|Date:15 May 2000 (PM)||Occasion:Summer Course||Place:Brindavan|
Divine Origin of Five Elements
Smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest
Brahman is all-pervasive eternal witness;
Brahman indeed is the Self
And the Self is Brahman.
Embodiments of Love!
The Vedas declare, Anoraneeyan Mahato Maheeyan (Brahman is subtler than the subtlest and vaster than the vastest). Human body is made up of five elements - earth, water, fire, air and ether. These elements are associated with five types of sensations, i.e., smell, taste, form, touch and sound. It is the presence or the absence of these five attributes of sound, smell, touch, taste and form that determines the pervasiveness of the elements. The earth, which has in it all the five attributes, is consequently quite heavy and has a highly restricted mobility. Symbolically, Krishna addressed Arjuna as 'Partha,' the son of earth. This term is applicable to every human being since all are born to mother earth.
The Elements are Aspects of God
The earth characterized by all the five attributes of sound, smell, touch, taste and form and is made up of all the five elements. It rotates on its axis and revolves round the sun. Though it rotates and revolves with great speed, the oceans, rivers, mountains, forests and countless other things that the earth carries upon its surface do not move. People marvel at this unique phenomenon. Though the earth is full of great power, it is subservient to the Will of God. It is the Will of God that maintains the balance of the earth and sees that things do not fall apart. The train runs on railway lines and carries the people safely. Imagine the state of affairs if the rail tracks were also to start running with the running train! It is the gravitational force that holds things intact while the earth rotates on its axis and revolves round the sun. Such a marvelous earth stands as a testimony to the supreme power of God. This powerful earth is a limb (Anga) of God. The organs of perception and cognition constitute the limbs of the human body; the body is a limb of the society; the society in its turn is a limb of mankind; mankind is a limb of the earth; and finally, the earth is a limb of God.
Water, which has four attributes, is devoid of the attribute of smell. So, it is lighter than the earth. Hence, it has the capacity to flow and move. Highly powerful fire is without the attributes of both smell and taste. Therefore, it is lighter than water. It has the capacity to rise as well as spread in all directions. Fire manifests itself as 'Jatharagni' (fire representative of the digestive power) in the body. It manifests as 'Badavagni' in water. It exists even in trees and stones. That is why we see sparks of fire when two stones are rubbed or when two branches of a tree rub against each other. The fourth element, air, is lighter than fire as it has only two attributes of sound and touch. This is the reason why it wafts about everywhere and is more pervasive than fire.
The fifth element, ether, is lighter than air and is most unrestrained in its capacity to pervade amongst the elements. The reason for this is that it is characterized by just the single attribute of sound. Where does ether exist? It exists everywhere because sound energy pervades the entire creation. It is said "Akasham Gaganam Soonyam" (ether is the empty vastness of cosmos itself). Sound is the unique quality of ether. Ignorant people think that ether exists high above in the skies. It is a mistaken perception. Ether exists wherever there is sound. As an example, you see that sound is produced when I strike my hand on the table. Ether is present here! So, wherever there is sound, ether is present there.
Man, Nature and God
God transcends these five attributes. He is consequently the subtlest of all, the lightest of all and manifests Himself as the One in all. With his hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth and ears pervading everything, He permeates the entire universe. The five elements: earth, water, air, fire and ether are all aspects of God. Since these five elements are of Divine origin, our ancestors worshipped them as the embodiments of Divinity. They adored them as the goddess earth, various goddesses representing rivers, the god of fire, the god of wind, and the god of ether.
First and foremost, our ancestors worshipped earth as Bhumatha (Mother Earth). Since the crops harvested from the earth sustained their lives, they worshipped it first. However, some modern scientists ridicule this idea of worshipping the earth as a goddess and regard Indians as fools. In fact, scientists are ignorant of the inner significance of things. To them, the study of matter is the be-all and end-all of every investigation and enquiry. They are ignorant of the essential principles of reaction, reflection and resound. When you hit a table, your hand starts paining; which means even the table hits you in turn. When you go near a mountain and make some sound, immediately you can hear the resound. Thus, you see that Nature is governed by the principles of reflection, reaction and resound. Likewise, man, who is the son of Mother Nature, is governed by these principles.
Every atom is permeated with Divinity. But it is difficult to recognize Divinity. Neither is it easy to say this is Divine and that is not. As the rays emanate from the sun, so does Nature originate from God. Nature is the reservoir of power and energy. When Nature, which is the creation of God, is so full of power, you may estimate for yourself the tremendous power of God! It is said that the workings of Divinity are most wonderful.
The stories of the Lord are most wonderful and sacred in all the three worlds. They are tike sickles that cut the creepers of worldly bondage. (Telugu Poem)
Lessen Your Burden
It is difficult to describe God. None can portray the full splendor of Divinity. Earth bears upon itself the immense burden of all matter and beings. Some people pray to Me, "Swami! I am a burden to this world by living on this earth. Put an end to my life." Will the earth's burden decrease a wee bit if I take away your life? The earth will remain as heavy as ever. Your life and death make no difference to it. It is only when you decrease your own burden that the burden of the earth will diminish. What is the burden that you bear? Your desires are your burden. It is said, "Less luggage more comfort, makes travel a pleasure". Hence, you should
make a sincere endeavor to decrease your burden or desires. It is only then that you cease being a burden on the earth. Any increase in your burden adds to the burden of the Mother Earth. In fact, it is not God who carries your burden. He makes each one carry his own burden.
Once, the Gopikas sang a song bringing out this subtle aspect of Divinity:
O! Krishna, can we ever know you?
You are subtler than atom and mightier than the mightiest.
You are the sustainer of the eighty-four lakh species.
Can we ever know you, O! Krishna?
It is impossible for anyone to fathom the depths of Divinity. Arvind (a senior student of the institute who spoke earlier) has prayed to Me to speak on the nature of the five elements. There is nothing in this world apart from the five elements and they are all pervasive. The entire cosmos is the Anga (limb) of God. The almanac, which contains information about the placement of heavenly bodies, is known as Panchanga. This also shows that the heavenly bodies are made up of Panchabhuthas (five elements), which form the Anga (limb) of God.
Sound is the attribute of ether. This sound is the primordial 'Aum', constituted by the three syllables A-U-M. You should listen carefully to this primordial sound Aum. Man is also the embodiment of this sound.
Make Proper Use of the Five Elements
Prana (vital breath) is a constituent of air. Life cannot exist without air. Your breathing process is marked by the principle of Soham. 'So' is the process of inhalation whereas 'Ham' is the process of exhalation. You inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. This conveys the message that you should acquire good qualities and give up bad tendencies. The process of eating and excreting conveys the identical message. You should accept the Phala (fruit) and reject the Mala (excreta). You ought to take in what is good and throw out what is bad.
Trees also teach the lesson that you should always do good to others. They take carbon dioxide from the environment and give out oxygen, which sustains life on the earth. Though born as humans, you do not bother to imbibe this noble message that the trees silently preach.
Fire, which burns everything to ashes, has a message to convey to all. The fire of wisdom burns to ashes all that is foul and evil. Though man has acquired secular knowledge, he disregards spiritual wisdom. Fire teaches you that the lamp of wisdom should be ever burning, kindling the spirit of man. 'Thamasoma Jyothirgamaya' (lead me from darkness to light). The fire principle is present in the human body as Vaishvanara and digests the food taken by man: Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva Praninam Dehamashrita. There is no room for Thamas (darkness) in the presence of fire. The lamp of wisdom dispels the darkness of ignorance.
The sacred name of Rama is full of power and illumination. The word Rama has in it three syllables: Ra - Aa - Ma. 'Ra' signifies fire. 'Aa' signifies sun and 'Ma' signifies moon. 'Ra', symbolic of fire, burns to ashes sins and sorrows and bestows happiness. It removes all sins, dispels darkness and gives light. 'Aa', representing the sun, destroys Thamas and brings illumination. 'Ma', signifying the moon, cools the blazing passions.
Water is the very source of life and vitality. If you sprinkle cool water on a person who has fainted, it revives his consciousness. The Prana Shakti (vital energy) contained in water is the cause for this. The earth, which bears on its surface trees, mountains, rivers and countless other things, is the source of food and energy. It sustains life.
Life on the earth has become complex in Kali Yuga. There are many easy avenues open to man for achieving liberation in Kali Yuga. But still, man is swayed by greed for wealth and materialistic acquisitions. He is taking recourse to cunning and easy methods of making money. A certain person advertised in a newspaper that the easiest way for destroying all mosquitoes was available with him. He assured the readers through the advertisement that he would destroy all the mosquitoes at their homes if people were prepared to send Re 1/- by money order to him. Carried away by this advertisement, many people sent money to him. After making a lot of money, he published his method of destroying mosquitoes on the earth. The technique recommended by him was that wherever mosquitoes were seen, they were to be crushed with a stone! This is the extent to which man has degenerated in order to make money in the world today.
Though man has made many innovations in various fields of life, he has not succeeded in getting happiness from any of them. What is the cause for this failure on the part of man? It is the lack of virtue that brings about failures. It is only good and virtuous conduct that can lift man from the mire into which he has fallen. Virtue is the very life of man.
Man's misadventures have created several problems for the entire mankind. He has polluted the five elements causing havoc on the earth. There is pollution everywhere -- in air, water, food and so on. His misdeeds coupled with his evil thoughts and feelings have degraded human life on the earth. If man acts in the righteous way, there will be no pollution at all. The water level under the surface of the earth is depleting because noble virtues like love and compassion have dried up in human heart. The five elements are sore with the offensive conduct of man.
There is nothing wrong with Nature. One with flaw in one's own vision sees flaws in others. There is nothing wrong with education or money. Mistake lies in man who puts them to misuse. Water acquires the color of the vessel into which it is poured. It looks red when poured in a red bottle and black in a black bottle. Similarly, there is nothing wrong with the human body. It becomes evil when associated with evil thoughts and pure when filled with pure feelings. The Age of Kali has become the age of Kalaha (quarrel). It is only the cultivation of virtue that can bring about some change in the present scenario. Make proper use of the five elements.You should sanctify yourself and the atmosphere around by chanting the divine name. What is the purpose of doing Bhajans? Chanting of the divine name purifies the atmosphere by sending sacred vibrations into it. These vibrations, set off by the chanting of the divine name, destroy evil and impure feelings deeply ingrained in man.
Work for Your own Emancipation
As is the fire so is the smoke; as is the smoke so is the cloud; as is the cloud so is the rain; as is the rain so is the crop; as is the crop so is the food; as is the food so is the man. It is most essential on the part of man to realize the significance of this cycle. The sun vaporizes ocean water. Though the water of the oceans is saline, the rainwater that falls from the clouds tastes sweet. Similarly, the saline water of bad conduct should be transformed into the clouds of truth by the sun of Buddhi (intellect). Then alone will the sweet water of Prema fall from the clouds of truth and virtue. This water of love will ultimately merge in the ocean of grace. Hence, you should make an earnest effort to transform all that is unclean into clean. The chanting of the divine name has the superlative capacity to sanctify the polluted atmosphere. Sacred vibrations set off by the chanting of the divine name are absorbed by man and transform his very nature.
Embodiments of Love!
You should lead a life of love. It is love, which makes you the embodiment of Divinity. My life itself is a living testimony to this eternal truth. It is love and love alone that is in Me, nothing else whatsoever. I may sometimes appear to be angry but it is also an expression of My love. When it rains, you see sometimes hailstones falling down along with it. But the hailstones are nothing but solidified water. Likewise, I may at times appear to be angry with you, but it is also out of love only. Whatever I do is good for you. I am full of love from top to toe. Follow the principle of love and sanctify the five elements with this love. Undertake good actions and do your duty. Uddharedatmanatmanam, one should work for one's own emancipation. Try to understand this philosophy of the Vedas.
You should try to follow the noble path laid down by the Vedas. The sacred Vedas, which were handed down to us by our ancient sages, ensure the welfare of the whole world. They bestow peace and happiness upon the entire mankind. The Vedas teach us that Divinity exists in the world as sugar exists in syrup. You cannot see sugar in syrup but it is there as the inherent sweetness. Similarly, God manifests Himself in the world. God is sweetness personified. Once you install God in your heart, all that you experience through your senses becomes nectarine. No one mixes sugar in the mother's milk to make it sweet. Sweetness is its very nature. As the baby drinks the mother's milk, as the bee sucks the nectar from flowers, so also man should absorb the sweetness of love present in fellow human beings. Though the flowers do not extend an invitation to the bees to suck their honey, the bees do so on their own. You too should go to good people and absorb the sweetness of their goodness. Remember that good company brings detachment; detachment destroys delusion, extinction of delusion fosters equal-mindedness, which bestows immortality on man. It is said, "Thyaja Durjana Samsargam Bhaja Sadhu Samagamam, Kuru Punyam Ahorathram" (discard bad company and join the company of the good, perform meritorious deeds day and night and sanctify your life).
The Malady and the Remedy
Human life is sacred and it is an immense good fortune to be born as a human being. But you are wasting this precious gift of human life by harboring evil thoughts and feelings. Sanctify your life with love and goodness. Today, you go to the extent of buying evil. It is nothing but sheer foolishness. You must realize the magnificence and the power of Love. Love has no form; it makes no demands. It neither borrows nor lends. It does not indulge in business. Love is Love. Love can be obtained only by Love.
The five elements are present everywhere. They are highly sacred. In fact, there is nothing bad in the creation of God. It is man who is responsible for turning everything good into evil in God's creation. Man should make a sincere endeavor to get rid of the vices in him. The remedy should be applied where there is a malady.
Once there was a man who had a son. He was the only son of his father. One day a scorpion bit the son. When the father heard the screams of his son he went to him and found that a scorpion had bitten him. He frantically ran to a doctor and said to him, "My son has been bitten by a scorpion. He's crying. Give him medicine." The doctor gave him an ointment and asked him to rub it on the place where the scorpion had bitten. He came back running to his son and asked him, "Where did the scorpion bite you?" "In that corner," the son replied. The father promptly rushed to the corner and foolishly rubbed the ointment there! The father did not have the common sense that be should rub the ointment on the body and not on the floor. Unfortunately, modern man is acting in the same foolish manner. He does not try to apply the medicine where the malady exists. You must use the remedy where there is a malady. Focus your attention on the vicious aspects of your own behavior instead of trying to find faults with others and God's creation.
Embodiments of Love!
Good and bad lie in your feelings. There is nothing wrong in the creation. So, develop good and divine feelings. Chant the divine name. That will destroy everything evil in you. Many people assert that they were very good in the beginning but bad company spoiled them. This is not true. Do not plead that you have become bad due to the influence of others. If only you had held on to your goodness, nothing would have degraded you. Hence, it is imperative that man should make earnest efforts to remain steadfast in his goodness.
Do not speak evil. Do not think evil. Do not do evil. Do not see evil. Do not hear evil. Keechaka had evil vision and was ultimately killed by Bhima. Kaikeyi, who heard the evil words of Manthara, earned a bad name for herself. Does anybody ever name his or her children after her name? Similarly, Duryodhana and Dussasana, who spoke evil and heard evil, were ruined completely in the end. Do not listen to evil talk and do not repeat evil and painful words, which you hear from others. If someone talks ill of your parents and you repeat his evil words to your parents, they would be hurt and pained. So, do not repeat evil words. This is a very important point you must take note of. Use your eyes to see good. You are born in this Prakriti, which is highly sacred. You have been given eyes not for roaming around and seeing anything and everything whatsoever but only to see God. The gift of vision should be used for seeing the good and the godly.
Nature is the Anga of Paramatma. It is highly sacred. You are a part of Nature. So, you should strive to merge into Paramatma. Nurture noble feelings of this kind and you will become divine. There is nothing bad in the creation of God. Change your attitude and you will see good in everything. Even when you find yourself in troubles say to yourself, 'This is good for me." Treat praise and blame with equanimity. By adopting this positive attitude, you will realize that there is no Yogi greater than you; there is no Thyagi superior to you; there is no one greater than you. When you investigate the truth about the five basic elements, you will find that they are all within you also. You should strive to make proper use of these elements and sanctify your life. Think of God incessantly. Sing His glory.
[Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, "Hari Bhajan Bina Sukha Santhi Nahin..."]