Volume 11 - Issue 01
january 2013
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Posted on : Jan 03, 2013

SOS: Swami On Sadhana





Part 02



AD: I am reminded of one thing that Adi Shankaracharya says in Viveka Chudamani. He says that the three prerequisites that we need is Manushatvam, Mumukshatvam and Mahapurusha Samshrayaha. And what does it mean? Manushatvam is to be born as a human being - congratulations to us for that! Mumukshatvam is the intense desire to do Sadhana.

GSS: For liberation.

AD: Yes, for liberation. Guess what! As Sai devotees we have that too. Congratulations! And then we have this Mahapurusha Samshrayaha - that is, the guiding hand of a great soul. In fact, we have the Yuga Purusha (Avatar of the Age) Himself!

GSS: Yes! We have God Himself.

AD: God Himself! So congratulations again! It is Mumukshatvam that is the fundamental prerequisite of Sadhana. Swami often used to use the word JOY, especially during Christmas. Swami says J-O-Y stands for “Jesus First, Others Next, Yourself Last”. This should be the hierarchy in which we should place all our activities in life - put God first then the rest of the world and ultimately, at the end of it all if there is anything left, yourself.

BP: In fact as we are talking about this attachment to God and the prerequisite for Sadhana, the most important thing is to get our goal right, which is getting attached to God. Swami gives a very beautiful example of a river. He used to refer to River Ganges and how it flows towards the ocean, going through twists and turns and bends and boulders, but never stops.. Even when it reaches the ocean, the ocean doesn’t accept it easily. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of lashing before it merges into the ocean. I think that should be the kind of perseverance towards the goal. Swami also brings up the example of a train journey. If, for example, you are going to Delhi, you wouldn’t get down at Jamshedpur. You may get down and go sightseeing, relax or shop, but you wouldn’t seek a home in any of the other stations if your home is Delhi. Only when you travel with a focus that Delhi is the destination, will you persevere and reach the destination.

SG: In fact Bishu, there’s another lesson from the river. It is so focused that even for a moment, it would not look behind to see how many boulders it had struck or overcome.

BP: It stops only at the ocean.

SG: Even if just a drop would have stopped and looked back, the river wouldn’t have made it to the ocean.

AD: The river in fact gives several more beautiful lessons, which we can learn. It never looks at its own achievements. Hundreds of towns and cities are built upon its banks, but it does not feel anything because it is absolutely focused on its goal.

GSS: All this reads well, but how do we develop detachment like the example Bishu was talking about. There is so much ‘excitement’ and ‘joy’ - how do we get detached from this? Swami provides a beautiful example. He says, “Don’t have your focus on getting detached from the world, keep your focus on getting attached to God.”

And He gives the example of a seesaw. He says when one side of the seesaw goes down, the other side automatically goes up. So if you start thinking of God, start loving God and make some place in your heart for God, then you will, like a ripe fruit that easily slips its skin, automatically get detached.

BP: Wow!

GSS: In the same way, Bhagawan says you will automatically find the world dropping away from your priority list and you come closer to God.

AD: In fact I am reminded of a very beautiful incident. During my 8th standard, I used to write letters to Bhagawan in which I address Him as ‘Dearest Bhagawan’. Once He took my letter and read the words ‘Dearest Bhagawan’. Then He said, “Dear-rest.” I still keep contemplating the way He said those words – “Dear Rest”. And the way He said it seemed as if He wanted to say, “You simply call Me dear, but the rest of the world is in your heart”.

KMG: Rest of the world is dear to you.

AD: From that day onwards I stopped using the word ‘Dearest’ and I used to write ‘Most Beloved’. And even for that Swami said “Be-Loved.” Be loved by God and attach yourself to God.

KMG: Beautiful!

SG: This could also mean that if you’re dear to God the rest will be taken care. In fact Swami also puns with the word ‘Friendship’. He says friendship is like a ship. If you do not have the right kind of friend, like someone who is more interested on the size of your pockets, the friendship will not sustain.


Nowadays we have social network friends, such ships (friendship) will take you to the middle of the ocean and sink right there. Those kinds of friendships are of no use at all, the true friend, Bhagawan says, is God. God is your only friend. And He’s such a ship that even through the worst of storms, will take you across and land you in the safety of Liberation over this ocean of samsara (worldly existence).

Swami also used to say that many people are excited or feel proud to say that his or her friend is a politician or is in a good position or is rich. Just consider for a moment, if you consider God Himself as your friend how much more proud you will feel and how much more secure you would be!

BP: How much more secure you will feel actually.

SG: I mean you have the Lord of the Universe, the entire Universe is His property and He is your friend.

KMG: Definitely, well just as we saw in the seesaw example, which gives us a quantitative equation that the attachment to God is universally proportional to attachment to the world. Bhagawan also gives a very qualitative analogy of applying the oil of faith in God before cutting or handling the jack fruit. The jack fruit here symbolises the world.

AD: You are correct.

KMG: Oil nullifies the effect of the sticky pigment that tries to stick on our hands, which makes it easier while cutting the fruit. Similarly if we were to enter the world and yet be unaffected by its pulls and attachments, we will have to apply the oil of faith in God before taking up any task. Be in the world but not of the world, as Bhagawan says. Faith in God is essential to cut all the bonds that bind us down.

GSS: So to wind up this round on attachment, we understand that getting attached to God is first priority which includes not just loving God the way we understand, but also to follow His words and message. Swami puts this beautifully in the form of an analogy. He says a patient who goes to a doctor is not just given medicines, the doctor also prescribes a diet for him.

BP: Yes

GSS: Unless you follow the diet along with the medicine you’ll not really become healthy. So Bhagawan says loving God is the first step no doubt, but it is not sufficient by itself. That is the medicine. But to follow the message and the teachings of God is the diet. Both put together will take you closer to God. That is the first step in Sadhana.

So we have really seen very good examples in this module Amey shared about having Jesus first, others next and yourself last. We have seen the seesaw example that Ganesh mentioned and also about technique of not getting one’s hands sticky by applying oil. Giridhar talked about how to have friend‘ships’ that won’t sink. Bishu spoke about the single-minded focus of the river making its way to the sea. Amey also shared his experience with Swami and on Bhagawan’s pun on the word ‘Dear rest’ - that rest of the people are dear but not you. Finally we talked about Swami’s analogy on how medicine and diet, love for God and following His message, are equally important.

But in truth, don’t you think this is much easier for us because we are here in this serene ambience of Prasanthi Nilayam, where everyone thinks in this manner. We have heard many devotees and our own students who live across the world say that it is easy in Prasanthi Nilayam, but difficult in the outside world, which, as Bishu referred to, is like a rat race. So don’t you think the type of company you are in also makes a lot of difference?

BP: A huge difference.

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