|Date:25 Dec 1994||Occasion:Christmas||Place:Prashanti Nilayam|
Spread the Message of Love
[Sai sings in Sanskrit:]
The Cosmos is controlled by the Divine;
The Divine is governed by Truth;
Truth is governed by noble beings;
The noble are the Divine Itself.
The entire visible cosmos is under the control of the Divine. The Divine is governed by Truth. That Truth is subject to noble beings (Uthamaadheenam). A noble person is the embodiment of God.
The human body, made up of the five basic elements and endowed with the five sense organs, is not different from the mind. The mind wears the body as a vesture. The mind, for its enjoyment, uses the body as an instrument. It is the cause of all experiences. A body without a mind is as illusory as a p on barren field. In ordinary life people regard the body as permanent and for the sake of its pleasures undertake all kinds of efforts. This is a sign of ignorance. A body without the mind is as useless as a school without a teacher and a temple without a deity. The body should be regarded as an instrument for right living.
Men are developing their intellectual abilities but are using their intelligence for wrong purposes. Knowledge without right action is useless. Mere action without knowledge is foolishness. Hence it is necessary to combine knowledge with cultivation of character.
The most important faculty in man is Prajna Shakti (the power of Integrated Awareness). lt is from Prajna Shakti that other powers like Ichcha Shakti (will power), Medha Shakti (intelligence), Vaak Shakti (the power of Speech) and Vicharana Shakti (the reasoning powers) are derived. This Integrated Awareness is sustained by thoughts.
The most important requisite for man in the world is truth based on thoughts. True thoughts constitute the proper wealth for Man. But, alas, modern man makes no efforts to cultivate good thoughts. The absence of good thoughts weakens the will power. With a weak will Man cannot accomplish even simple things. To achieve anything worth while in life Man has to strengthen his will power.
GOOD COMPANY AND GOOD THOUGHTS
It is well known that humanness thrives on good company and good thoughts. What good thoughts can achieve is illustrated by the life of a poor boy in Tamil Nadu, Muthuswamy Iyer. His father died at a very young age. The forlorn widow summoned the young man and told him that there were many poor people in the world who were suffering many hardships because they were not able to get justice. "Somehow you must pursue your studies so that you may one day provide help to these unfortunate people", she said. The mother's words strengthened the determination of the young lad. He pursued his studies diligently though he lacked many necessities. In the evenings he used to study under street lamps, as there was no light at home. He was solely inspired by his mother's good advice. As a result of this hard work, he graduated and secured a law degree. He dedicated himself to the service of the weak and helpless. His zeal and devotion resulted in due course in his becoming the first Indian Judge of the Madras High Court. Consider the lowliness of his birth and what eminence he achieved! It was entirely due to the noble thoughts he cherished and his strength of will. In many foreign countries, young men who started their lives as dishwashers, or newspaper vendors or shoeshine boys, achieved eminence as writers by dint of hard work and noble aspirations. Their achievements are entirely due to the ennobling thoughts which strengthened their will power and inspired in others confidence in their abilities. In Britain there was a poor youth named James MacDonald who used to help school children by writing the addresses of letters for them. As he wrote each address, he used to tell the boy, `God bless you.' He also used to tell them, off and on, "God is great". Often he had to go without food, but his heart was filled with noble feelings. Such a lad one day became the Prime Minister of Britain. Only his noble thoughts could have raised him from his poor state to the office of the Prime Minister.
THOUGHTS AND DESTINY
Man's bad or good fortune is related to his thoughts. Sowing the seed of thought, Man reaps the fruit known as Karma (deeds). Sowing the seed of Karma, Man reaps the fruit called Abhyaasa (Practice). From Abhyaasa, Man reaps the fruit of Character (Seela). From character one reaps the fruit of good fortune (Adrishtam). Thus fortune is based on character, which is based on good practices arising out of good deeds based in good thoughts. Thus, according to the development of good thoughts, one's good fortune will also grow.
Unfortunately, men today are deluded by bad thoughts and are engaged in evil deeds. They enjoy bad company and as a result come to a bad end. Everyone of you can experiment in a small way with the gradual elimination of bad thoughts. You will discover for yourself how your will power grows with the diminution of bad thoughts. Man has forgotten that the spiritual path alone will rescue him from the grip of insatiable desires, endless worries and numerous troubles. He is indulging in various malpractices. As desires multiply, the will power weakens and vice versa. You can find out for yourselves how when addiction to coffee, tea and smoking is reduced, the will power gets stronger. The results can be verified with just one week of practice. By addiction to various deleterious practices, man's will power and other faculties decline in strength. The will power should be strengthened by giving up bad habits and it should be directed towards social service.
JESUS AND SOCIAL SERVICE
Jesus exemplified the spirit of social service. The inspiration for this came from His mother, Mary. From His childhood Mary taught Him such good qualities as truth, kindness, compassion and justice. In His twelfth year, Jesus and His parents went to Jerusalem for a festival. In the crowds the parents lost trace of Jesus and searched for Him everywhere. Not finding Jesus anywhere, Mary sat under a tree and prayed to God to come to her help. At that moment a thought flashed in her mind that Jesus was perhaps in a nearby temple. And Jesus was there sitting in a corner of the temple and listening to the words of the priest. Mary affectionately rushed towards Him and embraced Him. "Child! What agony I went through on your account," she said. Jesus told her, "Mother, why should you have any fear? Those who believe in the world will have fears. But why should anyone believing in God fear at all? I am in the company of my Father. Why do you fear? You taught me that God is everything for us. How, then, can you worry like this?"
Jesus had learnt His lessons from His mother and developed His spiritual faith. After they returned from Jerusalem, Jesus felt that service to His parents was His foremost duty, because He owed everything to them. ln this spirit, He used to assist His father in His carpentry work. Joseph passed away when Jesus was thirty. He sought His mother's permission to devote Himself to the service of the needy and the forlorn. After leaving home, Jesus had Himself baptized by John. Then for forty days Jesus observed severe austerities without food and drink. At first He considered Himself as a "Messenger of God". After the penance He realised He was the Son of God. He began His ministry with a group of fishermen as His first disciples. He taught them that they should first seek the Kingdom of Heaven. To enter that Kingdom they had to cultivate loving hearts. Then, their hearts would become the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus further declared to them: "I and my Father are One".
What is it that men should acquire today? It is the broadening of the heart so that it may be filled with all-embracing love. Only then the sense of spiritual oneness of all mankind can be experienced. Out of that sense of unity will be born the love of God. This love will generate pure bliss in the heart that is boundless, indescribable and everlasting. For all forms of bliss, love is the source. A heart without love is like a barren land.
Foster love in your hearts and redeem your lives. Whatever your scholarship or wealth, they are valueless without love. Without devotion all other accomplishments are of no avail for realising God. Men aspire for liberation. True liberation means freedom from desires.
Today men cannot go to forests for penance or engage themselves in meditation and other spiritual exercises. The easiest spiritual path for all people is to dedicate all their actions to God.
ONENESS WITH GOD
Today we celebrate the birthday of Christ. It is said that when Jesus was born in a manger, three kings were led by a star to Jesus's place of birth. ln fact, they were not kings but three shepherds. One of them, seeing the infant Jesus, observed: "This child will be a lover of God". A second one said: "No. God will love him." The third one said: "Verily He is God Himself" .
The true significance of these three statements is: To love God is to be His Messenger. To be loved by God is to be a son of God. The final state is to be one with God. As Jesus said: "I and my Father are one". Thus all persons are messengers of God. This means that they should divinise themselves. When can men call themselves Sons of God? Recognize what pure actions are done by God, selflessly for the sake of all. There is no trace of self-interest in Him: Everything He does, says or thinks is for the good of others. On the other side, everything men do, speak or think is born out of selfishness. Men have become puppets in the hands of selfishness. Men can describe themselves as "Sons of God" only when they are completely free from selfishness and become Godly. To call yourself the "Son of God", you have to manifest the qualities of the Father.
(Swami referred to the Prahlada story and the emergence of the Lord from a pillar and pointed out the significance of the destruction of the pillar as a prelude to the manifestation of the Lord. Swami said the illusion relating to the body had to be destroyed for the Divine to manifest Himself.)
The body is no doubt essential up to a point. It has been given for the performance of right actions and to discover the Secret underlying action. The body (Kaaya), Action (Karma), the mystery (Marmam) and righteousness (Dharma) together signify the purpose of human birth (Janma). Today men are not aware of righteousness or the role of Karma. Of what use is human existence?
SPIRITUAL PATH IS NARROW
Do not give room for the waywardness of the mind. Purify the mind and direct it towards the righteous path. It is a strait and narrow path. ln the spiritual field there is no royal highway. The path is narrow because the goal is infinitely precious. Crowds swarm a fish market but only a few go to a diamond shop. The road to God is for the few who are genuine sadhaks. The birthdays of saints and prophets are being celebrated these days with feasts and festivities. This is not the way to celebrate them. The followers should live up to the teachings of their great Masters.
UNIQUENESS OF CHRISTMAS IN PRASANTHI NILAYAM
Christmas is celebrated today in many countries. In every country small groups of people go to their respective churches, listen to the sermon and return to their homes. In some places people eat, drink, and make themselves merry. But nowhere in the world can you find Christmas being celebrated with the solemnity and holiness obtaining in Prasanthi Nilayam. Here are gathered men and women from all countries. There are many denominations among Christians and the members thereof celebrate Christmas in their separate ways. Only in Prasanthi Nilayam do Christians of all denominations and men and women of other faiths join to celebrate Christmas. Here are devotees from Germany, Russia, Argentina, America and many other countries. They speak different languages. Prasanthi Nilayam has become a mini-world. All of them work in unison. You witnessed last night the beautiful play by children from so many countries. They conveyed the Divine Message so effectively. Here is a concrete manifestation of the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God.
People talk about brotherhood, but there is often no fraternal feelings among brothers even in one family. That is not the case here. Here you see brotherhood in action, from heart to heart and love to love.
Holy festivals are conducted in such an ideal manner only in Prashanthi Nilayam. Devotees should set an example of ideal living to the whole world.
MESSENGERS OF SATHYA SAI
Today, the former girl students of Sathya Sai College at Anantapur, who have formed an association called "Messengers of Sathya Sai" are observing their annual day. They are doing good service. They carry out the commands of Swami in the spirit and the letter. They are spread all over the world - Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and other countries. They come to Prasanthi Nilayam from these far off places out of their devotion to Sai. They are bringing their husbands and children also out of their deep love for Swami. They go out to villages and do various kinds of service there. They serve the blind and deaf and dumb children and make them self-reliant and useful citizens. They are carrying on their work wholeheartedly.
For the expenses of their travel from far off countries they save money from their domestic budgets. This is a sign of their dedication to God's work. In this manner the old students of the Anantapur college are leading exemplary lives wherever they are. In addition to all their multifarious household duties, they carry on their social service activities.
THE MESSAGE OF UNITY
In this cosmic university all are students. Hence everyone should render social service to the extent of one's capacity and spread Swami's ideals among all. There is nothing selfish in Swami's message. Hence anyone can spread it selflessly.
Sow the seed of love in your hearts and it will grow into a tree. GOD is one. Do not entertain any differences of creed or caste. Carry the message of unity to every home.
Embodiments of love! Regard love as your life-breath and as the sole purpose of your existence.
[Swami concluded His discourse with the Bhajan: "Prema Muditha Manasa Kaho: Rama, Rama, Ram !"]