Volume 11 - Issue 09
September 2013
Other Articles




Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point


On one occasion Baba said “Man minus desire is God”. Desires are what takes us away not only from God from our own peace, happiness and well-being. As they say, the one with least desires is infact the richest and most contended man on this planet.

The fact of the matter is that the moment you stop desiring for things, the more they start coming to you. And the more you chase them, the more they make you chase and finally tire you, exhaust you and in the process take away your health, happiness and peace. Perhaps it is for this reason that Baba always insisted on everyone putting a voluntary ceiling on their desires.

God in His infinite compassion has been showing us the path to permanent and lasting joy. Let us think deeply about this and bring it to action seriously in our lives. To help us contemplate on this more and understand this in the right perspective, here is a quiz based on what Baba has directly said on this theme over the years.


01. During a Divine Discourse given in 1983, Swami emphasised the need for setting limits on everything we need in order to function normally: “Man needs some essential commodities for his sustenance and he should not aspire for more. We can learn a lesson in this respect from Nature. Only if air is available in sufficient quantity will it be comfortable and good. If it is excessive and there is a gale you will feel uncomfortable. When you are thirsty, you can consume only a limited quantity of water. You can't consume the entire water of River Ganga! We take only as much as is needed for the sustenance of the body.

“Doctors know that the body temperature is normally at 98.4. If this goes up to 99 they say fever has set in due to some disorder in the body. We inhale and exhale at a normal rate. If there is a slight increase or decrease in the rate it indicates a problem in the body. Changes in the pulse rate or blood pressure also indicate disorder. So you find that if you cross the limits even to a little extent it is dangerous or harmful to the body. There is a limit for everything to function in a normal way. When your eyes happen to see a flash of lightning or a flash light while taking photographs, they automatically close because they can't withstand such high illumination. Ear drums also cannot tolerate hearing beyond a certain volume and we close our ears or keep cotton inside the ears. Our life therefore is a limited company!”

Then, during a Divine Discourse given in 1984, Swami declared: “There is the programme connected with ‘Ceiling on Desires’... You must realise that this programme has not been launched to raise funds... The objective of this programme is to prevent waste of money, time, food or other resources and to use all these for the welfare of the people.”

According to Swami, “The seva programme is intended only to provide you with opportunities to make your lives sacred and worthwhile. It is to ..........................”

02. During a Divine Discourse given in 1973 during the Summer Showers, Swami guided students by elaborating on the importance of the proper usage of money: “We should never regard wealth as the most important thing in our life. We should regard dharma as the most important thing. We should thereby earn the grace of God. You should have money which is enough to meet your essential requirements. Anything more than that should be used for charity and such other good things.

“Today, we do see many students getting spoilt by possessing excess of money. In the first instance, it may look very difficult to get on with minimum amount of money; but if they can control their desire for money, they will be very happy and peaceful thereafter. When students are really in need of ten rupees, they prepare themselves to ask for twenty rupees. In that context, when the children ask for twenty rupees, the parents should give only ten rupees. This is very essential. The son may feel hurt but that hurt is momentary, he will get strength later on. If he is given twenty rupees when he actually needs only ten, he will get bad friends and spend that money on them.

“There is a small story which is significant in this context. On a Saturday, a father was engaged in worshipping the Lord and he called his son and told him to get some plantains for one rupee. This son was a good boy and he went and purchased the plantains, but on the way he saw a mother and son standing on the road; they were very hungry. When the hungry boy saw the plantains, he ran towards them. The hungry mother, who saw the boy running, ran after him and caught him; but both of them collapsed of hunger. When this young man found these people suffering so much from hunger, he thought that it was much better to feed these hungry people than take the bananas home. He gave the bananas to this mother and son, also later he brought water and gave it to them. These people were so relieved of their hunger and thirst that they expressed their gratitude in many different ways and shed tears of joy.

“This young student went home empty handed. When the father asked him if he had brought the bananas, he replied in the affirmative. When asked where the bananas were, the son replied that the bananas which he brought were sacred, will not rot, and cannot be seen. The son explained that he fed two hungry souls with the bananas; and the fruits which he brought home are only the sacred fruits of action. The father then felt that his son was worthy of him and felt that all his prayers had been answered that day. He thought that his life was very sacred as he had such a good son. The father developed great affection for the son from that day and they came much closer to each other. Such a closeness between father and son is very rare today. If you can develop such a feeling, you can develop your country into a Thyaga Bhoomi (land of sacrifice) and a Yoga Bhoomi (land of yoga) and build up great traditions.”

With regards to when parents offer money for education, Swami advices students thus: “Never waste money. If you waste money, it amounts to ................”


03. During a Divine Discourse given in 2008, Swami guides us further on the topic of money by alerting us: “If you waste money, you may have to face many difficulties... We should not waste money. What is the use of wasting money? Misuse of money is evil. Therefore, never misuse money. Spend only when it is necessary. Is it proper for you to spend money unnecessarily only because your pocket is full? Is it not a mistake? In this manner, many people waste money. Those who get fat salaries spend money in an arbitrary way. When you lead your life in such a lavish manner, low income people like sweeper and milkman will also try to imitate you and ask for more salary. We should not set a bad ideal to others. We should follow the path which is beneficial to all. When you have too much money, you don’t mind wasting it. But do not spend money like that. You should think before spending, whether you are making proper or improper use of money.”

During another Divine Discourse given in 1983, Swami elaborates more on the misuse of money: “Similarly our desires also should be limited. Women are usually desirous of adding to their wardrobe any number of sarees when they go to a shop or an exhibition. You should have a reasonable number of sarees, but not a huge collection for pomp or show. Misuse of money is a great evil. Even men will have to do their own bit in controlling the expenditure on unwanted and unnecessary things. Money is Dhaivaswaroopam (Embodiment of Divinity). When you talk of wealth you should be careful to avoid avaricious accumulation and extravagant expenditure.”

During a Divine Discourse given in 1985, Swami gives a very sound advice: “A man should own only as much wealth as is essential. It is …...............................


04. During a Divine Discourse given in 1973 during the Summer Showers, Swami also impressed on the importance of valuing Time: “Time is moving away fast like the wind. The duration of our life is melting away like a block of ice. We will drop the body sometime or the other and leave this world without knowing the purpose of life. When life departs, the body will either be buried or cremated. What is distinctive of human life? Man must recognise the sacred task for which he has taken birth. If he spends his time only in fulfilling his sensuous desires, he will be wasting his life. The duration of a life is an important factor. Therefore, time should be used properly. Man is relying very much on his physical and mental strength. He is not making the slightest attempt to fall back on divine strength.

“Today, in the human heart, there is a huge fire. The fire of anger, the fire of lust, the fire of greed and the fire of attachment are always burning in his heart. He does not seem to realise that all these fires can completely consume him and reduce him to ashes. Unmindful of this, he carries on his life and makes grandiose plans for his future.

“Our birth, our life, our growth, our decadence and our destruction are all a result of passing time. Night following the day and day following the night are also a consequence of passing time. When it is day time for us in India, it is night time for people in America. For half the earth, it appears as day while for the other half, it is night. The earth itself is teaching us a good lesson by exchanging the darkness, of one half with the brightness of the other half. In spite of this lesson, we believe that our life is unchanging and permanent. This is ridiculous. That we change from boyhood to youth, from youth to old age is illustrative of the fact that passage of time brings about changes in us.”

According to Swami, “Our primary objective should be to recognise the nature of time and utilise it in a sacred manner.” Swami also alerts us: “Any work, which has no specific .................... means wasting time.”


05. In the Gita Vahini, Swami makes us ponder even more deeply on the matter of time: “If you fritter away your time and energy in vain pursuits thus, what for is your human birth? What will happen to you in future? Did you ever ponder over this? Time is the measure for human life. Time is the most precious aspect in human life. Don’t waste time.

“Man has to perform karma in this karmabhoomi (field of activity) right from birth to death. In fact, the human birth has been given to us to perform karma. We are, therefore, engaged in performing various karmas continuously. But, very few make any effort to enquire from themselves whether the karmas performed are satkarmas (good deeds) or not. One has to strive to sanctify his time right from childhood.”

Then, during the 1990 Summer Showers, Swami alerts us more: “Only when the body is strong, healthy, and happy can you enjoy the proper state of balance in life. Man’s life is wasted in brooding over the past and worrying about the future. What is the root cause of man’s sorrow and sickness? Not being content with what he has, and hankering after what he does not have, man forfeits peace of mind. There is no need to think about what is past or about what is in store in the future. Of what avail is it to think of the past, which is irrevocable, or to worry about the future, which is uncertain? It is a sheer waste of time. Past is past, future is future. You can do nothing about either. What is most important is the present. This is not ordinary present. It is Omnipresent. The result of the past and the result of the future are both present in the present. You are reaping in the present what you had sown in the past. And what you are sowing in the present you will reap in the future. Thus, both the past and the future are contained in the present only. So, make the best use of the present. Give up all sorts of worry and lead ideal lives leading to immortality and fulfilment of the purpose of human life.”

According to Swami, “In one's life, the years ..................... are the most precious. This is the period when all of one's faculties and energies are at their peak. Hence one should strive to make the best use of this period.”

06. During a Divine Discourse given during the 1990 Summer Showers, Swami gave priceless advice on how one should have value for food: “It is only man that is endowed with the capacity to discover his Divinity. In this context, food habits play an important role. Out of 84,00,000 living beings on earth, 83,99,999 species of creatures like insects, birds, animals, and beasts, etc., live on what is provided by God in Nature, and hence they do not generally suffer from any diseases. Man is the sole exception in this regard. By becoming a slave to his palate, he relishes only cooked and spicy foods of various kinds, without realising to what extent such foods are curtailing his own longevity.

“Besides this, it is significant to note that those who live on vegetarian food are less prone to diseases whereas non-vegetarians are subject to more diseases. Why? Because animal food is incompatible with the needs of the human body. Doctors speak about proteins being present in non-vegetarian food, but the fact is that there are better quality proteins in food articles like vegetables, pulses, milk, curd, etc. Non-vegetarian food not only affects man’s body but also has deleterious effect on his mind.

“Food, Head, God - these three are interrelated. By consuming animal food, animal tendencies are aroused. As is your food, so are your thoughts. Men today are behaving in a manner worse than that of wild animals in the forest. They have become cruel, pitiless, and hard-hearted. There is no sympathy or understanding even between man and man. The main reason for this condition lies in the kind of food that is consumed. Students, be careful about the food you eat. See that it is conducive to your health and happiness.”

According to Swami, “You should partake of only sacred food. Only then you will have sacred feelings. For sacred thoughts and sacred deeds, sacred food is essential. In order to have sacred feelings, apart from partaking of sacred food, you also need to have .................”

07. During a Divine Discourse given in 1969, Swami expands more on the topic of having self-control on food: “There is an axiom believed in by men of old, which says: 'One meal a day makes a Yogi, two meals a day make a Bhogi and three meals a day make a Rogi. Yogi is the contented God-centred man. Bhogi is the man revelling in sensual pleasure. Rogi is the man ridden by illness. Yes. The quantity of food intake by the well-to-do is now much beyond essential requirements. Over-eating has become a fashion.

“The breakfast does not serve to break any fast, for there has been no fasting at all! It is as good as a full meal. Lunch is pressed in and consists of many dishes, chosen for the palate rather than to assuage hunger. Tea is tea only in name; it includes rather heavy fare, out of all proportion to the needs of the body. Dinner at night is the heaviest meal and includes the largest variety and so one goes to bed, weighted with unwanted stuff, to roll from side to side, in a vain effort to get a few minutes of sleep. The shortage of food grains is mainly due to bad and wasteful eating habits; it can be set right, and people can live longer and more healthily, if only they eat the minimum, rather than fill themselves with maximum.

“The body is a chariot, wherein God is installed, being taken along in procession. Let us consider some points on which we have to be vigilant, in order to avoid breakdowns on the road: Fast one day in the week. This is good for the body as well as for the country. Do not eat a dozen plantains, half a dozen puris and drink a quart of milk and call it a fast! Take only water, so that all the dirt is washed away. Do not crave for fruit juice or other liquids. Even physical machinery is given rest; they cannot run forever, continuously. What then shall we say of this delicately organised human body! It is not a sign of culture to overvalue the body, by over indulging in its whims. It is a sign of barbarism.”

According to Swami, “Illness is the inevitable result of idleness and indulgence; health is the inevitable consequence of ........................

08. During a Divine Discourse given during the 1990 Summer Showers, Swami also talked about the importance of not wasting energy: “A balance has to be maintained between individual interests and national interests. Everything in life depends on maintaining the proper balance, whether it be walking, sitting, cycling or driving a car. Today this balance has been lost because of excessive knowledge and its misuse. If knowledge is to be put to right use, it should be transformed into skill. However, instead of skill, young people in particular are killing knowledge. You are wasting knowledge and energy in seeing, hearing, talking, thinking etc., in wrong manner and in excessive measure. Therefore one of the items in the 'Ceiling on Desires', says: 'Don’t waste energy.'

During a Divine Discourse given in 1999, Swami elaborated more: “Do not waste energy! Energy is God. Today, students are wasting a lot of energy through unsacred vision, bad thoughts, bad hearing, and excessive talk. Our body can be compared to a radio. When the radio is turned on continuously, the cells get discharged quickly. Likewise, if you indulge in excessive talk, you will be losing a lot of energy. That is why the ancient sages and seers used to observe silence. So, conserve energy by observing silence at least one day in a week. I often tell the students, talk less and work more. Only then the latent energy develops. This was the sole aim of sages and seers in undertaking various spiritual practices. Once the latent energy develops, your memory power as well as the power of concentration will increase.

“Some students are not able to perform well in examinations because they are not able to concentrate even for a moment. They are constantly engaged in listening to radio news, cricket commentary, etc. with the textbook in their hand! With such distractions, how can they concentrate and retain their memory? In olden days education was imparted to students in the gurukulas. Students had to rely entirely on their memory power and concentration to acquire knowledge, since there were no papers, pens, pencils, etc. to jot down what the teachers would teach. Their learning consisted of merely listening to the teachers, yet they could acquire high education. Though the modern students have access to papers, pens, etc., they fail to excel in studies because they lack concentration and memory power.”

Swami then said: “The modern system of education has become computer-oriented. There is craze for computers everywhere. You are not a computer. You are a .....................”

09. During a Divine Discourse given in 1994, Swami summed it all up so that parents can teach the benefits of self-control to their children at an early stage: “Ceiling on desires is a must for leading a peaceful and meaningful life. You must curb the desire to seek more and more wealth and turn your effort to realise the Reality within. In pursuing this effort, you must avoid waste of food, money, time, energy and knowledge as all these are Forms of God.

“Besides observing the ceiling on desire, students should also practise the discipline of seeing no evil, hearing no evil, thinking no evil and doing no evil. Only when children are taught these good disciplines in the formative stage, they will grow as good persons. By leading a life without discipline, students will practically be like cars without brakes which will spell danger to the occupants. Sense-control is an essential requisite for students who are in the vulnerable stage of succumbing to the temptations of sensual pleasures.

“You must teach them how to talk softly and sweetly while adhering to truth. Some mothers complain that their children don't listen to their advice and retort- 'Don't talk. I know.' For this situation, the mothers alone are to be blamed because this is the result of their having allowed indulgence to their children in the earlier stages. From childhood, good things should be taught to them. When they send their wards to school, their responsibility does not cease. They should take care to ensure that not only they study properly, but develop good behaviour, respect for parents and elders, speaking the truth and avoiding unrighteous actions.”

During a Divine Discourse given during 1973 Summer Showers, Swami guides parents further: “In order that we may control our senses, we have to control our attachments or desires for material things. Today, young people do not understand what is meant by going close to Atma. They are vitiated by material desires and due to lack of guidance at home they are unable to distinguish between good and bad. On account of bad company and by witnessing inconsistent stories which are portrayed in our cinemas, our young people are involved in developing blind lust, arrogance and greed. They are becoming proud of the little knowledge they acquire. They do not have humility, with the result that they are developing into undeserving citizens of this great country. Thus they are ruining themselves. You must dedicate your life to truth and promote prosperity of the world and thus spend your life in a fruitful manner. The easiest way to control sensuous desires is to practise altruistic love.”

According to Swami, to realize our divinity, the Vedanta has a fool-proof method where man can have his cake and eat it too! “Material objects can be enjoyed with a sense of detachment and ...........................”

10. During a Divine Discourse given during the 1979 Summer Showers, driving the message further on the lurking dangers of desire and anger, Swami gives us an excellent example from the Mahabharata:

“Krishna taught Arjuna, 'Desire and anger, born of rajas are the greatest enemies of man. They stifle his innate goodness. Out of the three basic traits in man, the rajasic and the thamasic traits oppose his interests. Kama or desire, derived from Rajas, knows no satiation, even as a raging fire does not. It shakes man’s inner poise and leads him astray. It creates a breach in man’s heart and enters therein. After its entry, anger and the attendant vices join the invasion and steal the jnana rathna (jewel of wisdom) kept therein.

“Desire makes man forget his real nature and reduces him to the status of a beast. It robs him of all his virtues and jeopardises his honour and reputation. Arjuna! This battle is not an accidental happening. You have yourself been making preparations for it for several months. Even during the year of your incognito existence, you were aware that a satisfactory agreement with the Kauravas was impossible; and seeing no way to peace, you had corresponded with friends and relations seeking help and assistance in the war. You had even tried to prevent Me from going to Dhritharashtra to negotiate for peace and had maintained that war was inevitable.

“Your sudden decision not to fight, clearly indicates that some powerful force is shaking your confidence and making you alter your prior decision. This force obviously is desire. Turn this desire Godward and perform actions as offerings to God. It is futile to waste time by pondering over the matter any further. Realise the immanence of God and perform your duty.

“Although I have no desire and am not bound by karma, I undertake work. I have entered this battle and become your charioteer not because I do not have horses of my own to look after, but because I have vowed to restore dharma. Arise, Arjuna! For the peace and prosperity of the world, the clash of arms and the shower of arrows are inevitable.”

Swami clarifies: “The ways of God are inscrutable as well as inexplicable.....To understand God’s nature, man has to develop universality of outlook and cultivate the all-embracing concept of ..................”

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- Heart2Heart Team



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