H: Swami, you say that when the senses turn away from the inner witness and mix with external worldly objects, the reactions of pain and pleasure result. What then is the proper place for the senses? Why do they behave thus?
Sai: It is all the play of desire. Desire for objective things causes pain and pleasure. Desire, for God confers Bliss, which is far more sustaining than pleasure.
H: But, Swami, our actions are very seldom limited to that which is Duty. Most action arises from desires, worldly desires. One sees, hears, smells, touches or thinks... all these breed desire?
Sai: Remind yourselves that God works through you as 'desire'.
H: That looks strange! Does God prompt even bad desires?
Sai: Desire arises through some energy, motivation, urge; That energy is God's gift. The desire that it provokes results in pain or pleasure, is either good or bad, depending on time, place and person. In early years, desire for worldly advancement might be good; in later years, it might be bad. God grants you discrimination along with desire. You must use it to put aside wrong action. The wrong desire is God overshadowed by Maya, where as the power of discrimination is the instrument given by God to destroy Maya and visualise God.
H: Swami, You say that it is man's duty to be happy.
Sai: Happiness is one of the major gateways to Divinity. To be unhappy is a serious act of sacrilege. It is a barrier to God Realisation.
H: Swami, when the mind is not engaged in work...
Sai: The mind is ever agitated and active!
H: During meditation, I mean...
H: When the mind is not engaged in any particular work, where should the attention be kept?
Sai: Between the eyebrows, that is the Eye of Wisdom of Siva.
H: Swami says that body, mind and intelligence, do not work for anybody. They do their own work, what does that mean?
Sai: What is meant is... "Unfortunately that is the case." They are doing their work, to the detriment of the person. Their work should be coordinated for the benefit of higher purposes. For example: The eyes see; that is their work. But, the mind should see through the eyes; the intelligence should direct the mind; the Atma must be reflected in the intelligence.
H: For whom should the entire mechanism be functioning?
Sai: For the Atma. The Earth turns on its own axis, but, at the same time, it is revolving around the Sun. The various faculties of man should do their own work but the Atma is the source of all the energy and power.
H: Does God forgive even present Karma?
Sai: There are three types of Karma: past, present and future. The present Karma must continue its course. It is like the trail of dust behind the moving carriage. When the carriage stops, the dust will settle on it... But, the carriage cannot forever continue fast, on the road in order to escape the dust. The best course, then, is to get on to the highway, away from the dust track. That is to say, man must acquire the Grace of God and move along the path smoothened by it.
H: Swami. Pardon me for saying it! Spiritual progress seems very difficult, indeed.
Sai: Vital to spiritual life is the unshakable faith that one has in the Atma. Once this is achieved, spiritual progress is quite easy. A bowl turned down remains dry, no matter how heavy the rain is. But, a bowl turned up collects at least a few drops, though the shower is light. Turn the heart towards God; then, Grace can be won. If faith, enthusiasm and devotion are great, the bowl will be filled. My dear Sadhaka, life in this outer world is endless trouble. But, life in the inner world is smooth and simple!
H: It is not necessary to mortify the body?
Sai: That is wrong advice. A healthy body is very light; it is not a burden; it helps sadhana by giving you healthy thoughts.
H: One last doubt, Swami, for today. Swami advises us to cut at the root of desire. What does this mean?
Sai: When a desire arises, analyse it; find out whether it is good or bad. If bad, reject it; if it is good for you and not harmful for others, go ahead. If you are uncertain, do nothing, until the uncertainty is clarified.