Volume 5 - Issue 10
Bhagavan says that this entire Universe arises from the mind. Mano Moolam Idam Jagat. Therefore, needless to say, all the problems that arise in this manifest world are ultimately related to the mind. The only aspect that separates a human being from His own Truth, from God is his mind.
If we were to think deeply, we would realize that the purpose of all religions, the purpose of all spiritual practices, be it the Karma, Bhakti or the Jnana Marga – are all associated with just one objective – mastery over the mind; so as to turn the mind inwards and realize one’s own true Self.
If this is the essence of all spiritual practices and the secret of our bondage and freedom, obviously this becomes the very purpose for which the Cosmic Lord comes down in a human form – to correct man, to transform him – which in essence means turn his mind inwards and make him realize his own true nature.
How does Bhagavan accomplish this feat? Once a devotee prayed to Swami, “Swami you say that this whole world is nothing but a projection of our mind and is therefore nothing but a dream. But you too have taken a Form in this dream, so are you also not a part of this dream?”
Bhagavan smiled and replied, “Yes my dear, I too am part of your dream. But I am like the roaring lion in the dream. My roaring will wake you up from this dream unto reality!”
Let us have a glimpse of how Bhagavan – the Cosmic Lion roars and wakes each one of us into the reality of our own Self. The roar could come in any form. It could be a dream, a smile, a deep look, a conversation, a single word, even a whisper or even His Silence!
Let me take recourse to a few conversations that I have had with Bhagavan and some that I have heard in the last few years at His Lotus Feet, to illustrate how He wakes us up from our deep slumber.
Where Am I From?
The most common conversation that I have heard between Bhagavan and a devotee in the Mandir verandah is Swami asking the devotee, “Where do you come from?” Invariably, the devotee replies: “Swami, Canada”, “Swami from Delhi”, “Swami, Italy” and so on. But this dialogue goes on every day and often one starts wondering as to why Swami asks the same question every time. Does He not know where we come from and why the same question again and again?
Later, we understood that Swami does this to set us on the path of introspection. We start thinking, “Hey what is wrong with my answer? What does Swami expect from me?” Thus begins our inward journey, a journey of self introspection wherein the mind is used as the instrument to turn itself within and look for a deeper meaning and purpose in life.
Now we all know that an appropriate answer to this question is, “Swami I have come from you.” Many devotees have given this answer and we have seen a blissful smile on Bhagavan’s face. But well, you can never outsmart Him. When I discovered this answer I got fully prepared for the situation, if at all it would arise; and arise it did. One day, it was Darshan time. Bhagavan came towards me and asked, “Where do you come from?”
With great joy and a sense of pride for I was well prepared, I replied, “Swami, I have come from you.” Immediately, I saw a frown on Swami’s face instead of the blissful smile that I expected and He said, “That is different saar, which place do you come from?” I knew I was caught. Whom was I talking to? The indweller of my heart. How could I play with Him? Swami wishes that the answer must come as a result of deep self enquiry and not merely from the tip of our lips! The journey inwards has to be undertaken.
‘You Are God’
There are several occasions when Swami has even asked many devotees, “Who are you?” I remember one occasion when we all were seated right over here. Swami was floating amidst us slowly with a beautiful smile on His face. As He just came close to me, He turned to a M.Sc. student sitting just opposite to me, and asked him very casually, “Who are you?”
The student was taken by surprise and remained dumbfounded. Bhagavan patted his cheek and very naturally, with a spontaneous ease He said, “You are God.” It was as simple as it would be for us to look at this mike and say ‘this is a mike’ or look at a table and say ‘this is a table’. The Truth is as clear as that to the Cosmic Lord, nay He is the Truth Himself and is revealing Himself – the true Self to all of us. This incident left a deep impression on that student and on many of us who heard those sweet words from Bhagavan’s lips.
A Bold Request
For Bhagavan, the entire world is one unified entity and He sees nothing but His own Self everywhere. However, looking at His physical form, one gets so easily deluded in believing that He is just a human being like us. Bhagavan says that He comes down in a human form to live with us, laugh and talk with us, but at the same time He rises to the supreme heights to remind us of His reality and to take us along with Him. It has been a very common experience for we students to witness how Swami mingles with us and makes us feel so comfortable as though we are with our dearest friend and then suddenly through a single word or remark, He reminds us of His grand Truth and reality.
Almost a decade ago, there was one undergraduate student from Delhi. He was the son of a temple priest and thanks to the past samskaaras and family upbringing, he was a very devoted and sincere student. He was a true Jignasu – a seeker of truth and had just one wish – to receive the grace of self realization from the Lord. When he would talk to us, we would explain to him that this was not an overnight affair and one had to struggle a lot for it and so on.
One evening, it was Darshan time. This boy was seated in the first row across the passage where Swami used to come walking giving Darshan. I was seated a couple of rows behind him. As Swami came closer to the boys’ section, suddenly, this boy knelt down on his knees and looked pleadingly towards Swami.
Normally, unless Swami gives an indication – no student is expected to kneel down that way and so I was truly concerned as to what would he ask Swami, what would he do? The student in a loud voice – loud enough for all around to hear – without any hesitation or feeling of shyness, asked Swami, “Swami I want Self Realization!” We were shocked. How could this boy be so arrogant? What would Swami say? But it was too late to do anything and we just sat glued to our seat. What happens next? It was amazing! Swami comes close to the boy and in an equally loud voice promptly replies, “I will give!” Who other than the supreme Lord can dispense Self Realization – as simply as that – just like distributing chocolates!
We all were stunned with Bhagavan’s response and the mind received a strong jolt – once again turning inwards to proceed on its partially traveled journey. The Cosmic Lion had roared and woken us up! It was unto us now to keep awake or go back to our deep slumber.
A Child of God
Once in an interview in Trayee Brindavan, Swami explained to us the meaning of true devotion. He said, “How can everybody simply claim that they are My devotees? It is I who must certify to that effect. You saying that 'Swami I am your devotee' is not as important as Me saying that you are My devotee.” Bhagavan went on to say that, first we must say, “Swami, I am Yours.” This is like sending a registered post to Bhagavan – not an ordinary registered post but registered post with acknowledgement due.
Then, Bhagavan must tell us, “Yes, you are Mine!” This is like we receiving the receipt. Only then the relationship is complete. Having heard all this, I was deeply moved and this truth got embedded in my heart. Towards the end of the interview, Swami went around distributing Vibhuti Prasadam to all of us seated in the room. As He approached me, He asked like an ideal teacher conducting the test on the syllabus that He had just completed, “Who are you?”
I was so happy to hear that and smilingly I replied, “Swami, I am Your son!” Immediately Swami shot back. What did He say? It was again His roar. He said, “No, do not say I am your son. Son bhi ho sakta hai, daughter bhi ho sakta ha – you may be a son or even a daughter. Say, I am Your child!” What pearls of wisdom! Bhagavan was, in one sentence taking us to the reality of our true Self – wherein we are neither male nor female. These attributes are all related to the body and not to the Atma. He wanted the mind giving this answer to keep the Atma as its reference point and not the perishable impermanent body. That is our Lord. How subtly but yet profoundly, He reminds us of our own Truth through every gesture and word of His!
Beauty is Within
Another wonderful incident. This was in the Brindavan Campus college auditorium. Swami had just completed delivering His Discourse on the valedictory day of the Summer Course. Towards the end, He had materialized a beautiful diamond swan, which He related to the mythological story of Nala and Damyanti.
But what was more joyous was that, Swami came walking across the auditorium, between every row of chairs, holding the diamond swan in His hand for all to see. What compassion and love - the Lord walking across every row of chairs in an auditorium. But would He waste this opportunity without giving one of His roars?
Impossible. As He came closer to where we all were seated, He stood for a while at one point. All of us craned our necks to catch a glimpse of that beautiful swan. Well, this was the right moment for Bhagavan. He withdrew the swan and as we all suddenly turned towards Him, He said, “That is only creation - who is the creator? You all are interested only in the creation, not the creator.” Wow! That was like a lightning from the blue!
Immediately, our mind did a summersault and went inwards to appreciate and feast on this wonderful statement made by Bhagavan. Do we all not get caught in this pretty trap of His? Bhagavan compares this to an aircraft and the pilot. He says that when a plane flies across the sky, we get so enamoured by its majesty, that we forget that there is a pilot who is inside the cockpit driving the aircraft. Bhagavan is the Cosmic Pilot who is driving the entire Universe.
Again and again, Swami propels our mind to turn inwards and again and again we bring it out and let it loose among the temptations of this attractive world. How painful must this task be for Him? As Bhagavan Himself says, “I alone know the agony of teaching you every step of the dance.”
Who is Sai?
How do we express our Love and gratitude to our dear Lord. Simple - by helping Him to facilitate this journey of ours. The journey may be painful, full of thorns and stones, but let us not complain. Let us bear all the difficulties for it is only after the heating, hammering and twisting that the gold is transformed into a beautiful jewel. Do we all not want to be instruments in His Divine Hands? Again, a beautiful episode and one of His Cosmic Roars.
It was the Parthi interview room and all the MBA students were enjoying a beautiful interview with the Lord. Towards the end, all students started praying, “Swami, please make us your able instruments.” Swami smiled and said, “That is My duty saar, that is My duty. You are all My instruments.” Pointing at each one of us, He said, “You are My instrument, you are My instrument…." and finally pointing at His own body, Bhagavan said, "This too is My instrument!” What? Our breath stopped for several moments. If this Divine body is also Your instrument, who are You Swami? Who are You Swami?
The Player of the Flute
He is the ultimate reality, the Cosmic Self, the ‘I’ in each one of us. The bodies are just instruments in the hands of the Cosmic Self. We have no separate existence of ours. What we perceive and feel as a separate existence is only a delusion of the mind. Just one more roar of the Cosmic Lion and I shall stop.
This was right here at one corner of the Mandir verandah. It was 5.15 pm and the flute recital had just begun. It was those days when before evening Bhajans, there would a 15 minutes flute recital inside the Bhajan Hall. One of my brothers was seated at the corner. Swami came walking towards him. The student folded his hands and knelt down. Swami asked him, “Where is this sound coming from?”
Pointing to the speaker above, the student replied, “Swami the speaker is up here.” Bhagavan smiled and said in a voice that all of us could hear – for the message was meant for all of us – “The speaker is outside here, but the actual player is inside.” Saying so, He smiled and went further. The message was loud and clear. The real doer is within, and the body is just the instrument.
A Startling Revelation
The earlier we embark on this inward journey, the better it is for us. Why? Swami Himself gives the answer, and this is not just a roar but this is like an atomic explosion which has to wake us up. The scene was the Bhajan Hall over here. The occasion – a surprise Divine Discourse to the staff of the Mudenahalli School and our Prasanthi Nilayam Hostel teachers.
Bhagavan was talking about the Mahabharata and the episode where Lord Krishna reveals to Karna the truth that he was actually the brother of the Pandavas. We had heard Swami narrating this story before and hence we were anticipating further details from the Mahabharata story. But most stunningly, Bhagavan gave a sudden twist to the story and said,
“Understand that after Karna realized that the Pandavas were his brothers, he felt so sorry that he was fighting and causing them pain for so long. He was filled with uncontrollable grief.
My dear ones, one day you too will realize that there is only One Self and that all the others around you are none other than your own reflections – reflections of the one Divine Self. At that moment, you too will feel immeasurable pain for having hated and caused harm to so many of your own reflections. Therefore, to avoid such a situation, realize now and at this moment that there only one Divine Self everywhere.”
This alone is the solution to all the problems of the world. Manomoolam Idam Jagat. Therefore all the problems are related to the mind alone. Mana Eva Manushyaanaam Kaaranam Bandha Mokshayoho. This mind is the cause for both our bondage and our liberation. Turn it outwards and it binds us to the world, turn it inwards and it reveals to us our eternal Self and frees us forever. The mind when turned outwards sees diversity in unity, but when turned inwards, it perceives the grand unity in creation and nurtures a world full of love, peace and harmony.
May I conclude by reminding one and all that our dear Lord Sai stands for SAI – See Always Inside.
Jai Sai Ram.
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Vol 5 Issue 10 - OCTOBER 2007
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