The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
“The Art of Living”
July 11th, 2004
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Bhagavan wants everyone to be independent
Before I get on to the topic for today, I wish to answer a question from a boy, aged 19, from Brazil. The question seems to be simple, but it is causing him confusion. He wants some kind of advice. The dilemma which he is facing right now is the following: his father wants him to take up a job, stand on his own feet, earn money and share that money with poor and needy people, making donations to charitable trusts. That is what his father desires for him.
This boy says that he wants to study some psychology (the science of the mind), and to know his true nature. He wants to know who he is, and he wants to see himself in everybody. His interests lean towards the spiritual side. “What am I to do?” That is the question he has put to me.
What are Swami’s views on this? Does Swami say anything about a young person getting a job? The answer is this: Bhagavan wants everyone to stand on their own feet. He does not appreciate anybody leading the life of a parasite, the life of dependence. A number of educational institutions have been started so that the boys and girls who come out of these institutions will earn their own living by securing a job. He doesn’t want anybody to depend on anybody else. The job of a student is to do his studies most sincerely, and then secure a job, in order to stand on his own two feet. Only after having achieved this, should he think of anything else.
If psychology is going to make him independent, rather than dependent on his parents, well and good. The confusion is this, my friends. (I think we discussed this point some time ago.)
Life is transcendence
There are two extremes in life. One extreme is total indulgence, meaning that one’s bank account is the aim of life. The flats and the plots, the houses, the jewellery, cash, and the bank account are the be-all and end-all. Positions of authority, influence and command are the objective in life. Total indulgence is one extreme.
But that’s not the end of life after all. There are many people who, although in high positions, are miserable. There are many people who are rich enough, yet still miserable. They realise at some point that there is a life beyond what they have been into till then. In other words, the position, the money, the influence are not the be-all and end-all in life. That’s what the people of this extreme of total indulgence should know.
The other extreme is avoidance. “I don’t want life. I don’t want this body. I don’t want position. I don’t want this job. After all, what is life? After all, what is food? After all, what is nature?”
This is avoidance. This is also bad because the whole Creation is a representation of God. The body is a gift of God. Life is a gift of God. Nature is a manifestation of God. God manifests His nature through Nature. As a result, we cannot deny Nature. We cannot reject life. We cannot neglect the body. So, the extreme of avoidance is also wrong. Those who choose avoidance forget the fact that the whole of experience is Divine.
Spirituality is neither indulgence nor avoidance. Then what is spirituality? Spirituality is transcendence. It is neither indulgence nor avoidance. It is transcendence. The spiritual man transcends both indulgence and avoidance by establishing a sort of balance between the two. He is in life, yet beyond life, like a boat which is present on the surface of the water; like a lotus flower, which floats over the surface of water. So we can be in life, but need not be of life.
The answer I can give to this young man is not to deny himself life and its opportunities, yet not to be confused by the extreme of avoidance. We should be able to create a balance between indulgence and avoidance. We are in this world, yet we need to know that there is something beyond it.
I think that would satisfy him. The immediate thing he should do is to take up a job. I can tell you what Swami said in this connection. Baba said that we have to consider this world to be a dream. The world is a dream. How is this possible? Is this a dream? Yes, it is. If we consider this world as the reality, if we identify with the world, we become worldly. We are worldly because of our identification with the world. Bhagavan wants us to consider this world to be a dream. To explain this line of thought, I will share with you the following points.
Life is a dream -- realise it
During the night, I had a dream. In the dream, I had a big mansion with palatial buildings, spacious halls, swimming pools, and a music room. I enjoyed the whole dream last night; but in the morning, I woke up to find myself in a congested room, where there is not even enough space to walk. This is reality. When the dream is over, you come into this reality. When you go into the dream again, this reality becomes a dream. The day becomes a dream during the night, and the night becomes a dream during the day. That’s why Baba says, “This is a daydream, and that is a night dream.”
Baba says, “‘Life is a dream, realise it.” How to know that life is a dream? The only way is to know that this is a daydream and that is a night dream.
In the night when I dream, I don’t feel that I am a professor in the institute. I don’t feel that I am in the midst of mosquitoes. I don’t know whether it is pizza day or not. I live in that dream as if it is reality. We find some people crying and others smiling when asleep. Why? In the dream they won a big lottery - they won the jackpot, or they are listening to pop music - Michael Jackson. They enjoy the music. They feel that this is real. The dream appears to be real to the dreamer. To the dreamer, the dream appears to be reality. But the same dreamer, when he comes out of the dream into the waking state, understands that there is no building, no music, no swimming pool, no jackpot and no Michael Jackson. ‘Oh I see, that was a dream, ok.’
Now during the daytime, he talks to people and enjoys everything, believing that to be real. But at night, he goes to bed and starts to dream again, and then the daytime reality becomes a dream. Therefore at night, day becomes a dream, and during the day, night remains as a dream. So “Life is a dream, realise it,” says Bhagavan.
You are the truth of truths
This sort of realisation is absolutely necessary to maintain a balanced state of mind. The balanced state of mind is absolutely necessary. Bhagavan gave a beautiful example in the past during one of His discourses. The emperor Janaka fell asleep while seated on the throne in an open court. (We had one Prime Minister who always slept in the Parliament. (Laughter) Perhaps he was imitating Janaka!)
Maybe Janaka was very bored with the proceedings of the court, and for this reason he slept. Whilst he slept, he had a dream in which the neighbouring countries attacked his country. They attacked his country and he lost his kingdom. As a result, he was running along the street in rags. He had lost the kingdom, the throne, the palace, and all wealth. He was running on the street. He was very disgusted, very vexed, totally weak and very hungry. What was to be done?
In his dream, he approached a small hut, and there he begged for a morsel of food. An old woman came out of the hut and gave him food. When he was about to eat it, a dog came and took away the food. He started shouting and, in the meanwhile, he woke up to see all the people around him.
“I am sorry,” he said. “I am the king. I am no longer a beggar. I am lucky!”
Then he saw Vashishtha, a sage and adviser, and he asked him, “Oh Master, that was my dream and this is what I see now. Which is real?”
Vashishtha said, “Oh king, that was real when you were dreaming, whilst this is real now that you are awake. But neither that nor this remained permanently. However, you continued to be then, now and forever. You dreamt then; you are experiencing this now. You remained the same in both states. In the dreaming state and in the waking state, you remain the same. You are the Truth of truths. Understand this: That is the night dream; this is the daydream.”
The art of living is the maintenance of balance
Therefore my friends, we will not be emotional; we will not be sentimental. We will not be frustrated; we will not be mad at the world. We will not be depressed; we’ll not have psychological problems. We’ll never be revengeful; we’ll never be inimical if we learn the art of living.
What is the art of living? The art of living is the maintenance of balance. The art of living involves the realisation that this life is a dream. The art of living wants us to know that the day is a daydream and the night is a night dream. This is the first lesson we have to learn about the world we live in.
Divinity is beyond name, form and action
Bhagavan said that the world we have, has three components. What are they? The first is name. Everything in this world has a name. Every object in this world has a name. Second, all that has a name has a definite form.
The third component is action. Everything acts. Everything goes on changing. Everything is involved in action. Everything is dynamic. Everything is active. Everything is action-oriented, whether we are aware of this or not. Even the inanimate objects are active. Because we do not see that which happens within, we describe an inanimate object as passive, dull, inert. This is nonsense. We know it is not like that. Even stones are active. The electrons, neutrons and protons go on revolving in their orbits at high speeds.
This world has three components: name, form and activity. Bhagavan has said, “When you go beyond the name, form and activity, you will know the basis, you will know the foundation. You will know the Primordial Principle, the governing principle, the mechanism, the mechanic and dynamic behind it.
Here is a simple example: A wheel is rotating. A bicycle wheel, or a car tyre, is rotating, revolving, moving. But the centre pivot is still. If it also starts moving, the man will end up in the hospital! (Laughter). That which does not move makes the rest move. Am I clear? That which is motionless is the cause for the movement of the whole wheel.
Similarly, when we understand what the world is - its constitution, its components, the name, form and activity -- on further investigation, we will come to know that there is something beyond, which is changeless, motionless, and stable. That something is what is called Divinity.
So, the Divinity, which is changeless, the Divinity, which is stable, the Divinity, which is motionless, is responsible for the wheel of time revolving, for the wheel of the world to move on and on to eternity. If you think the wheel is moving, you know only part of the truth. If you know the centre, which does not move, as well as the wheel, which moves, you know the complete truth.
A non-dual mind thinks of the manifested and the unmanifested
If you know only part of the truth, you know a distorted truth or half-truth, and experience a dual mind. The one who knows a half-truth has a dual mind. If he sees only the wheel revolving, he knows only half the truth. But if he sees the pivot that doesn’t move, as well as the wheel which moves, he knows the total truth or full truth. The non-dual mind knows the full truth.
So my friends, we have two types of awareness, mentality, or mind. There are those who say, “Never mind.” I don’t have anything to talk about with them. (Laughter) If we consider the mind, let us know whether this mind is a dual or non-dual mind.
A dual mind thinks of that which is apparent, which is conspicuous, which is seen; whereas, a non-dual mind thinks of the apparent and the non-apparent, the seen and the unseen, the manifest and the unmanifest, the Creation and the Creator. Am I clear? This is the non-dual mind.
So Bhagavan wants us to develop a non-dual mind in order to see both levels of awareness. This is what Bhagavan says about the world. To sum up, (being a teacher for four decades, I can’t help repeating and summing up) Bhagavan has made two points about the world:
1. This world has three components: name, form and activity.
2. We have to consider our life on this earth as a dream.
the Body is given for our use by God
Now we pass on to the next aspect. In this world, how do we move about? How do we function? We move about in this world with the help of this body. Does anybody move without the body? (Laughter) If anyone would move without a body, we would fear him. We would call him a devil or an evil spirit. We move and function with the use of this body. Whether it is efficient or inefficient, competent or incompetent, is a different matter. So, in this world, we are a functional being in a body.
The body is a vehicle. The body is an instrument. The body is an expression of the life principle behind it. The bulb is an expression of the underlying current. Sound is an expression of the underlying amplifier. Similarly, the body is an expression of the underlying life principle - the Divine principle.
“I don’t care for the body.” “I don’t dress my body properly.” “I don’t maintain my body.” “I don’t care for my body.” These are expressions of carelessness, not religion. This is negligence, not religion. One has to maintain the body in perfect condition. You are not the owner of the body, and therefore do not have the right to spoil it. This body is given to you for your use by God.
the Body is God’s gift and must be maintained properly
God wants you to maintain your body properly. He doesn’t want your body to be in pieces, as the result of an accident or other such unfortunate incidents. That’s why Swami will never want anybody to fast too severely. Swami tells those who go on a fast to eat well. Bhagavan is just as considerate as the previous Avatar, Shirdi Sai. “First eat, and then come to Me,” said Shirdi Sai. “First eat, because I am in you. I am hungry.” (Laughter)
This Avatar, Sathya Sai, says, “Time for petrol. Go and fill up, and come back. Time for petrol.” Why? This body is His gift. We have to maintain it – keep it clean, keep it trim, slim, hale, healthy, and looking good. This is absolutely necessary. The maintenance of the body in perfect condition is an aspect of yoga. It is one of the objectives of yoga. People do so many yogic exercises and processes to maintain the body in its perfect condition. What does Baba say about the body? He says so many things. We will study these things one after the other. Every thought of His is so beautiful.
Body is the moving temple of God
The first point Swami makes about the body is: “Body is the moving temple of God.” Wow! No saint ever said that until now. No prophet ever said it until now. “Body is the moving temple of God.” The Bhagavad Gita said that the body is the temple of God.
Yes, that is there; but Swami added the word ‘moving’. The Bhagavad Gita said that the body is the temple of God. Baba said that it is the moving temple of God, because we are moving, you know. So this temple, which is in movement, cannot be neglected. If you want to travel in your car, the tyres must have enough air. You cannot travel in a car with a punctured tyre, can you? You cannot travel without lights, can you? You cannot travel with the brakes out of order, can you? The car should be in perfect condition.
The lights must be clear. Our eyes are like the lights of the car. They should be perfect. We should be able to see well. The four tyres, like the two legs and two arms of the human body, should be in perfect condition. If this or that is fractured, you cannot move freely. So the four tyres should be perfect.
The horn should be in good condition also. Speech is like the sound of the car horn. “Sir, I can’t talk.”
“All right, don’t talk. The other fellows will talk on your behalf.” So, the horn also should be in working condition.
The brakes should be in working condition also. “Sir, I’ve got to check the brakes. Better you don’t start yet.” Brakes provide the control, the self control. I should be able to control my body. I should be able to control my mind. The accelerator that would speed things up is my mind, which goes on thinking, running at terrific speed, faster than light!
The gift of God, the human body, has to be maintained in a perfect way, just as one maintains one’s car wherever possible. That’s the reason why Swami wants students either to do yogasanas or go for a morning jog; do exercise drills or play a sport. Every fellow must participate in physical exercise. No student can sleep in. The teacher will wake him up to go jogging. I think most of you know that there are marks for jogging in the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. There is a component in the assessments for physical exercise. That component is comprised of yogasanas, exercise drills, sports and games. Marks are given for each component and these are added up to make a grade.
Bhagavan believes in total personality development, not merely intellectual development. Some people have a very good mind. They can think well. They can do research, but have never played a game in their life. They have lost the ability to have fun in life. They have lost the most valuable part of life. The body should be taken care of. Bhagavan has said, “The body is the moving temple of God.”
The body is like a water bubble
The second point that Baba has made is: “The body is a water bubble.”
What does this mean? A water bubble is so beautiful. It is so transparent, translucent, thin, filmy, nylon, and white. But such a beautiful water bubble may go at any moment. Finished! So when Baba says that the body is a water bubble, He speaks of its uncertainty. He doesn’t mean that you should think, ‘Oh, it’s just a water bubble, so I don’t have to care for it.’ No. You have to care for it, but in full awareness that the water bubble may vanish at any time.
One example: There was a very rich man. He had so much property that he did not know how much he owned. The end of his life was approaching. He did not want to die. Who is prepared to die, after all? We all die unwillingly, not by choice. (Laughter) And we also think that other people may die, but that we won’t. The others died because of lack of proper medical care and malnutrition, but we have extra nutrition and doctors all around us, therefore our life is guaranteed. That’s the normal state. This has been how humans think throughout the ages.
So this rich man wanted to live, although the end was approaching. But he was a great scientist. He immediately called ten people, who he made to look like him, by using the cloning technique. (Laughter) Some people say there are fifteen Bin Laden’s and fifteen Saddam Hussein’s. So this rich man used this technique to make ten people look exactly like him.
Somebody asked, “Sir, what are you doing?”
He replied, “When the god of death, Yama, comes to take me out of this body, he will not be able to find me. There are ten people who look like me, so instead of me, he will take someone else away. (Laughter) I want to confuse him.”
“Not only are you a rich man, you are also intelligent!”
So all the ten people were there, looking like each other, just like pieces of chalk.
Lord Yama, the god of death, came. “Arre! All ten people look exactly the same. They even have the same footprint. Xerox copies! (Laughter) What am I to do?”
The god of death is more intelligent that the rich man, who is supposed to die. How can Yama select? There may be a delay in the arrival of trains, but there will never be a delay in the arrival of the god of death. He keeps exact time. He is never before time, nor is he ever late. No.
Being more intelligent than the rich man, he said, “This is a very interesting case. I have put in millions of years of service. I have been able to take the right man to the right place for so long, but here I am confused. All the ten men look alike. I feel like declaring that the man who could plan this, that ten others look exactly like him, is great indeed. I want to reward him,” he said.
This fellow walks up to him immediately, (Laughter) and says, “I am the man.”
“OK, please follow me. Oh, you are the man! Come on. Follow me.” (Laughter)
So my friends, the body is a water bubble. However intelligent we are, however well we want to manage and manipulate, the body cannot live for eternity. That’s why we are called mortals.
So the first point is that the body is the moving temple of God; and the second point is that the body is a mere water bubble. The second point speaks of the body’s transitory nature, of its ephemeral nature, of its changing nature, of its temporary nature. So the body is a water bubble. That’s what Swami has said.
Life is ETERNAL - body is temporary
The third point is that the arrival of the body is called birth, whilst the departure of the body is called death. No one dies. No one is ever born. That is the truth. Life is eternal. But the body is momentary. The filaments may get spoilt and the bulb is out of order, but the current is always there. Am I not right? Similarly, the electronic gadgets may fail, but the electricity continues to exist. In a similar manner, life is eternal, but the body is temporary.
Therefore what we have to understand here is that this body has been born in order that it will never be born again. You are born, not to be born again. If one is dying, he is dying so as not to ever die again. In other words, this human life should be the end of the cycle of birth and death. The lifecycle has two stages -- birth and death, that’s all. This cycle must be broken at some stage or another.
Bhagavan says, “This life is a newspaper. Today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s waste paper." Today’s newspaper seems so precious when we read it. Sometimes when a fellow is reading his paper, we lean on him so that we can read his paper also. The paper belongs to him, so I lean on him, and read whilst pretending to sleep!
The point is that life is to be spent in the full understanding, in the full awareness that the body is like a newspaper that becomes tomorrow’s waste paper, so that you will not be born again. That is the purpose of life. Bhagavan has said, “This body should not come back again. That is the aim of life.”
identification with the body is attachment -- identification with the mind is ego
And then there is another important point: “All right sir, I know this body is temporary. I know that I have to die someday. I am taking care of my body. Why should I think of the end of life? Let me enjoy this body. Let me be happy in this body.”
You may feel this way, but now consider what Bhagavan says: “There is nothing wrong with having a body. The problem is identifying yourself with the body.” There is nothing wrong in having a body. The mistake lies in identifying oneself with the body.
There is a world of difference. To think ‘I am the body’ is what is called ‘attachment’. To think ‘I am the mind’ is what is called ‘ego’. Identification with the body is attachment and identification with the mind is ego. Bhagavan wants us to be in this body, without attachment to it, and without attachment to the ego. Is it possible? What is the harm if I am attached? What is the harm if I am egoistic?
There is only a difference in the dosage of attachment and ego. All have a sense of ego. No man can say, “I have no ego.” Saying that ‘I have no ego’ is enough proof of the existence of ego! Ego is there. It is only a question of degree. That’s all. What is the harm if there is a sense of ego? What is the harm if there is attachment within me? As a result of the identification with the body, because I think I am the body, two evils have cropped up: ego and attachment. Ego and attachment are the by-products of body identification.
Bumps and jumps in life are due to ego and attachment
All right, what will happen when there is attachment and ego? What is the harm? The harm is that we’ll be living in the world of plurality, multiplicity, duality, complexity, misery, and tragedy. The dual experiences, to quote Bhagavan, are: “life’s bumps and jumps, lashes and slashes.” Bumps and jumps in life are only due to this ego and attachment.
If anyone comes and says, “You are great,” they may just be mocking you or having some fun. But the fellow, who has heard these words, feels that he is really great. He will look at the fellow who spoke this thinking, ‘Have you recognised it only today? I’ve been great all my life. Do you know that? You have only come to know my greatness today.’
That is ego, ego, ego - bloated and inflated ego. Say someone comes and says, “I have not seen any fellow more useless than you!” You will think, ‘I am useless?! All right, we’ll settle the matter in one hour’s time!’ (Laughter) You will be filled with feelings of revenge and anger.
So, the mind either boils or freezes, somewhat like water. Water, when heated, transforms into vapour - it boils. When kept in the refrigerator, it freezes and becomes ice. The mind is like that. Either it is in the form of vapour or in the form of ice. There is no middle state. The mind is always changing.
All are close to Swami
Swami grants an interview to someone. “You know, I got this interview,” the person says.
“Why should I know when you got an interview?” (Laughter)
This person continues disturbing everybody: “Look here, I got an interview you know. You know what He said to me? What He said to me is this….”
“Arre! I am not interested. I am not interested in what He said to you. That is purely personal. Why do you speak about that?”
Ego. Publicity. Suppose, out of innocence, he goes on telling me what Swami told him. I won’t allow him to complete his sentence. I interrupt him saying, “You know what He told me ten years ago?”
Arre! He has not completed relating his experience, because I start talking about my experience when he was only halfway through telling about his. The third man, the onlooker, becomes altogether mad! My friends, such is the mind.
I met one friend this morning. “Ah, life is not interesting,” he said.
I asked, “Why?”
“Swami is not talking to me these days.” Oh ho! (Laughter)
This is very interesting. Life is not interesting because Swami is not talking to him. Then I said, “I find life to be interesting even though He is not talking.”
“How is it possible?”
“When Swami talks to you, it means that He has identified you. When He is not talking to you, it also indicates that He has identified you, but now He is avoiding you. So both times He has seen you.” (Laughter) To avoid you, He must see you also. Am I not right? Without seeing you, how can He avoid you? He must see you first in to avoid you and see the person whom He wants to see.
My friends, this is all the play of the ego. To feel that one is great because he is close to Swami, to declare to everybody that he is very close, is all ego. His chapter is closed if he thinks like that. This thinking indicates poor understanding, total ignorance.
All are close to God. Please believe this. If anyone says that I am close to Swami, consider him to be from the lunatic asylum. If anyone thinks he is very important to Swami, consider him to be ignorant. He is foolish. Just excuse him, that’s all. All are important to Swami. All are close to Him. Please believe me. I’ll give one instance to illustrate this before I go to the next point.
Bhagavan has his own reasons for talking to people
It so happened that Swami wanted me to get somebody from my native place. “Please ask her to come here,” Swami said. I had no intention of bringing her here. What was I to do? But Swami insisted that I bring her.
I said, “Swami, the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) buses are on strike. How do You expect me to bring her here?”
It was a happy coincidence that the buses were on strike at that time. I took advantage of this convenient situation. Bhagavan said, “Stop this nonsense! The buses were on strike until yesterday evening. The buses have been running since last night. She must have arrived by now. You are doing some mischief!”
Further He added, ”There in the Poornachandra Auditorium, seated in the twentieth row, is the manager of the bus depot. He has come for darshan. I saw him. How can he be here if the buses are not running? Don’t tell me stories!”
That fellow is seated in the twentieth row! Nobody knows him, but Swami saw him and told me. I don’t take this just as an experience or a miracle. I take it as an indication that He knows everybody because all are dear to Him. All are His children. Depending on the urgency of a situation, He may talk to a few people.
A doctor may ask for one fellow to be admitted immediately to the hospital, to put him in the ward or ICU. (Intensive Care Unit) The others should not think, “That fellow in the ICU is very lucky.” (Laughter) Do you really want to be there in the ICU?
The doctor knows which case is most important and who is to be operated upon. Because the patient who is being operated on is so close to the doctor, do we say, “He is being operated on; he is a lucky fellow. Since he has not taken me into the operation theatre, I am not dear to him.” If any fellow should speak like that, what can you say? Pity him, that’s all.
So when Bhagavan talks to a person, He has got His own genuine reasons, which we do not know of and which are not within our understanding or comprehension. Our job is to have the strong faith that all are close to Swami and that all are dear to Him. He is not the exclusive right of anybody.
Body functions because of the mind behind
My friends, this body functions because of the mind behind it. Think about the latest car – a French car, a Jaguar, a Lincoln, or whatever. Don’t think I own one of them just because I have mentioned a few brand names. (Laughter) I do not. To date, I only have a beautiful bicycle.
Just for a joke, one day Swami said, “Come on, sit in this car,” and He gave me a good drive.
Well, innocently I said, “This car is very beautiful Swami. It is very nice.” I thought that I was complimenting Him. (Laughter)
But He said, “How do you know? You don’t have a car. How do you know this is a beautiful car? (Laughter) How do you know? You have no car. You don’t own a car. Why do say that this is a very good car? How do you know?”
I am a teacher. Teachers know. Immediately I said, “Having travelled in this car, I don’t need to think of any other car in this world. Having seen inside this car of Yours, having been in this car, why should I familiarise myself with other cheap varieties of cars.”
“Arre! What a knack it is! What an intelligent answer,” He said.
My friends, the car may be beautiful; the car may be in perfect condition. But it works because of the driver. Therefore, if one considers the body to be a car, the driver is the mind. But sometimes the drivers, hopeless fellows that they are, are drunk; sometimes they are confused; sometime they fall homesick and take the whole car to the other world. (Laughter)
The driver must listen to the master
Similarly, the driver of our car, the mind, is not managing this body properly. That’s why we fall sick or become mentally unstable - physical ailment or mental derailment. Something or the other happens because the driver is not strong. The driver is not alert. This mind should get to know itself. I shall explain this a little more.
I repeat once again. These talks are all taken from Swami’s discourses. They are not of my making. I am not that intelligent yet. I don’t want to be so intelligent either. It is enough if I understand Swami’s teachings and try to practise them a little.
Now, this mind, if it is not under control, if the driver does not listen to the word of the owner of the car, if the owner of the car says, “Take the car this way” and the driver drives that way, what will happen?
Every morning, Swami’s golf car driver is under full tension. You can see it in his face. People think that he is very lucky. But according to my calculations, he is a most miserable man. He has to follow Swami’s directions exactly. He doesn’t know from moment-to-moment which way Swami wants him to go.
So the driver may be an expert in driving. He might have had 25 years experience in service, but the owner of the car is the master. The driver should go as per the directions of the master – ‘this way, that way, and under no circumstances stop there.’
Suddenly Swami will say, “Stop here. I’ll get down now.” When He is about to get down, He will say, “Why did you stop? Come on, proceed further.” So our prayer may be anything, but not to be the driver of Swami’s car! (Laughter) At least, Swami, please exempt me from that post. We have enough tensions. I couldn’t bear that stress.
The point is that the driver has to listen to the master. Similarly, the body is a car, the driver is the mind, and the master is the witness, the soul, the spirit, the conscience or Atma. You may call the master the Atma, or consciousness, or the soul, or the spirit. So the master will tell the driver, “Go this way.” But unfortunately our driver does not follow the master’s instructions. He is driving wherever and however he wishes. (Laughter)
So the master understands that this fellow is not going to follow him anyway. “It’s all right. As I have not met with an accident thus far, let him take the car anywhere, until the petrol is exhausted.” Thus the driver forgets the presence of the master. He is simply driving the car around the world in eighty days, enjoying a wonderful journey all the way. So my friends, this is our journey today.
Watch your mind
Baba wants us to know that the driver, the mind, should be aware of the presence of the master, and that the master will always look at the driver to see whether he is driving in the right way or not. Similarly, in one sentence Baba says, “Watch your mind.” Who am I to watch? Who is to watch my mind? How to watch my mind? What do you mean by watching the mind? I’ve been watching everybody else. How can I watch my mind? This is sadhana or spiritual practice.
A simple example: Somebody says, “Sir, I am having bad thoughts.” Where are the bad thoughts? Are they in the leg, or in the ankle, or in the stomach? (Laughter) They are in the mind. How do you know that there are bad thoughts in the mind? Has the mind told you? No. There is somebody else seeing the bad thoughts in the mind.
That which says that this is the mind, is the witness or Atma. The watcher or the master or the owner is the Atma or spirit or consciousness. So watch your mind. To put it directly, as thoughts flow, watch continuously.
Now a thought came. Yes. The thought is, ‘North Indian canteen opens at 11.30; foreigners’ canteen will close at 12 o’clock; I must run for darshan at 2 o’clock.’ Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts! Arre! ‘Reservation with the airlines is yet to be confirmed.’ ‘A problem exists in the office.’ Thoughts follow no sequence. A thought will just suddenly emerge, and then another and another. Thoughts are not necessarily related.
Watch the flow of your thoughts. ‘Oh, this thought came now. I see.’ Then comes the next thought. So, you need to observe your thoughts. (I think I am clear.) Observe your thought form also. Getting to know the sequence of your thought process is a meditation technique. The meditation technique is to be aware of the thought process, but we think the technique of meditation is to bolt the door from the inside, to sit straight on a wooden plank, until we have a backache, and until the first cup of coffee is ready in the morning. It is not so. Meditation is a process of cognisance of experiencing the mind and the flow of thoughts.
the purpose of meditation is withdrawal of the mind
Now the question arises, what will happen? Now I know what thoughts are coming. Some people have understanding, whilst others do not. Some people repent for having so many thoughts. Others worry about when the thoughts will stop. ‘Oh, thoughts are coming, one after the other! What will happen?’
By simply watching your mind, by becoming aware of the thoughts, they come to a halt. All thoughts come to a stop. All thoughts come to a total stop. When you are aware of your thoughts, they stop. The mind is gone. The mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts. Once you notice the thought process, the thoughts will vanish. This is what is meant by withdrawal of the mind or annihilation of the mind. The loss or disappearance of the mind is the result of true meditation.
Some people say, “In meditation, I see Swami here at the centre.”
Why not all over? Why only here at the centre?
Some people say, “In meditation, I see the colour blue, or the colour yellow.” Have your eyes tested. What is all this?
“When I meditate, I see Swami dancing.” Arre, arre! Your mind dances and makes Swami also dance! Why not? This is all the projection of your own mind. All the different colours that we experience, and all statements such as, ‘When I meditate, Swami is talking to me; Swami is saying this to me,’ all is the projection of the mind. (Excuse me, those of you who may feel hurt.) (Laughter)
Standard text Vedanta philosophy says, “All kinds of experiences that you speak of -- colour, appearances, form, dictation, commandment -- all are nothing but the projection of the mind.”
The mind is still in existence. So that cannot be the end of meditation; that cannot be the fulfilment of meditation. That is not the purpose of meditation. The purpose of the meditation or the fulfilment of meditation lies in the withdrawal of the mind, manolaya. That is the annihilation of the mind. That is the purpose of meditation.
samadhi is the no-mind state
“Sir, what’s wrong with the mind being there?” There is nothing wrong about it. No. When the mind is still there, if it is not withdrawn, you are still in the world, even if you are in a room locked up safely.
You are undisturbed in a room, but the mind is highly disturbed. It is the mind that is responsible for turbulence and disturbance. That mind has to be withdrawn. How to withdraw the mind? “Watch your mind,” says Bhagavan. Watch your mind. Watch the flow of thoughts. Then they will come to rest. Then the mind gets withdrawn. You will enjoy the state of bliss. That withdrawal of the mind or the no-mind state is called samadhi. Samadhi is the no-mind state, total withdrawal of the mind.
“Swami, please put it in a way that we can understand.” Swami has given one example. Our Swami is a very compassionate Lord. He has spoken volumes - all the Sathya Sai Speaks volumes. And in these, He has given one beautiful example. A naughty child is making lot of mischief, playing around; doing everything he is capable of doing, and shouting.
Do you beat the child? If you beat the child, the child will start crying, which is far more disturbing than the normal mischief. Now what should you do? Just watch the child, that’s all. Just watch the child with a stern look, a serious look. The child will notice and will realise, ‘Oh! Papa is serious.’ That’s all.
The child stops his mischief on coming to know that his mischief is being noticed by his father or mother. A serious look is enough. When you start looking at the child, the child will be on guard, and will stop behaving mischievously. The mind is like the child, playing and jumping all around. You can’t beat this child.
The mind cannot be controlled
There are some people who say, “My mind is uneasy. I’m not able to control my mind. The mind cannot be controlled.” How do you think you can control it? If you think you can control it, then it is not the mind. If you think you have controlled it, then once again it is imagination. Somebody said, “Sir, I have total control of my mind.”
I see. You don’t have any knowledge of control, because the mind cannot be controlled. If somebody says, “Sir, I have arrested the air.” Oh I see. I don’t think that we’ll meet later, thank you. (Laughter) You are already mad; don’t make me mad too!
Just as you cannot hold the air in your fist, just as you cannot stop the leaves of the trees from falling because of the wind, the mind cannot be controlled. “Oh, I see. If it cannot be controlled, what should I do?”
Divert the mind to sacred thoughts
You can divert the mind. Let me give you a simple example. The housewife is so serious. She is very disturbed. What does the husband do? He inquires about his in-laws as usual. “How is your father? How is your mother?” He has seen that her face is very serious. “I met your brother on the way. He is fine and he inquired about you”.
And then suppose she starts speaking seriously. This fellow will say, “Arre! I forgot the ice-cream I brought. I left it in my car.” Why does he do this? To divert his wife’s attention. We do it in the world, but we don’t do it for ourselves. That is the tactic.
When the boss is very angry with you, what do you do? You go to him and say, “Good morning, sir. Good morning. Just as I was coming, I ran into a friend who said that I was very lucky to be under such a boss as you, who is a man of discipline.”
The boss was ready to jump on you, but once you mentioned that somebody congratulated you on your position in his office, he felt very good and forgot his anger towards you.
Baba is the master of diverting attention. He is the Master of masters. Here is a simple example: I’ve got so many problems. I feel like crying, and am waiting for an opportunity so that I can cry in front of Swami, and get this problem solved!
He won’t look at me for two days. He doesn’t want to disturb this gas cylinder! (Laughter) Now what happens on the third day? Instead of worrying about my worries, I worry about the possibility of Swami looking at me or not. I’ve been very worried about my problems until now. This cylinder is being kept like that. It is undisturbed, unopened, but now I start getting diverted: ‘Swami is not looking at me. Is He angry with me by any chance? Why should He be angry with me?’ My attention has been diverted. Now I am preoccupied with thinking whether He will look at me or not.
On the fourth day, He will give me a half smile. ‘Ah, so I am not at fault! Baba is not angry with me.’ Or, ‘Baba is pleased with me.’ Then He will give a full smile. Then He will just pass by in His car there, just looking deeply into my eyes. I go home filled with satisfaction.
My wife will ask me, “What about this problem?”
“Oh, I forgot about it,” I will say.
Arre! I went there with all these problems. What happened? The problem remained as it was. But Swami’s half smile took my mind away from it. This is ‘Divine Technology’ – DTech. We know of MTech, but this is DTech, Divine Technology or the diversion of attention.
Similarly, we cannot control the mind. We can only direct or divert our mind. Think of Swami. Think of God. Think of sacred things. Continue to you watch the flow of thoughts. Eventually it will come to a total halt. That’s called the withdrawal of the mind or the samadhi state. That is the blissful state.
There will be more of the mind’s vagaries next week. Thank you for your patient listening. Thank you very much.
Asatho Maa Sadgamaya
Thamaso Maa Jyothirgamaya
Mrityor Maa Amritham Gamaya
Om Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti