MAKARA SANKRANTHI DIVINE DISCOURSE:
REPOSE FAITH IN YOUR CONSCIENCE
The sun appears serene and peaceful. The days have become shorter, and the cool wind is blowing. The fields are ripe with golden crops. Marigold flowers are blossoming like garlands of pearls on the banks of rivers. The farmers are rejoicing and singing. The sweet festival of Sankranti has come in the month of Pushya (a month in Indian calendar), filling our homes with the newly harvested grain. (Telugu poem)
God willed that the Sankranti festival shall bring all prosperity to the people and they shall not feel any inconvenience in the matter of food and other needs. The farmers, having brought home the produce after harvesting it, will be happily taking rest in their homes. Even the agricultural workers will be free, for, the harvesting season will be over by then. Having worked hard day and night in the fields for some months, they will be now enjoying the comfort of a home, by God’s grace. Whatever God does, it is for the good of the people! For, they are all His ‘Amsa’ (parts) only! Mamaivamsho Jivaloke Jivabhuta Sanathana (the eternal Atma in all beings is a part of My Being), said Lord Krishna in the Bhagavadgita. Not only human beings, even animals, birds and insects are the embodiments of God! However, all people do not realise this truth. Saint Thyagaraja sang in one of his immortal kirtanas, cheemalo Brahmalo Siva Kesavaadulalo prema meera velasi unde birudhu vahinchina Rama nannu brovara (Oh Rama! In Your pure and unsullied form of love, You indwell all beings from an ant to Brahma as also in Siva and Kesava. Please be my protector too). Unable to realise this truth, people kill the ant that crawls on their bodies. The same people worship the ant if it appears as an embodiment of Divinity. Thus, the feelings make all the difference.
During this season, the sun appears to be gentle and soothing during daytime. The days are shorter and the nights are long. During the nights, the moonlight is cool and comfortable. Having worked hard during daytime, people will have comfortable sleep during nights. The human body needs rest. Hence, every human being should have adequate rest. As the saying goes, “Sleep a while after lunch.” One should take a nap at least for a short period after lunch. However, one should not keep himself awake for long during nights. One should have sound sleep during night.
Everything is God’s will. The entire universe is created by God. Nothing in this world will move without God’s will.Not even a blade of grass will move without divine Will, People who do not realise this truth, get carried away by their pride of intelligence and discrimination. But no one however great one may be knows what lies ahead for them in future.
Who is a “HINDU”? The letters in the word HINDU stand for:
H – Humility, I – Individuality, N – Nationality, D – Devotion, U - Unity.
Wherever there is unity, there will be Divinity. It is only Divinity that can unite the world. You should not try to break the world into pieces saying ‘this is my India’, this is my Japan’, ‘this is my Germany’, etc. The divinity called ‘I’ in all human beings is only one! There is only one race, that is human race. Humanness is very sacred, holy and divine. The word ‘Manava’ (human being) means very sacred. The festival of Sankranti reminds you of this truth and awakens you to this reality. During this holy period of Makara Samkramana, people especially the village folk, enjoy by participating in several kinds of rural games and play. As a matter of fact, this is a festival season for the animals too! Some people in the villages bring together the gangireddu (a decorated bull) and a cow naming them as Rama and Sita and perform their marriage symbolically, in the hope that their marriage shall bring forth peace and welfare to the world. The cowherd gives proper training to the bull and the cow in advance. He asks the cow “Amma! Is Rama beautiful?”, the cow shakes its head in disapproval of the suggestion. Then, the gangireddudasu with the stick in his hand tries to counsel the cow “Amma! Rama is blackish blue in colour. Yet he is very good. He is a great king. He is mighty and prosperous.” Thereupon the cow nods its head in approval. It seems to indicate, “Yes, I like Rama.” The children in the village watch the gangireddu play very enthusiastically. They invite their friends and relatives to witness this play, thus:
“Oh my dear brother, here comes the Gangireddudasu. Come, let us go and see him. He wears a silver medallion and a waist belt. He carries a decorated staff and wears special marks on his forehead. He brings with him richly caparisoned sacred cow and bull and performs their marriage. Let us see the marriage ceremony and offer our gifts.” (Telugu Song)
Thus, the village folk will be tastefully decorating their cattle and playing with them. Sankranti is a festival that gives joy to the birds too. They will be perching in large numbers on the temples and minarets, chirping and singing. They thus teach a lesson in unity and joy to the human beings of all regions and religions in the world. Sadly, several people nowadays have no faith in the religion. Religion sets a great ideal for the human beings to follow.
There are several students studying in Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions. They have no differences of religion at all! In fact, one who believes in such differences is not a human being. There is only one religion - the religion of love. A real human being is one, who follows such a religion. We must cultivate the goodness in all religions. There is a lot to learn from the birds, beasts and insects. Religion means love. Today, we do not at all find such religion of love. Devoid of love, there can be no relationship with anybody. Hence, we must follow the religion of love. No one thinks of such religion of love in the modern age. Our ancestors did recognise the true meaning of religion and followed it in letter and spirit. They took their elders as an ideal in this regard. Even now if you enquire some children, “who told you this?”, they reply “my grandmother told me; my grandfather told me”, etc. One should never disregard the advice of elders. When you follow their advice, everything will turn out to be good for you. Unfortunately, no one listens to the good words of elders these days. However, they listen to all sorts of movie songs played in a tape recorder. They imitate those songs. Whatever tune is played in the tape recorder, they try to imitate that tune. Man today is not living like a human being. He is turning out to be a mere gramophone record or a tape recorder. We should never disregard the words of elders. Man today does not listen to the sound advice of the elders and acts contrary to the nature of a human being. People do not listen to good things, and indulge in all unnecessary and unwarranted activities. The festival of Sankranti is meant to remind man about the sanctity of humanness. It is said, Easwara Sarva Bhutanam (God is the indweller of all beings). Hence, every human being, nay, every living being is an amsa (part) of God! But, there seems to be a flaw in your own behaviour. What is the reason? You throw to winds the sacred feelings and allow your mind to run after all and sundry things. That is how your behaviour is tainted. You are now in your prime of youth. Your body, mind and intellect are strong and secure in this age. Hence, you have to make proper use of your capability to live up to your sacred feelings. Sankranti is not to be considered as a mere festival like any others. The festival of Sankranti brings great joy to one and all. Even a poor man will arrange to make payasam (sweet pudding) in his house and partake of it happily. The festival of Sankranti will bring joy in ever so many ways. It is not limited to song and play. It expands one’s heart with joy. It is a festival of unity; that unity develops purity resulting in divinity in human beings. Hence, people must cultivate unity and purity in the first instance. What is purity? Our vision must be sacred; our words must be soft and sweet and our ears must listen to only good things. Our nose should smell only divine fragrance. Thus, all the senses in our body must be put to proper use.
Man is born out of Karma. Karma is the most important Dharma (duty) of a human being:
Man is born in action, is sustained by action and ultimately merges in action. Action is the cause for pleasure and pain. Truly speaking, action is God for man. (Telugu poem)
Hence, we should continue to perform karma. What is karma? It is not merely reading and participating in the games of football, volleyball, etc. Even inhaling and exhaling are karma! There can be no karma without these two. When you inhale your breath, the sound of ‘so’ emerges. Similarly, when you exhale your breath, the sound of ‘hum’ emerges. Thus, every act of inhaling and exhaling results in the sound of ‘sohum’, meaning ‘I am that Divinity’. That life-breath which is a great energy is the gift of God to a human being. It is vital to the sustenance of a human being. It is not the real nature of a human being to eat, drink and be merry. First and foremost, wherever you go, people will observe your qualities. You must conduct yourself in such a way that people will be able to say, “Look! His behaviour is good. We feel very happy to talk to him. We feel very happy by merely looking at him.” It is only your good qualities that bring happiness and joy to you.” Man should make proper use of his panchapranas (five vital airs), panchabhuthas (five elements) and panchendriyas (five senses). The food we partake must be sattwic. It is not good to take too much of chillies or chilly powder. One should not hanker after ‘taste’. It will ‘waste’ our life. One should eat for the sake of satisfying one’s hunger, without hankering for special taste or flavour.
There is no charity greater than feeding the hungry,
There are no greater gods than parents,
There is no greater gain than the company of the good. (Telugu poem)
There is nothing greater than truth. Truth is only one, not two. By associating yourself with good people, you will also become good. Who are real friends? It is only the good people who are real friends to you. Tell me your company, I shall tell you what you are. Hence, you must always join good company; talk to good people and live with good people. Only then will you become a good person. Otherwise, you will spoil yourself. Good friends shall always strive to work for the good of each other and bring about a transformation in each other. If for any reason your friend took to bad ways on any occasion, of what use is your friendship if you do not try to bring him back into good path? On the other hand, if you are taking to bad ways, your friend should help you to come back to normal ways. Thus, trying to help each other to tread the good path is the hallmark of true friendship. However, friends in present time wish each other ‘hello’ and separate. Later, they say ‘goodbye’. Such attitude is not good. Instead of saying, ‘goodbye’, you must become a good boy. Thus, you must tread the path of truth in daily life. Only then will you become an educated and courageous person in the real sense, with a sense of discrimination. If you are a good person with a sense of sacrifice, several people will follow you. If your behaviour is not good, none will even look at your face. It is only people without character who will be moving in your company. It will do no good for your spiritual advancement.
You say, “so and so is my good friend”. But, for how long? Only for some time. Later on, if that person does not pay attention to your words or refuses to oblige your demands, you hate him. You will become enemies. Indeed, you must be very careful in developing friendship with others.
In every aspect of our life, our behaviour itself is a witness to our interpersonal relationships. You reside in any place or go to any country; but, keep up your good character. Respect all! Love all! Hate none. Earn a good name for yourself. It is not the academic degrees that bring greatness to us. How many Ph.D.’s are not there in this world today? How many people who did I.A.S. are not there in the country now? Has the world become better in any way on account of these people? In fact, it is only because of the so-called educated people the country is sliding down from its eminence. Let us not be concerned with such so-called ‘great’ people. It is enough if people wish each other with a Namaskar and enquire their welfare. That itself is greatness. One has to imbibe humility and obedience, along with education. Only such a student is the real student; you should not have even a trace of ego, pride, pomp and such other bad qualities.
The student who did the role of Prahlada in yesterday’s play did well. His voice was sweet. Also, his acting was exemplary. Prahlada’s father Hiranyakasipu had to undergo punishment on account of his hatred towards God. God donned the Narasimha Avatar and killed him. When we lead a good and virtuous life, our end will also be good. We will also earn a good name for ourselves. Right from our birth till death, we must lead an exemplary life. However, people do not listen to good words. They listen to only wrong advice and spoil themselves. It is our common experience that while we travel in a train or a bus, we come across a beggar singing the glory of Ramanama beautifully. Our fellow travellers will be happily listening to the song fully immersed in it. Finally, when the beggar completes his song and begins to move away, people compliment him saying, “You sang well and made us very happy.” They express their gratitude to him by offering some charity. Thus, life can be really meaningful when you make others happy.
You are all students gathered in this hall. You must share good thoughts and words amongst you on such occasions as these. Good thoughts, good words and good deeds are the qualities of Divinity. We must cultivate good qualities. When you stand in front of the sun at sunrise, your shadow will be fifty feet long while you are actually five feet tall. As the sun begins to rise in the sky, the length of your shadow becomes shorter. When the sun positions itself exactly above your head at noon, your shadow falls under your feet. In the same way, when you begin your journey towards God and gradually progress in the Godward path, the shadow of maya (illusion) falls behind. On the other hand, if you go against God and travel in the opposite direction, the shadow of maya will be in front of you.
Embodiments of Love!
All our students are gold. What sort of gold? Pure 24 carat gold. Wherever they go and in whichever activity they participate - in sports, in education, in behaviour, in their talk and in every activity, they are earning good name for themselves. It is only due to this reason, I have seen people praising, “The students of Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institution are exemplary in character”, everywhere. If you just look at them, you will find Sai Baba reflecting in their faces.
The Ati Rudra Yajna will commence on the 19th of this month in Chennai. But, the people in Chennai are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Swami’s students, not the Ati Rudra Yajna. They are looking forward with a feeling, “We understand Sai Baba will be here to participate in the Yajna along with His students. His students alone are ideals for us.”
The sanctity of education is deteriorating due to the misuse of scientific knowledge, today. The scientists are endeavouring to change the laws of nature. If a tree were to bear fruit, it is being given an injection. If a cow were to yield milk in more quantity, it is fed tripe from other slaughtered animals. They think that by feeding animal parts to the cow it will grow strong and yield more quantity of milk. Even the water is polluted nowadays. It is that polluted water that is responsible for all the diseases suffered by man today. In whichever fruit you see, there are insects and bacteria. The ‘figs’ used to be very good for consumption, earlier. But, now there are bacteria and pollutants even in the figs. What is the reason? Only the polluted water that is fed to the plant. People have to clean and boil the water and then only drink it. We have supplied drinking water from the Krishna river to the people of Chennai by spending rupees 300 crores. I have seen small children bathing in cesspools and drinking the same dirty water. I felt very sorry for them. I have decided then itself, “I will not visit Chennai till we supply pure drinking water to the people of Chennai.” That was ten years ago. Now I have supplied drinking water to them. I am now visiting Chennai in the backdrop of the children drinking pure water and happily spending their time in play. We can be healthy and happy only when we drink pure water and eat healthy food. That is how you have to protect your health. However, I find that some students are not partaking of good food. They are tempted by all varieties of dishes. You please do not look for the taste. You just decide for yourself whether the food you are eating is good for your health or not. Only then will you be healthy and happy.
Study well. Do not waste time. Whenever you find time, read only good books. Tread the good and Godward path and become good people. It is only the students of Sathya Sai Educational Institutions that can transform all the people in the world into good citizens. You be good and make others good. Avoid evil qualities like kama(desire) and krodha (anger).
Today, our children are going to present a play called “Sri Krishna Rayabaram”. You all know that in the Mahabharata the evil Kauravas troubled the Pandavas in many ways. However, the Pandavas were of very good nature. Their mind was pure. They tried their best to do good to the Kauravas. I will quote one small example to illustrate how pure their minds are. The elderly Kunti, mother of the Pandavas broke down and breathed her last on hearing the sad news of Lord Krishna leaving His mortal coil. Dharmaraja, her eldest son who was near her during her last moments kept her head on his lap. The four brothers Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva surrounded him. Dharmaraja then explained to his brothers “Dear ones! Lord Krishna who protected us all the while has left for His heavenly abode. We should not therefore remain in this world any more.” He then called Bhima near him and told him to make arrangements for the funeral of their mother. He also called Arjuna and told him to make arrangements for the coronation ceremony of Parikshit as king. Finally, he called the two younger brothers Nakula and Sahadeva to his side and ordered them, “We have to begin our great march towards the Himalayas. You go and make all arrangements for our journey.” Thus, on one side he was arranging for the funeral of their mother and on the other, the coronation of the grandson of his younger brother as king to ensure the continuity of the dynasty. Can anyone undertake such task in such a grievous situation? Thus, all responsibilities were discharged at the same time, then and there.
The Pandavas embarked on their great march: Draupadi, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva dropped down in the middle of the journey. Dharmaraja continued his journey and first reached Naraka (hell). He saw many people undergoing several kinds of punishment for their sins, there. The moment Dharmaraja stepped into hell, they were relieved of their suffering and felt very happy. Now, the question arises as to why at all Dharmaraja had to go to hell in the first instance?
He never spoke a lie during his entire life. However, during the Mahabharata war he spoke the words, “Aswatthama hathah” (Aswatthama died) loudly and then “kunjarah” (the elephant) softly, in order that the mighty warrior Dronacharya dies on account of the shock of the news. The words, “Aswatthama hatha kunjarah” meant the elephant by name Aswatthama died. Unfortunately, the name of the son of Dronacharya’s was also Aswatthama. In the din and commotion of the war, Dronacharya could not hear the word “kunjarah” properly and mistook the words of Dharmaraja as ‘Aswatthama died’. Unable to bear the grief and shocked over the ‘death of his son Aswatthama’, he threw away his bow and arrows in the battlefield. Thus, Dharmaraja was indirectly responsible for the fall of Dronacharya by uttering falsehood on one occasion. For expiating this sin, he had to spend sometime in hell. Thereafter, he was taken to heaven. While Dharmaraja was leaving for heaven, the people undergoing punishment in the hell fell on his feet and prayed, “Sir! Please do not leave us, you stay here itself and give us happiness. Dharmaraja then replied, “My dear ones! I cannot but obey the command of God”, and left for heaven. Wherever we are, if we do good, we will experience good only. Good work begets good results only.
After passing your examinations in this Institution, you can pursue higher studies elsewhere if you wish. But, along with academic excellence, let your behaviour also set an example to others. Do not indulge in falsehood, injustice and evil ways. Follow the path of truth and become immortal. The Gitacharya declared, “Mamaivamso ...” You should not forget this truth. You pursue any type of education anywhere, with this awareness. (Bhagawan then enquired, “Am I giving you any trouble?” The students replied in one voice, “No! Swami!”) Making you all happy, working for your progress, striving to remove all pain and suffering from you, making your parents also happy - this is My job. Your happiness is My food. I need no other food. That one type of food is sufficient for Me. Hence, may you all lead a happy and blissful life always! You may encounter any number of difficulties; keep them aside and march forward.
Today, some people are indulging in false propaganda saying, “Sai Baba’s reputation is growing day by day. Sai Baba is converting all foreigners as Hindus.” They are highly jealous of Me. Due to this jealousy, they write all sorts of trash in the newspapers. We should ignore such writings. We must have firm faith in our own conscience. Whatever they may say, put it aside considering it as nonsense! I have nothing to do with it! You repose faith in your conscience. Whatever I do, it is for the good of all! If someone abuses you, you take it as he is abusing only my body, not me. If they hurl abuses against you openly, let them merge into thin air. On the other hand, if they scold you silently, they do not reach you. Do not bother about them. Keep your faith in God firmly. That should be your attitude.
God is immanent in every living being. The name and form may be different. But, God is only one. He is present in one and all. You are all embodiments of Divinity! Develop that feeling in you. Do not cultivate the differences of high and low. All are one. Repose faith in the principle of the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man and lead your lives happily.
I wish that all of you should come out in 1st class in your examinations with good marks.
(Bhagawan concluded His discourse with the bhajan, “Hari Bhajana bina sukha santhi nahi …”)