The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
“Questions from America”
August 3rd, 2003
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This is the third section in the series, if I remember rightly, covering questions put to me on a variety of topics. We started on the spiritual aspects last week. One question was dealt with then. Now I shall proceed with the rest.
For those who are here for the first time, we are dealing with questions put to me in the United States during my recent visit. I classified them under different headings - individual, social, organizational and spiritual. The final ones are the spiritual aspects, which I started answering last week.
We shall continue from there. The first question I covered last week, for your information, was “How to develop, protect and improve faith?”
“My Faith wavers - What should I do?”
“Sometimes my faith wavers. How can I make it steady? What should I do to make it firm?” A genuine question indeed!
Faith is a gift from God. Faith is not cultivated by man. Faith is a Divine quality. By constantly looking forward, by regularly praying to Him, by the process of meditation, and by the constant repetition of His Holy Name, we strengthen our faith. The source of faith is God Himself. When the source is God, when we pray to Him, naturally He will help in its sustenance and maintenance. That’s one thing.
The second point is this: Do not mix with those who do not agree with our principles and ideals.
I don’t brand them as bad company; I dare not. From their viewpoint, we are the bad company. So, let’s not brand anybody as good or bad. “Judge not, lest ye shall be judged.” Let us not judge anybody.
Let us not mix with people who do not agree with our views and principles. I believe in Swami. There is no point in mixing with a person who denies Him. I believe in Sai philosophy. It’s practically useless to move with people who negate those principles. So, avoiding company that does not have a belief in Sai philosophy is one way of strengthening our faith.
Thirdly, in our chosen path, having developed a strong faith in Swami, we should gather more and more strength. When we read more and more of His literature, when we join satsang - good spiritual company like this, study circles like this - we will be strengthening our faith. It will not waver.
Wavering is the first threat to our faith, a starting problem. Once faith is strengthened, we can relax. During the initial period, we have to be careful, trying to avoid bad company and choosing company in which our faith shall never waver.
Bhagavan has A myriad ways of blessing
“Although we know God is Omnipresent and we feel that we are sincere devotees, we are still disappointed if vibuthi does not materialize on our altars, or if we are not granted interviews. Does this mean that we have not done enough sadhana or spiritual practice to receive God's Grace?” It’s a genuine question, indeed.
These days we find wide publicity of miracles. Miracles, or experiences of miracles, are of two types: one - the absolutely personal, and two - the miracles that convey a message, a lesson to learn, to share with others.
When we keep on advertising personal miracles, it leads to questions of this kind: “Why doesn’t this happen in my case? Why there only?” “Vibhuthi falls there; why not at my residence?”
Vibhuthi is not necessary! For instance, Bhagavan thinks it is necessary there; therefore, He materialises vibhuthi there. Here, He thinks it is not necessary. Therefore, He does not materialise it here. Both situations are equally good. Why not? Why should we think that one place is a chosen place and this is a forsaken place? It is absolute, total ignorance.
My friends, Bhagavan has a myriad ways of blessing. He is multi-dimensional. In fact, the procedure or the way that He confers a blessing on one person never corresponds with another.
He gives a ring to one devotee. He gives a chain to another devotee. Vibhuthi is given to another. To still another devotee, He appears in a dream. He talks through His photo to another devotee. He sends a friend or a messenger to another, and through that person, a message is conveyed.
And He answers your prayers in His own mysterious, non-understandable, inexplicable way. By the time you return home, your problem is solved. By the time you go, the problem is solved. That is what is important.
All worldly things have a formula. Water is H2O all over the world - in Russia, America, Pakistan or Iraq. Water, H2O - that is its formula. All worldly material has a formula and a definite process. But spiritual experiences and spiritual manifestations are beyond our comprehension. They are above explanation. They are above our head. So let us not worry about it.
“Why this, and why not that?” That’s material. ‘Why’ and ‘why not’ are questions to be put where worldly things are concerned. But in spiritual experiences, in the spiritual realm, the only thing that we have to learn is total unconditional surrender or submission: “O God, Let Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
‘I am happy with what I am. I am blessed this way, very good, thank You.’ That kind of a feeling should arise. The question of the presence of vibhuthi and the granting of interviews has arisen because of competition. This question has arisen because of comparison. Once you get out of the madness of comparison, you will be free. You will be happy with the blessing conferred upon you. That’s my answer.
Message of Bhagavan in one sentence
“What is the Divine Message of Bhagavan? Convey it in one sentence.” (Laughter).
We teachers set up question papers. But the questions that are put to me, see! (Laughter). OK, what is the main message of Bhagavan? Put it in one sentence.
I said, “Why a sentence? I will put it in one word - LOVE. (Laughter) That’s all - LOVE! Why one sentence? A sentence is superfluous. (Laughter) One word is enough.” That's what I said. (Laughter)
Mukthi, Moksha, Nirvana explained
“Explain Mukthi, Moksha, Nirvana briefly.” (Laughter)
This is a very good question. We are living in the computer age - instant food, instant coffee, instant Moksha or liberation. Instant, instant! I can understand. We don't want to lose time. We want to know things straightaway, fast. We want prompt, ready-made garments.
Now, the question is to explain Mukthi or Nirvana. My friends, Mukthi or liberation or Nirvana, heaven or paradise, are not located at a different place. It is your own mind that makes heaven out of a hell, or hell out of a heaven. Liberation is not a different world. Nirvana, Mukthi or Moksha are not a different place. Liberation is not limited to time and space. No!
Liberation - what is true liberation? It is liberation from body attachment, liberation from attachment to the individual soul, liberation from desire and liberation from ignorance. That is Moksha or liberation, Mukthi or Nirvana.
What is the way to light? The way to light is to get out of darkness. That's all. Once you get out of darkness, there is light. Similarly, when you are liberated from this desire, when you are liberated from this attachment, when you are liberated from all these wants, from the body attachments and from the individual soul, that itself is a paradise. That is what you call Mukthi or Moksha.
“How to overcome my ego?”
“How do I get over my anger? What does Swami say about this? How to overcome my ego?”
A two-in-one question - OK! (Laughter)
Well, how do I get over my anger? How do I get over ego? These are the two questions. Well, the thing is this: the very discovery of anger within one’s own self is enough of an achievement. The very identification of ego in one's self is enough of a success, because people identify themselves through ego.
When I identify with my ego, well, there is no chance of redemption for one hundred lives to come. So, the very understanding that I am not the ego is enough of a success. Once I decide to give up my anger, that is enough of an achievement.
The next step is: How do I give it up? How do I overcome it?
Why am I angry? I am angry because of the ego. Ego and anger are very close relations: cousins, brothers, or you could say, twins. Ego and anger go together. An egoistic man is always angry. Therefore, the root of the problem of frustration, depression, jealousy, or hatred, the base or the source of all these evil traits happens to be the ego. So, let us know how to give up this ego.
To give up the ego is quite possible just by measuring ourselves, by measuring what we are in this vast universe or cosmos. The Bhagavad Gita has explained this very clearly. Those who have gone through the Bhagavad Gita will agree with me.
In this vast universe of the planets, the solar system, the lunar system, what are you, after all? Earth is the smallest planet. In this planet, minus the water, what is size of the land, after all? Very small. And in this land, out of so many countries, what is India? It is the size of an ant. And in India, what is Andhra Pradesh? The eye of an ant! In Andhra Pradesh, what is the Anantapur District? A speck in the eye of an ant! Then Puttaparthi is a speck-in-the-speck! (Laughter)
Then where are you? You do not know! (Laughter) Therefore, when you compare yourself with the vast expanse of this Universe, when you think of this manifestation of the Divinity, you understand you are negligible and I am negligible.
If this glass of water, in its simplicity, thinks it is very great, I just laugh at it. When I take this glass of water to the ocean, this water will understand it is only a drop. So, a drop will lose its ego when it is close to the ocean. When the drop is dropped into the ocean, the ego is gone. The ego is present because of identity. The drop feels it is something special and great. (Laughter) So with the identity, once it is gone, ego is lost totally. To drop the ego, the drop has to be dropped in the ocean. I think I am clear.
Similarly, if this ego is to go, the only solution is to think of God, to think of this Universe, to think of this Creation, to think of the Creator. ‘What am I after all? What am I?’ This is not self-denial. This is not self-condemnation. It is understanding the true identity of one's own nature. ‘I am, after all, nothing in this vast world.’
This kind of separateness of name and form is the cause for the presence of ego. Once this separateness goes, identification is gone. When you understand that you are a part of the whole, the ego naturally goes. Therefore, the best way to lose the ego is to understand the entire Creation, to think of the vast expanse of this universe, to think of God and His Creation. Then we know how small we are. That is the best way to give up our ego.
“ALL DAYS ARE NOT SUNDAYS”
I often tell our boys this, because boys are boys. When big boys don’t understand, we can have sympathy for small boys. When Swami suddenly talks to a boy, a student, well, he will think he is very special. (Laughter) Because he is a special creature, he puts on a serious face. (Laughter) Swami has spoken to him. Therefore, he must be someone out of the ordinary. (Laughter)
I give him some time because all these flights fly high. Yet, he has to come down someday for refueling. (Laughter) So, let us allow those flights, OK.
Then comes a time when our good Lord will allow him to undergo another test. He starts ignoring him. The fellow who enjoyed earlier…ah, now it is winter! It always comes after summer.
So, he comes to me and asks, “Sir, nowadays Swami is not talking to me. What shall I do?”
“Oh, don't do anything. There is nothing to be done. You forgot the fact that the season of winter will certainly follow that of summer. It is your mistake. All days are not Sundays. There is a test period. Certainly. One necessarily has to go through that. The whole day includes both night and day. Both are there. Summer and winter make a year. Don't you think so? The day - daytime and nighttime - make up twenty-four hours. Don't you think so? Similarly, you cannot have the time you choose all the time. No! Life is a matter of cycles. A cycle, that’s all. Because you were egoistic then, you are frustrated now. Because you felt very proud then, you are depressed now. Had you been calm, had you been composed, had you been equanimous, had you maintained a balanced state of mind, then you would not be depressed now.”
Therefore, my friends, we have to be careful when times are favourable. We have to be more careful when we are successful. We have to be more careful when we are the recipients of Bhagavan's blessings, so that we don't lose them. We have to treasure them by being more humble, more serving, non-egoistic, non-jealous, non-competitive, friendlier and more loving with everybody. Otherwise, on the day of test, you will be left with people pitying you. If you are egoistic today, when you are in the test period, it will be a cause of celebration for others, at your cost. Why? It's not worth it.
This question of Swami ignoring the student has arisen because of an ego problem. An egoistic man is not able to move freely with everybody. An egoistic man is not able to share with everybody. An egoistic man is not able to care for others - no caring, no sharing and no concern.
“how do you know there is ego?”
One boy asked me, “Sir, how do you know that there is ego?”
Very simple. There is ego, which can be easily detected, because you want to show yourself as superior before everybody. You think that you are greater than everybody. That is ego. To feel that I am one among many, that I am the least of all, that I am nobody - that is the absence of ego or being egoless. Once ego is gone, all the problems of this world will be absolutely, totally solved.
“How to remove bad thoughts?”
“How do we remove bad thoughts?”
Bhagavan gave a very simple example: I am holding a rope. I think that I am holding a rope. It is evening time, twilight time. There is not much light, so I think that this is a rope. Somebody comes up and immediately switches on his torch. He says, “Poor fool! You are holding a snake, not a rope!”
“Is that so?” Immediately, I will drop it, won't I? Yes! Finding that I am holding a snake and not a rope, what will I do? Since I know fully well that snakes are poisonous and dangerous, I will drop it immediately. Therefore, once you know that these thoughts are really bad thoughts, you will not entertain them.
If the idea of how to give up bad thoughts does not arise, it is because we are comfortable with the bad thoughts. So then giving up bad thoughts is a problem. When we do not know how dangerous they are, or what sort of an obstacle they are towards realising the Divine, then giving them up is a big problem. But once we understand that they are dangerous, that they are not to be entertained, then once and for all, we will immediately put a full stop to those things. That's one point.
The second point is this: We should not fight our bad thoughts. After all, we are humans. My friends, I always tell my audience each time that I am nobody; that I am in no way superior to anybody, not in the least. I know that in the audience there are many, many people far, far superior to me. I am fully aware of that.
The point is this: Do not dwell on the fact that there are bad thoughts in us. “These are bad thoughts! How do I remove them?” When I think too much along these lines, then I fight the bad thoughts and I become worse! A simple example given by Baba: One fellow is bad. If you want to defeat him, you have to become worse than him! (Laughter) How else can you defeat a bad man? It's not possible.
Therefore, instead of brooding over the bad thoughts, instead of thinking too much along this line of continually fighting with the mind, let us take a positive approach. Entertain good thoughts. Spend more time in good thoughts and good company, so that bad thoughts slowly diminish. With the sunrise, darkness gets dispelled on its own. With more and more good thoughts coming and appearing, the bad thoughts start disappearing. That's my answer.