own and of which he is not in control.

SAI: It is not a question of surrendering or giving to someone else. One surrenders to himself. Recognition that the Atma is oneself is surrender. Surrender really means the realization that all is God, that there is nobody who surrenders, that there is nothing to be surrendered, nor is there anyone to accept a surrender. All is God. There is only God.

H: 'Surrender' is not really a very good word. It quite fails to convey what is meant.


SAI: 'Surrender' is worldly language. To correctly
describe this, the language of the divine is needed. There is no adequate word in the English language, therefore the use of 'surrender' goes on.


H: When Swami says, 'The form of the Lord', what does He mean? That is, when I think of the Lord, the image of Baba comes to mind and that is only natural. But beyond that, what?

SAI: If you continue to visualize the Form when you are engaged in activity, you will make mistakes. For instance, if you try to visualize the Lord when you are working in the office, you make mistakes. So, when engaged in action, 'Visualizing the Lord' means doing the work in God's Name, and not doing the work to gain the fruit of the work.

H: Well, then about the Name, repeating the Name?


SAI: When God comes taking a human form, it is very difficult to see Him as the Lord. One sees that body, then one's own body, and one cannot but relate the two and put that body at the same level as oneself. But if the Lord came in all His majesty, people would be afraid and would have no opportunity to know and love the Lord.

For example, people worship an image of a snake in a temple, hoping that the worship will bring the birth of a child. But if the snake became alive and wriggled across the floor towards them, they would take to their heels. People could not stand the Lord in super-human form. It is only when the Lord comes in a human body that people are able to approach Him and learn to love Him and know Him even a little bit. But one should not make the mistake of thinking that is all there is to the Lord.

For instance, the aeroplane flying high in the sky descends to the airport. But one should not make the mistake of thinking that the plane is a ground machine because they see it on the ground. Once it has taken on its load of passengers, it again zooms up high into the sky. In like fashion, although the Lord has made a landing here on earth so to speak, He is not limited by His human form


H: May Swami please tell us more about saying the Name of God?

SAI: Here is a small example. A man had to pass through 20 miles of forest at night, and he had only a small lantern that lit about a three foot circle. He put down the lantern and started to cry, for he could see for only three feet. Some travellers came along and asked the reason for his sorrow. They exclaimed, 'But sir, if you walk, carrying the lamp with you, if you can see only two feet ahead of you it is enough, and you could travel in that way through a hundred miles of dark forest without trouble. But if you leave the lantern where it is, you cannot move at all in this dark forest.'

In the same way, the Name of the Lord may be written in the book you are looking at, but you may find your way only by using the Name. The Name should be woven into the breath so that you are calling on Him all day long. Sohum - 'He am I'. 'He' with the in-breath, 'I' with the out-breath. Or Sai Ram. Or the name of your choice, said with the movement of the breath. Breath is form, thus the name and the form go together.

Breath is life. Life is God. Breath is God. The name of God and the form of God. Breathe God. See God. Eat God. Love God. The Name of God will illumine every step of your life and take you to Him. The Name must be said with love for God is love. If the breath is said with love, then life is love. There is no shakti stronger than love. If it is said with love, the Name of God - any name of God Ram, Sai Ram, Krishna , Jesus, Sohum - that small name will open up and illuminate the whole of life. For the one who desires to realize God, only the Name is needed. The ocean is vast, but a huge steamship is not needed to go on the ocean. Just a small tire will take one on the ocean.

H: In respect to repetition of the Name of the Lord, what is the relationship between Sai Baba, Sai Ram, Sohum? And which form is to be visualized for each?

SAI: Sai Baba is the physical form. Sai Baba also means Divine Father and Mother. The syllable 'Sa' means divine. The syllable 'ai' means mother. Baba is the word for father. 'Sai Baba', therefore, means Divine Mother and Father. Sai Ram represents the same form as Sai Baba. Sohum does not have a form. It means, 'I am God'.

Just as a person has several names but they refer to the same body. The repetition of name with form is at the beginning. Later on one worships the omnipresent transcendent divine. If one sees God as the essence of every person he meets, it is also appropriate to love Sai Ram constantly in the mind, because then the diverse forms merge into the Sai Ram form.


H: What is the correct way to chant 'OM'?


SAI: The sound of 'OM' is 'AUM'. 'A' starts softly from the throat. It is the earth. ‘U’ comes from the mouth and the sound rises in volume. 'M' is sounded with the lips, with decreasing volume. Like a plane, heard distantly, increasing in sound as it approaches arid fading with distance. 'A' is the world. U is heaven. 'M' is divine, beyond all the senses.

H: Suppose one fails to achieve this perfect pronunciation?

SAI: The perfect OM is not too important if there is love. Love is the bond of devotion between mother and child, and if the child cries, mother does not worry if the cry is discordant. She rushes to the child and cares for him.

The Divine Mother is in every place. Swami is here, but the divine Mother is everywhere. So, everybody has a chance. As soon as a person starts to yearn for God, the Divine Mother is there to respond with grace. In all these matters, love is vital. Devotion to God means love of God.

The real OM is spontaneous; it enters through the two nostrils, up to forehead center and out through the ears to the world. Like the broadcast from a radio tower.

H: Is not OM a dangerous sound to use? I have heard that the OM sound is continuous, and continuously sustains the universe. Whereas man breaks the continuity of his saying 'OM' and so his life is likewise broken. I have heard of a number of such instances, and it is said that OM is suitable only for sannyasis who have already broken their worldly ties.

SAI: What is a sannyasi? There are three types. First is 'cloth sannyasi' who pretends renunciation by wearing an ochre robe. There are thousands of such in India. Next is the 'sense sannyasi' who gains control of his senses. These persons should never leave the world for solitude. They should remain in life where they may watch their reactions and know if their sense control is genuine. Then there is he who has surrendered to the Lord, dedicating the fruit of every action to Him. In this sannyasi, ego has no place. His heart is pure. His senses become calm and are not affected by the opposites. If the heart is pure, then the continuity of the 'OM' sound will not be broken. And, if something that seems bad does arise, then it is unreal, for only OM is real.



H: Swami says that people make a mistake by not saying 'Sohum' with every breath. How does one do it?

SAI: 'Saa' is He. 'Hum' is I. Yogi 'X' whom you mentioned, teaches to say, 'Saa, Saa' 24 hours each day. Since 'Hum' is not said, the 'I', the personality, is supposed to subside. It is extremely difficult to do it 24 hours a day, and in sleep it is almost impossible. Yogi 'X' says he does it, but he does not. What is the use of struggling with a very difficult practice like that, when there is an easier, more effective may?

Well, Swami, putting Yogi 'X' aside. I want to do as Baba says, and say 'Sohum' with every breath. What is the technique? Is it said with each breath?

SAI: The breath is always saying 'Sohum'. The practice is to say 'So' with every in-breath, and 'Hum' with the outbreath. Say it in thought. It is intended to keep the mind fixed and quiet. After a while it becomes automatic. During the day say 'Sohum'. At night, during sleep, the sound naturally changes to OM.

H: Should one think, 'He am I'?

SAI: No. The sound is 'Sohum'. It is not an Indian word or an American word. It is the sound of what the breath is saying. Of course, it is all right to appreciate the meaning of the sound.

H: Swami says that 'Sohum' is the natural sound of breath. Listening to my breath, it does not seem to me that I hear the sound of breath in that way.

SAI: The sound through the nose and mouth are mixed with mind or idea, and may be heard in various ways. The fact is that when the mind is without movement and the breath is perfectly spontaneous and natural, the sound of that breath (through the nostrils) is 'Sohum'. Breath through the mouth goes into the stomach.

H: Krishna told Arjuna to sound OM in the mind.

SAI: OM is in every place, mind, tongue, heart etc. First sound OM on the tongue and then in the mind. The sounding of OM 21 times is important; five outer senses, five inner senses, five lives (the five elements), five sheaths (the kosas), and the Jiva.

(To be continued)....

– Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 4 Issue 07 - JULY 2006
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