How to develop our character: A story of Shirdi Baba devotee Das Ganu
Puttaparthi, Sai Kulwanth Hall (1996 Special Discourses )
Man’s character can be developed to some extent through proper words, actions and behaviour. Once when Baba was in Shirdi, there was a devotee by name Das Ganu. He used to work in the Police department. Baba used to celebrate Sri Ramanavami and Moharrum together whenever they happened to occur on the same day. However there were differences amongst the Muslims and the Hindus of Shirdi. In such times Das Ganu was posted in Shirdi on duty. Then Baba spoke to Das Ganu and said, “Das Ganu, you sing well. Please sing a song.” Das Ganu sang very melodiously. Later Das Ganu prayed to Baba to keep him in Shirdi permanently. Then Baba said, “Who is stopping you? You can stay here. Neither this body nor this place not even the village belongs to me. So you too can stay here.” “But will you stay here?” asked Baba. Das Ganu replied, “Certainly. I will come and stay here permanently.” Das Ganu forgot about it. Soon after the function, he left the job and returned to his village. While leaving for his village he came to Baba, bowed and said, “Baba, I have been waiting for a promotion in this job for the past three years. I want it only for my honour but not for the monetary benefits.” “So will you come after you get the promotion?” asked Baba. Das Ganu said that if he gets a promotion, he will most certainly come and settle down in Shirdi. Baba gave him leave to go. Das Ganu got a promotion order within a week of his joining the job. He got promoted as the Circle Inspector. Engrossed by his duties, he forgot his promise to Baba. Two years passed by. Again he came on duty during the festivals, Sri Ramanavami and Moharrum. Then Baba said, “Das Ganu, did you forget your promise?” Das Ganu said, “No swami I have not forgotten. But I aspire to perform better in this post and acquire the position of SP.” Baba gave him leave to go. By the time Das Ganu returned to his station, there were some stolen articles of gold in the station. The SP came to the station to enquire about those articles and checked the station thoroughly. He asked, “Where did you get these articles from? Who brought them here?” Das Ganu replied that he knew nothing about the articles. The SP questioned him, “You are in-charge of this station and in your station how can the articles be present without your knowledge?” The SP blamed Das Ganu with robbery. Then there were many enquiries regarding the articles. It was then that Das Ganu realised that these false charges and allegations were the result of his not fulfilling his promise to Baba. So he resigned from the post of CI and returned to Shirdi. Though God protects every person in many ways, it is the individual who begets the troubles on himself by forgetting his promises. Others do not give either pleasure or pain. Everyone is subjected to either pleasure or pain only due to their thoughts, words and deeds. (Man’s thoughts, words and deeds are solely responsible for the pleasure or pain that he experiences.)
Character is most important in human life00:02:22
Man’s life is made up of the three attributes. Losing such attributes, man loses humanness. Today the animals and birds seem better than man, who lacks the human values. Man is only human in appearance but not in his behaviour. Therefore good qualities strengthen human life. Life without character is life less. Amongst the human values, character is the true strength. Students and youth of present times must aim for attaining good character. One may be wealthy, strong and might be in a position of authority, but without good qualities, the position, wealth, strength or knowledge, all become useless. Character is very essential to recognise the humanness. It is the important human quality.
Lack of character is the main cause for world problems00:01:00
All over the world there is misery, fear and restlessness. What is the reason behind it? That country would be noble and great where in the young men and women are of perfect character. What is the main cause for the present plight of the country? The main reason is the absence of men and women with good character. It’s not the weaponry that protects a country, not even the atom bombs. The country needs the men and women of character.
Youth should have good character00:01:57
Youngsters! As Bhagawan said in the beginning, character is the most important thing. No one can excel the one whose character, behaviour and conduct are perfect. When ten of the youngsters go to a village for service, how should they conduct themselves? They should be very silent, peaceful and with a smile. One can smile but should not laugh loudly. They should not talk loudly disturbing the environment. When one gives in to the loud banter and laugh, the villagers may think that a gang of rowdies has come to their village and will be fear stricken. So they should not get a bad name. So, they should go with all humility and not engage in loud talk or bad looks. When one starts to work, there would be no need to talk. The one who talks will not work. The one who works will not talk. One should always remember this. A true worker will not talk while working, for, one cannot work while talking. Therefore, one should start a new chapter and learn to live purposefully hereafter.
Swami on the importance of character; Analogy from Ramayana00:07:16
One should not talk too much. Naturally, one loses one’s character by talking too much. People, generally, avoid those who talk too much. In ancient times people used to run away from a characterless person as they would from a serpent. When one analyses the life of any great person, one finds that it is their sacred character that made them great. Three fourths of character is life! In three fourths of human life it is the character that is very sacred. If one goes through the history clearly, one will certainly know how our ancients had complete control over their senses. A small example: King Janaka was ready to offer Sita in marriage to Rama after Rama broke the bow of Lord Shiva. Prior to the marriage Rama did not look at Sita even for a moment. Such was the greatness of Rama’s character that he would not look at any woman . The marriage is the responsibility of the parents and they would take care of it. He just remained quiet. When they sat near the altar for the wedding and got up to tie the sacred knot, Rama would look to his right when Sita happened to be on the left. King Janaka, who was sitting at Rama’s side, said repeatedly, “ Rama,here is Sita. You are looking somewhere else.” Rama did not listen to him. What was the reason? Rama had not yet tied the sacred knot and so would not look at Sita as she was not yet his wife!! This was the ideal that was propagated and demonstrated to the world by Rama!! All brothers behaved likewise. Lakshmana followed Rama to the forest, not for a day or two but for fourteen long years. Sita was also there in their company. Sita was very young at that time. She was eighteen years old. At that age, when she was accompanied by twenty year old Rama and Lakshmana for fourteen years, Lakshmana never looked at the face of Sita even for a second!! When Sita was abducted by Ravana, Lakshmana and Rama went in search of Sita. Hanuman and Sugreeva resided on a mountain. While being taken away, Sita, seeing a group of people on the mountain top, dropped the bundle containing her jewels. Rama and Lakshmana befriended Sugreeva while searching for Sita. They told Sugreeva the abduction of Sita by Ravana and their search for her. On hearing this Sugreeva brought the bundle of jewels to Rama and Lakshmana and asked them to verify if they belonged to Sita. Rama was not aware of the jewels of Sita. He then put the bundle in front of Lakshmana and said, “Lakshmana, do these jewels belong to your sister-in-law Sita?” Then Lakshmana said, “I know not to whom this necklace belongs to! I know not to whom these bangles belong to! But I know for sure the anklets belong to Sita.” Rama said, “How do you know that these are Sita’s anklets?” Lakshmana said, “I bow to her feet every day and used to see the anklets, hence I know that.” Although Lakshmana was with Sita in the forests for fourteen years, he never looked at Sita’s face. Because of their perfect character then, they are remembered even to this day. So for this youthful, noble and divine life, that gives all the brilliance and the crown of peace, one should protect and safe guard one’s character. One must, either man or woman, safe guard one’s character and deem it to be the very life.
Talking too much leads to loss of character00:00:50
One should not talk too much. Naturally, one loses one’s character by talking too much. People, generally, avoid those who talk too much. In ancient times people used to run away from a characterless person as they would from a serpent. When one analyses the life of any great person, one finds that it is their sacred character that made them great.
Lack of individual character leading to world problems00:00:37
When the individual is sacred, surely the society and the community will be sacred. When the society is sacred, the country will be sacred. When the country is sacred, whole world will be sacred. Today when one says that the world is not on proper lines, the mistake lies with the individual.
Character and discipline are two important qualities for any nation00:02:18
One may belong to any country, be of any age, and be in any position; it is the character and discipline that is most important. One should not bother about the questions regarding the code conduct for an American or German or Russian. One may belong to any country, but one is a human being first and belongs to the caste of humanity, religion of love and has the language of the heart. When one realises this truth, it does not matter to which country one belongs. One may belong to any country, at this golden age one should protect one’s character as one’s very life. In those ancient times young men and women, adhered to the principles of character and hence were highly reputed. History reveals this fact. What is ‘history’? ‘His’ story is ‘history’! Whose story? The story of the one with character is ‘history’! If one wants to belong to history, one has to protect one’s character. At this age if one maintains one’s character the progeny, the community and the country by and large will prosper.
Human character is most important00:01:29
The human heart which is so soft and tender has now become so hard. Why? The reason is our conduct. The good and bad of a country depends upon the behavior and actions of men and women. Once character is lost, life is lost. If money is lost, something is lost. If health is lost, something is lost. If character is lost, everything is lost. Therefore, we should take character as the most important virtue. That is what God expects from us - then, and now, and forever. Man does not recognize this truth, he is carried away by individual selfishness and self-interest. One has to kill this selfishness and self-interest. All are one - be alike to everyone. All are members of this family of God.
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